An Interesting Though Heavy Read
Members of a dying race of centaurs return to Earth in the hopes that humanity can help save the last vestige of their civilization—an infant centaur... the last of her race.
Darling’s novel is imaginative and creative, presenting a centaur world wholly fabricated from the ground up, with strong characters and a plot line that doesn’t seem to borrow from any Fantasy story I’ve ever read… And, I’ve read quite a few. The idea of a doomed and dying centaur civilization that is desperate to save its last remaining member is quite compelling, and the author successfully captures the anguish, desperation, and fear of her main character, Ieang, as the pressure on him mounts and he struggles to safeguard the infant he has been charged to protect. There are, however, some issues with this novel that caused me to have second thoughts about whether or not I wanted to keep moving forward with this story, but I’m glad I stuck with my policy to always read the entire book.
The story’s entire first quarter—the portion of a book that initially captures a reader and ensures they’ll more than likely finish a read—would have greatly benefitted from another perspective, either in the form of author’s notations within the text or, since the story is told in the third-person anyway, a human’s viewpoint. With the primary quarter of “Trust” written solely from the viewpoint of the centaurs and their limited understanding of human culture, the descriptions of items and events in this tale once the centaurs migrate to Earth are so obscure, undefined, and one-sided that it’s oftentimes impossible for a reader to determine what a particular object is or what’s happening.
“Trust” is severely hampered by an ample lack of clarity and definition, and although Darling sets up her religious, societal, and cultural mores of this equine civilization in her Preface, she misses the mark in carrying forward a basic understanding of her plot line as well as her characters’ sensations, experiences, and reasoning. Although, a language and pronunciation guide does precede this story, and there is a brief explanation of the historical, cultural, theological, and societal aspects of the unique civilization she has created in her Preface, the storyline itself does not redefine or expand on these issues until a good quarter of the way through the book. “Trust” is, therefore, muddled by the author assuming her audience will see things through the eyes of her centaurs, and without further explanations or referrals, readers may find this a tough read to swallow. Truly great Fantasy takes the reader into an alternate world by immersing them in its culture by familiarizing them with its society and terminology.
Fortunately, Darling’s tale takes a turn for the better about 30% of the way into the story, giving readers a chance to reinterpret, backtrack, and catch up with past events when the humans and centaur finally begin to communicate more freely, rehash past events, and come to an understanding of each other’s language, culture, and expectations. Any reader who has made it through the book up until this point will find a worthwhile story that addresses life-changes, survival, domestic abuse, alcoholism, trust, and friendship.
Note: Amazon defines a 3-Star rating as “It was ok”. A 3-Star rating is a neutral rating—It means a book (or product, to be more general) is, in the reader’s eyes, adequate—This is how I rated this story due to the issues cited in my review. In essence, Amazon review ratings are subjective and express a reader’s personal taste and opinion about a book or product—One which is formulated by an individual and may or may not necessarily represent another reader’s opinion. In the end, whether a one agrees with my rating of this item or not, I highly encourage you to either mark my review as helpful or leave your own review.
Find “Trust (Children of Chiron Book 1)” by Tabitha Darling on Amazon & Kindle here.
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