Title: Dark Horse
Author: Mary H. Herbert
After her entire clan is massacred by Lord Medb, Gabria takes on her brother’s identity to become a warrior and exact revenge. But Lord Medb has resurrected the forbidden art of sorcery. No mere sword can stand against him. With the help of an intelligent, magical horse, Gabria is going to make him pay. If she can keep her gender a secret long enough to learn the skills she needs…
This was a fifty-cent, bargain sale paperback – one of about ten I found in the fantasy pile. I didn’t really have high expectations for it, but I figured for fifty cents, what the heck. And really, I was surprised that I liked it.
Gabria was bold, stubborn, and very, very determined. But she was also…unremarkable. Now that I think about it, I can’t name a single characteristic that set her apart from the other characters (besides the fact that she was a girl masquerading as a boy). She was just an average, standard character.
Athlone was also pretty unremarkable. He was a fighter, and good at what he did, but he was still pretty standard. Besides his instinct that something wasn’t quite right about Gabria, I couldn’t name one single unique characteristic.
The book was actually pretty standard, plot-wise. Main character must learn special skills to defeat evil magician. There were a few interesting minor details – like the fact that everyone in the book was a nomad, and the magical Hunnuli horses. But other than that, it was interesting, but not really unique.
Really, the book was unremarkable. It was interesting, but not outstanding. I enjoyed it because I’m a fantasy fan, but I didn’t fall head-over-heels in love with it. I think this could serve as either YA or adult – the main character is seventeen, but it has an adult feel (although no “mature” moments, thankfully).
This is one of those hard books to review. It’s not terrible, but it’s not wonderful. It’s not boring, but it’s also not remarkable. It was just…interesting. Fantasy fans would like it, but if you’re not a fan of the fantasy genre, this is not a book for you.