by Jennifer Macaire
Meagan Cadet and her twin Carl are herders; they take care of the herds of horses that have the ability to open and move through passages in space from one planet to another. The twins’ parents and sister were taken by the Raiders, aliens who capture the horses and herders for unknown purpose. No one has ever escaped the raiders.
Meagan and Carl live a solitary life as they follow their herd from planet to planet, and that’s ok with them. They like their privacy. But their privacy is interrupted when a herd belonging to the Jeffries brothers appears on the same planet where they are camped. The Jeffries brothers are loud and rambunctious, and Meagan is not happy to have her quiet life disrupted. But time and shared experiences draws the two families together. Then Meagan and Luke Jeffries are captured together by the Raiders, and the two of them must work together and support each other to survive the hardships of life as slaves of the Raiders.
What could be more fun than cowboys in space? Horse Passages is a fun, exciting book that will appeal to both horse lovers and fantasy/science fiction fans. The descriptions of the horses and life with the herds are so real that I could almost smell the horses. The first half of the book follows Meagan’s story, and the second half of the book follows Carl, so the book will appeal to both girls and boys.
There were a few things that irked me about this book, such as the tendency of the characters to undergo sudden changes of character without sufficient development, usually due to a crisis. But I doubt that most young people would notice or care.
As the parent of a child who has had a stuttering problem, I liked that the heroine had a stutter. There aren’t too many books that have a protagonist who stutters. I was disappointed that the stutter disappeared early in the book (yes, due to a crisis) but I suppose that it’s difficult to write an entire book where the protagonist has trouble communicating,
Overall, though, I really enjoyed the book and it held my interest. With horses, space adventure, and a bit of romance thrown in, this is a book that’s sure to appeal to preteens and young teens of both genders.
Horse Passages is a Cybils nominee