Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Whisper of Horses by Zillah Bethell - ADVISABLE

Bethell, Zillah A Whisper of Horses 339 pages. Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan), 2016. $16.99. Language G; Mature Content: G, Violence: G.

It’s a hundred years in the future and an event known as The Gases has left the world in turmoil. London is governed by The Ministry who keeps society separated into strict classes. A guarded wall surrounds the city and no one is allowed through. Serendipity is a member of the lowest ranking class. Her mother has just died and there’s a chance that she will be placed in a miserable orphanage. All her life she has wondered about the horse statues that remain from Old London. Everyone says the real horses died out after The Gases, but her mother left a map behind that suggests otherwise. Rather than remain in London, she decides to risk everything to go in search of the horses. First she must make it across the wall.

Don’t be fooled by the title and book cover. This is a classic dystopian science-fiction book set in the future. It’s not your typical realistic fiction horse story. Given that it has a dystopian theme, it is a dark read, but the young protagonist is positive and selfless. Her journey to find the horses becomes a journey to understand humanity and what led to society’s downfall. In general, the book is full of moral lessons. Towards the end, the book takes a direct hit at the negative side of social media. A well-written story and excellent introduction to the dystopian genre for the upper elementary and middle school crowd.

EL, MS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Valerie McEnroe, Media Specialist

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