I hope you love horses just as much as my friend’s ten-year-old because this week I am reviewing a book. The book review of Diablo was requested by its Australian author, Fallacious Rose and it is a children’s story about a naughty horse who wants to take over the world.
This is a change from last week where I reviewed a reimagined fairy tale of Cinderella with the book title – The Selection by Kiera Glass. I discovered that I was not the only one to dislike Glass’s book due to the world building, the characters and the poor writing. How this author made five books from the story – I have no idea. However, this week is a massive improvement.
I enjoyed Fallacious Rose book and felt that it caught the right tone of the child protagonist, Kim. Kim is a twelve-year-old girl with a horse obsession. Unlike Glass and other fantasy and children writers, Rose did not need to build a new and believable world because it was set in the real world. So automatically, the story has to be held by how believable the characters are and I personally think Rose succeeds in this.
Kim has never had any look at owning a horse, the first horse she owns is Blackie – a stubborn shetland that refuses to move and so that horse was taken away. However, when her mom moves in with Alan, Kim convinces them to buy her another horse. The horse is Diablo.
At first meeting, he is well behaved and she is able to ride him at a comfortable speed but once they brought him she struggles to get the same experience.
Kim’s challenge is to tame Diablo into a well-behaved horse and make sure he knows he cannot dominate the world. In order to do this, she has to have several trainers teaching her what to do, but Diablo seems just as stubborn as Blackie and refuses to listen to Kim until she learns to be confident like her trainers. So this story is about Kim’s growth to be an independent, confident and assertive woman through her horse. It is a growth that she can use to interact with real people, like learning to defend herself against her mean, older brother.
Overall, Kim learns how to be assertive and confident from having Diablo. The crucial change in her arc is when her is in danger. She has to use Diablo to save him, and without thinking, she is assertive, confident and is able to control the horse.
However, not all is safe. Kim’s parents don’t feel that Diablo has been tamed and with a new baby on the way, they are worried about money – so to keep her horse, Kim gets a job. In this job, Kim learns how to get on with people she dislikes, such as her arch enemy, Ebony. Kim dislikes her because she thinks that Ebony is too confident, proud and snobby – but when she learns the truth they become friends.
Her brother, Jake, also changes. After his near death experience, he is much nicer to Kim and her horse, and has more respect for his parents. He stops arguing and becomes a supportive and more responsible big brother.
Stepdad, Alan learns what it means to be a parent and tries to discipline both Jake and Kim, learning that they need to be disciplined as well as treated for them to learn and grow.
Therefore, I believe Rose’s characters are believable and develop throughout the story.
The story covers some key issues that children face, such as parents splitting up, stepfamilies and sibling rivary on the side. Even though these are subplots, they are weaved into the story so that they are not easily missed and may help children in similar situations.
An example of this is Jake constantly arguing with his stepdad, Alan. Jake is a teenager, is old enough to understand parents split up, but he still wants his real dad, so he is mean to Alan and makes life harder for everyone. When he realises his mom still loves him, and that Alan probably does too after having his near death experience, he starts showing everyone more respect and realises he will still be loved even when the new baby arrives. He also learns that no matter how annoying little sisters are, they will always have your back and help you as much s they can- so sibling rivalry becomes pointless.
Overall, it is a great story of a child’s adventure and captures how a child sees the world. This is why I believed Kim’s character and her actions. The tone of the story matches the character’s voice and this makes the story believable.
It is mostly well written. However, there were a few minor issues present.
There were a few spelling mistakes or double spacings that were missed during the proofreading that I noticed during reading which pulled me out of the story – but it is so minor most people would not notice it.
As I said, overall it is a great book, and I loved the author’s choice to make it seem that Kim and her horse were really having a conversation. This is made clear when the protagonist says that Ebony is unable to speak to horses like she can.