Book Review: Into the Dark “My favorite of the series…”

“This book was definitely my favorite of the series. The storylines seemed to flow together more easily, and Meagan seemed to mature and learn from and make connections from her experiences…”—LibraryThing Early Review

LibraryThing Early Reviewers - logo

The following is the first review of Into the Dark, Book #3 of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy:

LibraryThing | Reviewer “wnk1029”

This YA historical fiction time travel book continues the story of Meagan, a horse-loving teen who finds herself transported through time by her horse, Promise. Her previous adventures included riding with Mongols, Cortez, and French royalty, among others. In this final book of the trilogy, she finds herself on western cattle drive in 1861, at a New York horse race during Prohibition, a Polish cavalry charge during World War II, the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, and then the year 2078 — a future where horses are nearly extinct.

This book was definitely my favorite of the series. The storylines seemed to flow together more easily, and Meagan seemed to mature and learn from and make connections from her experiences. She became more in control of her own destiny, rather than the previous novels, where it seemed as if she were just going along with everything else, biding her time until she got back home. The author also included a romantic interest, which helped develop Meagan’s character — showing a new side of her, expanding her emotional range, and tying her to the past.

Although the main character is Meagan, the story definitely revolves around the horses. Even with my incredibly minimal knowledge of horses, the book was fairly easy to read, particularly with the handy glossary in the back. Even though I wouldn’t consider myself a horse-lover, the author really makes the reader connect with the horses, making each of them essential characters in Meagan’s life.

The critiques I have of this book are very few. I do wish that more time were able to be spent in the time periods following the Civil War. The first half of the book all takes place in the same era, and while I loved that part of the story, I couldn’t help but feel that the following jumps through time were a bit too rushed — I wanted to know more! Also, although I loved how the story ended, the time travel fan in me had some reservations about the epilogue… [though I have been assured by the author that the inconsistencies in the ARC will be corrected in the final copy!]

Overall, I really ate up this adventure story, and didn’t want to put it down. I thought that this really was a great series, even despite the fact that I don’t tend to like reading about horses. I’d highly recommend it to horse fans, history buffs, and those looking to learn something new!

Also, my thanks to the publisher for the advanced review copy!

» See original review on LibraryThing

Knight chesspieceInto the Dark is the 3rd book of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy, an award winning time-travel adventure through history—on horseback! The story follows the journey of a modern horsewoman lost in the distant past.

The trilogy books have won multiple national awards, including the 2012 Written Arts Award for Book II:The Golden Spark in Science Fiction/Fantasy. Book I of the trilogy, Eclipsed by Shadow, won the 2009 Eric Hoffer Award for best Young Adult Fiction, and the 2010 Mom’s Choice Award for best family-friendly Young Adult Fantasy.

Further information about this unique ‘creative non-fiction’ novel can be found at  TheGreatHorse.com.

Ramblings of a Coffee-Addicted Writer: The Golden Spark is a “Great Epic!”

The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy is unlike any other horse series written for young adults. Just like book one, the author has gone to great lengths to add historical accuracies to this fantasy tale. Young readers will find the time traveling horse to be interesting, but there is so much more to young Meagan’s quest.—Billy Burgess, Ramblings of a Coffee-Addicted Writer

The following is a new review of The Golden Spark by Billy Burgess of the book blog, Ramblings of a Coffee-Addicted Writer:

Ramblings of a Coffee-Addicted Writer | Billy Burgess

Picking up where book one left off, we find Meagan and her magical horse, Promise, barely escaping being executed for witchcraft in 1616 Western Europe.

Promise takes her back in time, this time landing on a ship, but not just any ship. They land on the Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes’s ship in the year 1519 where Meagan becomes in charge of taking care of the captain’s horse. Then, Promise takes her to the court of Louis XIV of France, the Sun King, where she poses as a stable-hand. Last, the Great Horse takes Meagan to Regency, England in 1816.

The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy is unlike any other horse series written for young adults. Just like book one, the author has gone to great lengths to add historical accuracies to this fantasy tale. Young readers will find the time traveling horse to be interesting, but there is so much more to young Meagan’s quest. You will learn about the hardships that horses went through in each period that Meagan visits. In addition, you will learn fun fact about historical figures like Louis XIV and Hernan Cortes.

There are some scenes of violence in The Golden Spark especially during the Spaniards’ battle with the Aztecs, that some horse lovers may not care for, but as I said, the author is going for historical accuracies.

I would have to say my favorite part of the book was the amazing descriptions of the foxhunt during Meagan’s visit to England. Both fantasy and history readers will enjoy reading about The Great Horse. I recommend it to everyone.

» See original review online

graphic image of knight chesspieceThe Golden Spark is the 2nd book of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy, an award winning time-travel adventure through history—on horseback! The story follows the journey of a modern horsewoman lost in the distant past.

The trilogy books have won multiple national awards, including the 2012 Written Arts Award for The Golden Spark in Science Fiction/Fantasy. Book I of the trilogy, Eclipsed by Shadow, won the 2009 Eric Hoffer Award for best Young Adult Fiction, and the 2010 Mom’s Choice Award for best family-friendly Young Adult Fantasy.

Further information about this unique ‘creative non-fiction’ novel can be found at  TheGreatHorse.com.

Written Arts Awards: The Golden Spark is “Magical and Enchanting”

“The Golden Spark” is a tale that will appeal to young readers of fantasy and particularly readers interested in horsemanship. The story is magical and enchanting and the writing moves along at a nice pace as we follow Meagan on her journey through history.—Kam Aures, Written Arts Awards – Rebecca’s Reads

Written Arts Award logo

The following review of The Golden Spark was given by Kam Aures for Rebecca’s Reads. The title was honored by selection for their literary contest, the Written Arts Awards:

Rebecca’s Reads | Kam Aures

“The floor rolled sharply and Meagan fell hard against a wall. A tide of cold water sloshed over her feet. All around in the darkness were piercing screams of horses and the thudding concussion of hooves. The floor rolled the other way and Meagan felt herself sliding. She leaned to stay against the wall…”

So begins “The Golden Spark,” John Royce’s 2nd book in “The Legend of the Great Horse” trilogy. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the 1st book in the series, “Eclipsed by Shadow” as the author provides a special note to those who haven’t in the beginning of the book. He gives a brief summary and then reprints the last chapter of the first book so that those who are unfamiliar with the tale can get caught up. I found this to be a nice touch.

Another helpful addition is the seven page glossary at the end of the novel. Being that the story is set in time periods long ago there are many unfamiliar terms used throughout the book. The glossary is extremely helpful in deciphering the meaning of these words that are not used often today.

“The Golden Spark” is a tale that will appeal to young readers of fantasy and particularly readers interested in horsemanship. The story is magical and enchanting and the writing moves along at a nice pace as we follow Meagan on her journey through history. I think that it could easily be turned into a movie. I look forward to the continuation of Meagan’s story in Book 3.

graphic image of knight chesspieceThe Golden Spark is the 2nd book of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy, an award winning time-travel adventure through history—on horseback! The story follows the journey of a modern horsewoman lost in the distant past.

The trilogy books have won multiple national awards including the 2009 Eric Hoffer Award for best Young Adult Fiction, and the 2010 Mom’s Choice Award for best family-friendly Young Adult Fantasy.

Further information about this unique ‘creative non-fiction’ novel can be found at  TheGreatHorse.com.

Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer: The Golden Spark “Clothed with Thunder”

Book II of The Legend of the Great Horse continues John Royce’s sweeping historical fantasy about horses and horsemanship, and I am very much looking forward to learning why 16-year-old Meagan Roberts was flung backward into time. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to label this trilogy as a work of juvenile fiction. It is much more than that.—E.A. Lovitt, Amazon ‘Hall of Fame’ Top 100 Reviewer

The Golden Spark, Book #2 of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy, by Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer E.A. Lovitt:

E. A. Lovitt |Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer 5-Star Review

“CLOTHED WITH THUNDER”

Book II of The Legend of the Great Horse continues John Royce’s sweeping historical fantasy about horses and horsemanship, and I am very much looking forward to learning why 16-year-old Meagan Roberts was flung backward into time. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to label this trilogy as a work of juvenile fiction. It is much more than that.

In this middle volume, Meagan travels to Mexico with Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, the Spanish Conquistador who brought about the fall of the mighty Aztec Empire, partially through his employment of horses, which the Aztecs had never seen. Meagan wins the approval of the Spanish Captain by caring for his war stallion during a storm at sea.

Her next time-jump lands Meagan in the court of Louis XIV of France, the Sun King. His Manège du Grandes Ecuries du Château de Versailles (the Riding School of the Grand Stable of Versailles) influenced the development of equitation in 17th Century Europe. Although the author accurately portrays Louis XIV’s passion for elaborate equestrian performances, the King’s relationship with Meagan, who is posing as an English stable-hand, is scarcely believable. Although Louis spoke French, Latin, Spanish, and Italian, I don’t believe he ever learned English (he had no reason to), and he was an absolute monarch who distanced himself from ordinary people behind an impenetrable thicket of court etiquette. One had to be a nobleman just to empty the King’s chamber pot.

However, Meagan’s relationship with Nero, the high-strung dressage gelding is the highlight of this adventure in time. The horses are the true nobility in this book, not their sometimes cruel and ignorant masters.

John Royce saves the best for last: Meagan’s final time-jump in The Golden Spark lands her in with the family of a horse trainer in Regency England. The description of our heroine’s participation in a neck-or-nothing foxhunt is alive with the colors, scents, and sounds of a spectacle that has now been voted into extinction in the country of its origin. This author’s narrative is the next-best thing to actually saddling up and following the hounds.

See original review on Amazon.com

graphic image of knight chesspieceThe Golden Spark is the 2nd book of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy, an award winning time-travel adventure through history—on horseback! The story follows the journey of a modern horsewoman lost in the distant past.

The trilogy books have won multiple national awards including the 2009 Eric Hoffer Award for best Young Adult Fiction, and the 2010 Mom’s Choice Award for best family-friendly Young Adult Fantasy.

Further information about this unique ‘creative non-fiction’ novel can be found at  TheGreatHorse.com.