I received this book via the author, J.A. Campbell. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Sabaska's Tale by J.A. Campbell
Series: Tales of the Traveler #1
Published by Untold Press on July 5, 2013
Length: 224 pages
Reviewing eARC Rating:
To Anna, horses were more than a fascination, they were everything. Luckily, she had the opportunity to spend every summer on her grandmother's horse ranch in Colorado. Life was perfect, until she received the devastating news that her grandmother had been tragically killed. Anna knew she was the only member of her family who could take over the ranch and hopefully find new homes for her grandmother's beloved Arabians.
Anna wasn't alone for long. Her grandmother had hired a local teenage boy to help tend the horses for the summer. Anna didn't stand a chance against Cody's quiet charm and the two rapidly become friends. However, even with the responsibilities of the ranch, Anna quickly discovers the secrets her grandmother had been hiding and a legacy that sends her on an adventure she never thought possible. An adventure in the saddle of a horse that wasn't a horse at all. Sabaska, her grandmother's favorite Arabian, was a Traveler; a magical being that could travel between worlds. With Anna at the reins, they find themselves trapped in a fight against evil with the highest of stakes… Their very survival.
Sabaska’s Tale by J.A. Campbell is a delightful story about the love between a girl and her horse. The story begins with a prologue told from Sabaska’s POV (Sabaska is the horse). Sabaska is recounting what happened to Sherrie her rider. You see, Sabaska isn’t any ordinary horse, she’s a Traveler from another world. She can cross into other world’s just by thinking of them. The Travelers are at war with the Vanir and Sherrie is killed. (All of this occurs in the Prologue so I promise I’m not spoiling it for you). The story then cuts to Anna, Sherrie’s granddaughter, who knows nothing of Sherrie’s life as a rider, but shares her love for horses. Anna at 16 decides to stay on her grandmother’s farm to sell her horses to good homes and in the process finds that grandmother was keeping a lot of secrets.
I liked this story. Anna is a sweet, innocent 16 year old girl who is grieving for her grandmother. She wants to do right by the horses and find them good homes, not just sell them to the highest bidder. She’s alone on the farm, until a few days pass and Cody a boy around her age shows up to help clean the stalls and feed the horses. He says her grandmother paid him through the summer. Cody is bashful, but I took an instant liking to him. He seems to genuinely care about Anna. Then there is Cahir. He is one of the potential buyers and also looks to be around Anna’s age. Anna is attracted to him, but I found him odd and was suspicious of him. And Sabaska! I loved this horse! She has a free-spirit and is very independent.
The plot was just ok I thought. After the suspenseful prologue, it took nearly half the book before Anna knew what Sabaska was and we got back to the main story: the Traveler’s war with the Vanir. Also Anna learning what really happened to her grandmother. Before that it was a lot about what/how Anna took care of the horse’s and selling them to other families. This part of the book dragged for me, probably because I know nothing about horses, but the last half of the book made up for it. Lots of action and suspense, and some world-building as Anna became immersed in the Traveler’s lifestyle.
Overall, I did enjoy the book and I would definitely buy/recommend it. The ending is not a cliffhanger (yay!) so it can be read as a standalone, however the author definitely has left it open to add more stories. If you enjoy realistic-fantasy, YA lit, and are an animal lover, I think you would enjoy this book.