Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction (kind-of)
"Rain is a girl with a certain destiny, living in an ancient time of blood, raised on mares' milk, nurtured with the strength of a thousand Amazon sisters. A girl of power, stronger than fifty men, she rides her white horse as fierce as a demon. Rain-Dream Rider, born warrior, and queen-to-be. But then there is the fortelling. The black horse. In truth, Rain tastes a different future in her dreams. She is touched by the stirrings of emotions unknown. She begins to see beyond a life of war... and wonders about the forbidden. And about the words that are never used... mercy, men, love, peace."
I love the uniqueness of this book. It has a dream-like feel to it, and the rare dialogue is in italics. It also has a unique subject matter; tribal women warriors who fight for freedom and do not like men. But don't worry, men are regarded as slightly better later in the book. It is just interesting that there could have been women who lived and thought this way early in the history of the world. The culture, especially how it revolves around horses, made me think of Mongolia, which was pleasant for me personally.
There is a little homosexuality in this novel, but it isn't a main focus, and the society is much different than ours. This novel is written in a beautiful way, especially with all of the nature and dream imagery. It has good themes and the characters are intriguing. I wish Mrs. Hoffman would have elongated the story (it's a super short read), and I would have liked to have seen more of two of the characters, who disappear at the end. This novel was like a taste (a good one), but now I want a meal. I didn't like it as much as one of her other YA novels, Aquamarine, but that could just be because I'm obsessed with mermaids. Overall, I enjoyed this short read and give it a 3 out of 5. Visit Alice Hoffman's website to learn more about this talented author and other novels she has written (she writes adult books as well, but as yet I have not read any of them).
What I learned: People must see more than sorrow in others and the world, or there will be lasting repercussions on themselves and others. A woman must be filled with peace and mercy as well as strength if she wants to lead others well.