Blog Tour: She Who Rides Horses: A Saga of the Ancient Steppe (Book #1) by Sarah V. Barnes: A Book Review
Category: Adult Fiction (18+), 267 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Lilith House Press
Release date: March 2022
Content Rating: PG. It contains two kissing scenes and the death of an animal.
Set more than 6,000 years ago, She Who Rides Horses: A Saga of the Ancient Steppe (Book One) begins the story of Naya, the first person to ride a horse.
Daughter of a clan chief, bolder than other girls but shunned by the boys because of her unusual appearance, Naya wanders alone through the vast grasslands where her people herd cattle and hunt wild horses for their meat. But Naya dreams of creating a different kind of relationship with the magnificent creatures.
One day, she discovers a filly with a chestnut coat as uncommon as her own head of red hair. With time running out before she is called to assume the responsibilities of adulthood, Naya embarks on a quest to gallop with the red filly across the boundless steppe.
Unwittingly, she sets in motion forces and events that will change forever the future of humans and horses alike.
She Who Rides Horses tells the story of the first person who had tamed and ridden a horse. Naya is the daughter of a chief. Her clan often hunted wild horses for meat. However, Naya wants to form a relationship with a red horse. Naya embarks on a quest to tame and eventually ride the horse. As Naya learns how to ride the horse, she realizes that she has changed the course of history.
Naya is a very interesting character. She is a very spiritual person. I also like that she is very feisty and strong-willed. There were times in which she was uncertain of herself. However, she slowly gained confidence throughout the course of the novel. I also liked her strong bond with the red horse. She had to work hard to earn the horse’s trust. Therefore, her relationship with the horse is the strongest aspect of the novel. Naya is a tough and admirable heroine.
Overall, this novel is a solid coming-of-age story. Still, there are a few flaws in this book. I did not like how Naya was unconscious in most of the novel. Her unconsciousness did help develop the other side characters. However, I felt it was too long for her not to be involved in her own story. It made the last part of the novel seem rushed. I also did not like the cliffhanger at the end. I believe there could have been some resolution. Nevertheless, it was still an engrossing read! I read it in one sitting and could not put it down. I loved the prehistoric setting! The writing was very lyrical and filled with vivid imagery! I am excited for the sequel! I can’t wait to find out what happens next in Naya’s journey! I recommend this for fans of The Last Neanderthal, The Clan of the Cave Bear, and She Who Remembers!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Sarah V. Barnes, Ph.D. is both an historian and a horsewoman. When Sarah is not writing stories, she practices and teaches riding as a meditative art. She also offers equine-facilitated coaching and wellness workshops.
Sarah holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University and spent many years as a college professor before turning full-time to riding and writing. She has two grown daughters and lives with her husband, her dogs and her horses near Boulder, CO.
connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ goodreads