Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Black Stallion and the Lost City - Review

The Black Stallion and the Lost City
Steven Farley
When Alec and the Black are hired to work as stunt doubles in a film about Alexander and his horse, Bucephalus, they find themselves on set in the remote mountains of the Greek/Bulgarian border. Movie making involves a lot of waiting, so they set out for a morning of exploring. Chasing an elusive albino mare, the two find themselves caught in an underground river which drops them, half-drowned, beside a city lost in time. 
Revered at first, they soon discover that they are intended as the entertainment at a horrific ritual . . . sacrifices to the legendary flesh-eating mares in the coliseum of King Diomedes. 
I love The Black Stallion books; Walter Farley was my favorite author as a tween, and all through my teenage years. Though Steven Farley has the same skill to create a lovable horse story, the way his father did, I found this particular book a little hard to digest. Perhaps it was the way Steven painted the picture of this 'lost city' and all its inhabitants. Or maybe it was the fact that I do not truly enjoy books that involve rituals such as the one in this book. That aside, let's get on with the review.
Alec Ramsay and the Black were given the opportunity to portray Alexander the Great and Bucephalus in a a movie. With the fame of racing, and the mysterious black horse, Alec thought this would be a great chance for him and the black to get in the brighter spotlight. Which may or may not have been the best decision. The film location is set in an old ruin in ancient Greece, just across the river from what is known as the Acracia Resort.
Supposedly, this resort was on a members only type of thing, and once someone enters the resort, they are never seen again. Along with the Black his new friend, Xeena, Alec finds himself on the other side of the river, and lost in time. Lured by a mysterious, albino mare, the Black wanders away from Alec, in hopes of becoming acquainted with the mare. This is no ordinary mare. This mare is one of the flesh-eating horses that was tamed by the Greek hero, Hercules. When Alec and Xeena find the Black, they realize they are not in their world. As though even the time has changed, and something does not feel right about the water being offered as drink. 
Alec and Xeena soon learn that the reason no one ever returns from this "resort" is because if they stop drinking this "water", they begin to grow old again. One of Xeena's relatives is living in the retched place. He helps them to escaped, but dies in the process, due to the three flesh-eating mares devouring him on the spot. Horrible, I know!

I suppose, if you enjoy books like Percy Jackson and the Olympians, this would be a book for you. I do not suggest anyone younger than (maybe) sixteen reading it. My 11yr. old brother started to read it, and he loves The Black Stallion as much as I do. These are his very words: "I think Steven Farley took it a little too far. I prefer the other Black Stallion book over this one."

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