Book: The Glory
Author: Lauren St John
This was my first foray back into the world of horse fiction for a while (in fact the last horse book I read was by the same author, the last book in her One Dollar Horse Trilogy), I read a lot of horse books when I was younger, but not so much now as most horse books seem to be aged at children rather than young adults, so I was very happy to find this book from an author I already knew I liked, that was aimed at young adults. It was one of those books that when I read the synopsis, I was like, yeah I’m really going to like this and I’m happy to say I was proved right. It was a fast, fun read and it felt like I was riding through the Wild West alongside Alex and Will and reminded me of everything that I love about horse books. Here’s a synopsis of the book:
A SENSATIONAL STAND-ALONE HORSE ROMANCE AND THRILLER FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE ONE DOLLAR HORSE SERIES
A girl on the run from the law
When Alexandra Blakewood is sent to a US boot camp for out-of-control teenagers, she has only one thought in mind: escape. It seems impossible until she meets Scout, a palomino mustang as wild as she is…
A boy on a mission to save a life
Hard times force Will Greyton to give up on his dreams and face losing the Arab mare he loves. Then his dad falls ill. An operation might save him but there’s no way to pay for it. Until Will hears about The Glory, a race with a $250,000 purse.
A race they both have to win.
A deadly 1,200 mile endurance challenge across the American West. Can Will and Alex survive it without losing their lives or hearts?
I feel like the first thing I should talk about is the characters because they were both amazing. Alex is a little bratty to start off with, but she goes through such amazing character development throughout the book, you get to see how loyal and brave and caring and determined and passionate she is and you really do root for her. I think the turning point for me was her relationship with Scout, the bond that formed between the pair of them, you couldn’t help but root for them (there is a particular moment between them that I loved but I don’t want to spoil it, so I’ll just say it was really beautiful). Her fire and spirit, the very things that get her into trouble in the first place are actually what I loved most about her in the end. Her passion for horses gave me something to connect with her on even when she was being a bit bratty. Yes, she has her moments when you get a little frustrated with her, but she had such a great character arc, you can forgive her her few idiot moments and they get fewer and further apart through the book, that by the end I really did love her (and Scout, especially Scout!). I did feel bad for her though, even when she was being bratty in the beginning, because she was clearly hurting over her parents’ divorce and boot camp seemed a little too severe. She skipped school to read and ride and I’m not condoning skipping school or anything, but if I had skipped school, that’s totally what I would have done!
Will Greyton…..where can I find myself a Will Greyton? I’m being serious. He’s kind, he loves horses, he’s selfless, he wants to be a vet, he’s generous, good looking, brave, caring, literally if I could actually meet a Will Greyton in real life, I would be one happy girl, because I found him completely adorable. I don’t believe in love at first sight, but this was definitely love at first read! His relationship with his horse Shiraz totally endeared me to him, they were best friends, he was totally devoted to her and I loved that. He’d had such a difficult life, had to give up his dream of going to vet school because of his dad’s health issues, and yet he was still so amazing, so you’re obviously rooting for him to win (but you want Alex to win too, herein lies the problem, you spend most of the book torn between which protagonist you want to win!).
Alex and Will’s relationship was amazing. It was a very slow burn romance, from when they meet, there is an underlying attraction and chemistry between the two of them, but they don’t act on it until right at the end. Still they are so adorable because they both look out for each other throughout the race and help each other even when they’re supposed to be competing against one another, I just thought it was amazing. It’s all very PG as well, cuddles, the occasional kiss and when they do actually have sex, it’s pretty glossed over, I actually had to read it twice to make sure that that was actually what had happened.
I loved that both Alex and Will had present parents (I mean Alex’s dad lives in Australia and Will’s mum is dead), but Alex had her mum and stepfather and Will had his dad (his relationship with his dad was so sweet) and you don’t often get that in YA fiction (although I do read a lot of fantasy so I probably have a skewed sample). Admittedly, Alex’s parents aren’t all that great to start off with (I mean they do send her to a boot camp thousands of miles away from home), but they get better, promise! I was fully expecting to hate Alex’s dad, but I actually really liked him and found their reunion really heartwarming. Alex’s stepfather was an ass, I totally hated him and he deserved what he got.
There was one thing that slightly bothered me and that was that there were occasional POV errors here and there. For the most part Lauren St John did really well with her alternating third person POV’s, but there were sometimes slight errors, like characters knowing the names of other characters before they were even introduced in that characters POV. There were also some errors with some sentences that had wrong words (where there was a word that should have been a different word) or sentences that had words missing. It didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the book, but it was noticeable and slightly jarring when I did see it.
The pace was really good, it had me engaged throughout and it really did feel like you were riding with Alex and Scout and Will and Shiraz across the Wild West and I completely devoured the story. I was kept on the edge of my seat the whole way through because I couldn’t decide which one out of Alex or Will that I wanted to win more and you could never actually tell which one of them was going to win so that made things very exciting.
I wasn’t expecting it to end the way it did, but I thought the ending was perfect, both Alex and Will ended up where they were supposed to be and it all tied up quite neatly, which I don’t always love but it worked well for this book and the ending was really sweet, I felt satisfied and really happy which always a great thing to feel at the end of a book, especially one as tumultuous as this one!
Basically this was a really fun, fast enjoyable read, with great characters, not to mention great horses and a great setting, you will start reading this book and will not be able to stop and by the end of it, it really does feel like you’ve ridden 1200 miles with these characters and been on their adventure with them.
My Rating: 3.5/5
My next review will be of my most anticipated release of 2016, The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve just started this and I’m so happy to be back in the world of Blue and her Raven Boys.