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House of the Star

3.34  ·  Rating Details  ·  98 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Elen is a princess of the kingdom of Ymbria. Her greatest wish is to become a rider of worldrunners: the magical horses that are the only safe way to travel the roads through the worlds of Faerie. Now Elen has the chance to fulfill her dream at last, but the price is much too high.

To become a worldrider, Elen must journey to the House of the Star on Earth, the Arizona ranc
ebook, 288 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by Starscape
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 437)
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"Magical horses who travel among worlds, a magical school where students dream of being chosen to ride them, an undercurrent of unpredictable faerie magic--this book is for anyone who's ever dreamed of magic and horses and escaping to other realms. I didn't want to put it down, and I longed to keep riding with the tribe of horse girls when I ran out of pages to turn."

Put another way: this book made my inner horse girl, and my inner searcher-for-magic, and my inner 11-year-old all very happy. :-)
Nov 08, 2010 S. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
This book was one that I signed up to receive in the 'giveaways' area. It looked interesting, I like fantasy and horses. How could I lose, even though I knew it would be an advanced readers copy and unedited for the most part. I was a bit late getting back in here to list that I had received it. Got it about a week ago--just when a writing challenge had started (National Novel Writing Month). So I got it the first day of NaNo and decided to relax and read a chapter or two after a long day. BIG m ...more
Nov 12, 2010 Yvensong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of fantasy
Recommended to Yvensong by: S.
Sometimes no matter how much someone may try to run away from all the problems that are thrust upon them, they end up right in the middle of what they tried to avoid. This is exactly what happens to Elen, a young girl with big dreams and even bigger problems in this creative fantasy written for young readers.

As I noted in one of my previous reviews of another author's book, Caitlin Brennan has taken something she knows about, (in this cases, horses) and has weaved a story around what she knows,
Sherwood Smith
May 09, 2010 Sherwood Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I loved this book when I read an advanced reading copy. It's like an 11 year old girl's dream book, if that girl likes horses, summer camp, exotic locations, deserts . . . and horses. Also high intensity girl drama.

Brennan could have opted for the easiest of the girls as protagonist, but she chose the most difficult, and her skill is such that this is the most interesting choice.

Add in humor, wisdom, an intriguing magical system, an exquisite eye for the austere beauties of the desert, and abov
This book combines two very well-known tropes in young adult books. Brennan blends the plot line about the young princess who must end the grinding, centuries-long war AND the two girls at horse camp who can't stand each other into a reasonably well-laid story. Our heroine, Princess Elen, had been charged by her Queen mother to end the two centuries of fighting between the Capulets - I mean - Ymbrians and the Caledonians. Elen ends up meeting her supposed ally-from-the-other-side, and of course ...more
Having read so many books like "My Friend Flicka", "National Velvet", "The Little White Horse" and the like, played with and collected My Little Ponies and still catch up with Mercedes lackey's Companion books every time a new one comes out, I was very pleased to win the ARC of this book. I had high hopes, which were not disappointed.

At the beginning it was the premise of the book to that drew me in - a princess from another realm is sent to work on a horse ranch in Arizona, along with the scion
Nov 06, 2010 E. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
A young girl named Elen from Ymbria aspires to become an elite worldrider, able to travel amongst different worlds by riding on special horses called worldrunners. Before she can be judged worthy, she has to prove herself by participating on a horse ranch located on the neutral world of Earth. The problem is that Elen is expected to follow tradition and marry her counterpart from the hated world of Caledon, a world that has been at war with Ymbria for countless years. Elen seeks to escape her de ...more
Jun 29, 2014 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Where was this book when I was 12? I picked this up at the $1 store and I am so glad! It was intelligent, entertaining, and magical - what a combo! The story had meaning and practical application. The characters were relatable without being sappy.
The story line was mystical and unique. I loved horses as a little girl and this just would have made my whole life to read this when I was younger. The horses in this book are like the dragons in Avatar.

Great read!
3.5 stars.

I was definitely one of those girls that went through a horse (and horse-book) phase, and this book brought back memories from that time in my life.

There's absolutely no romance happening in this book (which I found a refreshing break), rather, the focus is squarely on the relationships between 3 girls--Elen and Ria, two princesses from rival kingdoms, and Sara, the Earth native who tries to make peace between them, but can't until they make it for themselves. Of the 3, Elen is the mo
Nov 09, 2010 Sandy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I got this as an advance giveaway copy, and I apprectiate the opportunity to add my review of this middle reader. As a 9 year old, horse crazy, daydreaming girl, I would have really liked this story - it has the elements of magic, smart horse/soulmate, Celtic mythology, and cool summer camp. What girl doesn't want this? It has the elements of conflict and learning how to deal with, and reconcile with, one's enemies, along with this whole issue being important enough that it affects the survival ...more
Feb 23, 2014 Lorri-lynne rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook
This was a good read. The characters were well developed, and the premise was solid. The world-building was pretty good, and the world runners were interesting. I think it could have been a bit longer, some parts seemed a bit rushed, but that may be the adult in me. Younger readers would probably not notice. The book teaches a moral without being preachy, and allows the characters to grow a bit.
Jun 19, 2011 Estara rated it liked it
Recommends it for: horse loving young females
Recommended to Estara by: it's Judith Tarr - duh!
Shelves: ebook, read-in-2011
This is the book I would have LOVED to read when I was still 12 or 13! It's centred on horses, it's got female heroines, it's got fantasy - perfect!

The reason I only give it three stars now that I'm 44 is that I don't have patience with utterly stubborn teenagers who only see their own view any longer (especially since I have to do with them often in my daily job) AND because this is a wild ride but much too short. I wanted to spend more time on the farm, I wanted more background about Ymbria at
Sara Menashe
Dec 10, 2012 Sara Menashe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as an advanced copy from Goodreads Giveaway! Thanks so much!

I am an elementary school teacher and cannot wait for my students to be old enough to read this book so I can hear their reactions! For any young girl who loves horses and fairy tales with depth, they will love this book! The attention to detail and imagination that went into writing this book is phenomenal, and the world where this book takes place is one where many girls I know will want to live! Caitlin Brennan i
It was a good book.. it was an easy read... I would recommend it if you are looking for something light to read
Dec 04, 2010 eleight rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
While this book is marketed to middle-school readers, I think it will appeal more to late elementary-age girls (4th-6th grades). If you or your daughter is not already very into horses, and feels that folks who like horses are a special breed, then this book may leave you a bit cold. If you or your daughter is horse crazy, you'll love this book. Horses, princesses, ranches and far-away worlds -- this book has it all. An enjoyable romp into lessons of responsibility and getting along with folks y ...more
Hannah Cobb
Apr 11, 2012 Hannah Cobb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fantasy
Elen is the princess of a faerie kingdom, but her dream has always been to come to earth and earn a place as a Worldrunner-one of the elite few gifted with the opportunity to ride the Worldrunners, special horses that can only be born on earth. On the surface this book is all about horses (and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who is't a horse lover) but Elen also makes a lot of hard choices, learning about justice and self sacrifice as she grows into her place as a worldrunner. Ten to eleven ye ...more
Angel Ica
This was pretty good for a dollar store YA read :)
Apr 18, 2011 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youth-fantasy
If you are a fan of horses, I think you might like this 4 stars. It made me more of a fan of horses, but the plot and characters and writing were just ok for me.

I did like the message about war, which carries over into any disagreement really. People keep hate and resentment and revenge and anger alive for way too long. It's not worth it. You hurt too many other people in the process. Someone just has to find the common ground and make it stop.

Angela R.
Probably a good read for any horse-crazy young girl, but as an adult I feel insulted on behalf of young readers. I hope young readers can handle a story that is more deep and meaningful than this book, but then again I'm often shocked at the stupid storylines in today's tv shows for teenagers. Anyway, it was an ok book but slightly disappoining. Having read the author's previous adult novels, I was expecting better.
Jul 26, 2011 Sierra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The only read I gave it a "liked it" score rather than a "just ok" score was because it was about horses, and I'm a sucker for horses. The novel felt very juvenile, not in a good way. Like if the author explained too much of what was going on, then the reader would have been confused. It felt myself missing a lot because it came out of nowhere with no introduction. The story concept is there, but it was not handled well.
I was disappointed with this book. The writing is very week and felt uneven (meaning things that should have been explained/entered, where not there) at times. It was a very easy and quick read, not much development in the characters (changes just happened), or the plot (which at times felt jumpy). I think if I were a child I would have enjoyed this a lot more than I did, as it is clearly written for a juvenile.
On a 10 point scale, this was a 7, mostly because I read it as an adult and not as a tween. So the "adult me" kept wanting more depth.

The characters are believable, given the fantasy setting, and the underlying threads of "horse girls" and "the tribe" rang true. The descriptive prose is evocative but never gets in the way of moving the story along.

If I were younger, this would probably have rated higher!
Nov 11, 2010 Alaina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book through First Reads.
Its pure excitement from the beginning. Elen's mother comes to her with a proposal, but Elen doesn't want any part of it. So she runs away and ironically ends up in the exact place she was tyring to avoid. Even though it was her childhood dream to go there. She soon finds out that she didn't know everything she thought she knew and she is in for a great adventure.
Mar 02, 2011 Melanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was lame, there's no other way to put it. If you like horses, there wasn't enough real horse stuff in it. If you like magic, likewise, not enough. If you like action, not enough of that either. And the dialogue and the story were dumb. The characters were dumb. Their problems were dumb. I didn't give it a 1 because I was able to finish it but thankfully it was a short book.
Nov 12, 2012 Amber rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
The author definitely had some good elements in this book, but the story just didn't have it. I liked the whole ranch part, but when she started talking about horses that walked "the road" what? It's very different, a weird different. This book is definitely for children who don't know the difference between good and bad writing. So kids if you love horses, this is a good book for you.
Kl Richardsson
Nov 05, 2010 Kl Richardsson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely adding this to the list of 'books for my nine year old niece.' As a member of 'the tribe' and someone who has met -- and loved -- the horses of Dancing Star Farm, I couldn't help fall in love with this book. It just felt *right.* Like this book was written for the little girl I used to be. Solid plot and characters, and of course, the horses steal the show.
Diane Daniels
It's a great book for young girls who love horses. The message against war and hatred and how it starts with individuals was also commendable. I liked it. I was disappointed that it didn't have any romance to speak of since the teaser suggested that it would. The fantasy, itself, was vague. I would have liked more details. Perhaps she was going for a richness of ambiguity.
The writing was entertaining/enjoyable enough to read but, I kept finding the actions of the characters disbelievable.

If I were to read another of this author's books it would be a library copy. I am glad I had a chance to read the book though. I had been eyeing the author on amazon for awhile now.
Jan 11, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first GoodRead "win" and I have to say Thank You for taking me back to my young crazy horse loving days! I could "see" myself curled up, book in hand, wishing I could visit the House of Star,to be Elena! This book would have fit right in with my Marguerite Henry books!!!
This was a cute book. It was a little stretched in some parts but I did enjoy it and would recommend it to young adults. The author had copious amount of knowledge about horses and that was a pleasure to read.
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A pseudonym used by Judith Tarr.

Caitlin Brennan believes wholeheartedly in the writer's favorite adage, "Write what you know." She is a history buff and a lifelong reader and writer of fantasy, and she breeds and trains Lipizzan horses--the original "White Gods." She lives near Tucson, Arizona, with her stallion, Pluto Carrma III, and his herd of Ladies and his rival the Evil Gelding, along with f
More about Caitlin Brennan...

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