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Tamer of Horses

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More than two decades before the events of Helen of Sparta...

Abandoned as a baby, Hippodamia would have died of exposure on the mountain had it not been for Centaurus. The king of the centaurs saved her, raised her as his own, and in exchange asks for only one thing: she must marry the future king of the Lapiths, Pirithous, son of Zeus, and forge a lasting peace between their peoples by giving him an heir. It would be a fine match if Pirithous weren’t more pirate than king and insufferably conceited, besides. But Hippodamia can hardly refuse to marry him without betraying every hope her people have for peace.

After the death of Dia, queen of the Lapiths, tensions are running high. The oaths and promises protecting the Lapith people from the Myrmidons have lapsed, and the last thing Pirithous needs is to begin his kingship by making new enemies. But not everyone wants peace on the mountain. There are those among the centaurs who feel it comes at too high a price, and Peleus, King of the Myrmidons, lusts for the lush valley of the Lapiths and the horses that graze within it. Pirithous needs a strong queen at his side, and Hippodamia will certainly be that—if he can win her loyalties.

But no matter their differences, neither Hippodamia nor Pirithous expected their wedding banquet to be the first battle in a war.

377 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 3, 2016

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About the author

Amalia Carosella

8 books315 followers
Amalia Carosella graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too). For more information, visit her blog at www.amaliacarosella.com.

She also writes myth-steeped fantasy and paranormal romance under the name Amalia Dillin. Learn more about her other works at www.amaliadillin.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 38 reviews
Profile Image for Erin.
2,817 reviews494 followers
November 2, 2016
Love Greek mythology? Desire some sizzling romance? Does your blood thirst for a good battle or two? Tamer of Horses is just the book that I would recommend to meet your needs. Prior to diving into the story, I had to Google Hippodamia because I had never heard of her. Her story is certainly a Greek tragedy! I should be really upset with Amalia Carosella for writing a character that has such a sad ending. But how could I be? Everything about this story is absolutely P-E-R-F-E-C-T and I don't say that in a light handed manner.

We first encounter Hippodamia as she prepares to leave her childhood home among the centaurs and marry Pirithous, King of the Laipths. Chapters are alternately told from their perspective and how they navigate their courtship and early days of marriage. Not to mention an all out war with the centaurs! There were plenty of nail biting, heart racing scenes and I loved every single one.

Sparks quickly fly between the King and his intended. Lines like the one below couldn't help but bring a smile to my face.

"Your beauty leaves me speechless, Princess"

"Yet your lips still move"

Keep in mind that Pirithous is a son of Zeus and is no monk. Every scene between the pair had me on the edge of my seat. Although I did have a case of eye rolls in the beginning when Pirithous was bragging about his sexual prowess. Just like a jock would brag to the smartest girl in the class in a high school movie. Personally, I felt that the sex scenes were tastefully done and downright steamy!

I loved how the friendships between Pirithous and Theseus, Hippodamia and Antiope was written and played out in the story. Hell! Who am I kidding? It was Theseus that I was excited to read about again! So thanks Ms. Carosella for making sure that you sate your reader's appetites. And if you were to tell us Theseus and Antiope's story in the future....

Amalia Carosella presents an excellent narrative that mixes just the right ingredients of mythology, fantasy, and romance that kept me engaged from beginning to end. I highly recommend Helen of Sparta and By Helen's Hand which are equally fabulous in their own right.

Thanks to Thorskona books and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Betül.
970 reviews233 followers
March 25, 2019
**ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review**


Before I started this book I had no idea what to expect. What I did know was that it was a historical fantasy romance book that sounded amazing to me. Plus the cover is AMAZING. It's beautiful and different than what I am used to seeing. I loved this story from start to end. Tamer of Horses is based on Greek mythology and I loved that so much. I love anything history related but mythologies are even more intriguing to me. It isn't easy to find a fantasy book that can keep me intrigued throughout to book without having me want to skip parts, but I really took my time to read slowly so I wouldn't miss anything.

Tamer of Horses is about Hippodamia who must marry the future king of the Lapiths, Pirithous, son of Zeus, and forge a lasting peace between their peoples by giving him an heir. I love arranged marriages in books especially historical/fantasy books. Amalia created such a beautiful story with very interesting characters. I was living this book, I was experiencing everything they were. I just couldn't get enough. I loved that this book was long and that the author took her time to really tell the story of Hippodamia and Pirithous. I loved how their relationship developed and how they worked through their ups and downs. There were a couple of scenes very emotional that had me crying my eyes out. Difficult decisions were made that were so heartbreaking and hard to read but necessary.

In the beginning it took me a couple of chapters to get used to the unique names and remembering who was who but thankfully that didn't last long. I loved the secondary characters, Theseus and Antiope, and hope their story will be told in the future. The author has opened up a new world to me and I can't wait to read more books based on Greek mythology. Tamer of Horses was a strong book that had the right amount of romance, action, emotion and mythology. The author found the right balance between them and made me enjoy the book even more. I can't wait to read her other books and find myself get lost in Greek mythology again.
Profile Image for Christine.
6,526 reviews467 followers
September 21, 2016
Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.

Arranged marriages are tricky things. People don’t know each other very well and back in the day, quite a bit was riding on an arranged marriage. And then, well, what do you do if your intended comes from a totally different culture or tribe?

Carosella’s new book is, in part, an answer to that question. Pirithous is king of the Lapiths in ancient in Greece, before the Trojan war. His marriage to Hippodamia is supposed to bring peace between the Lapiths and the centaurs, who are related to the Lapiths. Hippodamia, a human girl raised by the centaurs, was raised seeing that marriage should be between two people who love each other and not simply a business arrangement. Needless to say, Pirithous feels a bit differently. He wants his cake and to eat it too.

The book, in short, is like many romance novels in that the hero and heroine struggle though commutation all the while shagging each other until they discover true love. This isn’t necessary a bad thing, and if a straight forward romance with a somewhat unconventional ending is what you want, then this book will deliver it.

Additionally, Carosella’s knowledge of Bronze and Heroic age Greece is excellent. She does not modernize terms or Hollywoodize the action. This is hardly surprising considering her degree in Classics, though considering that some writers play a bit fast with history in fiction, it is nice to see Carosella not do that. Her interpretation of the Hippodamia and Pirithous story is interesting, especially in regards to the use of a girl raised by centaurs. It is true that some more of centaur culture would have made the book a bit stronger. Carosella hews closely to the idea of the centaurs as ruled by passion and possessing a tendency to over-indulge in alcohol (and there are a few scenes where she plays with ignorance of wine quite nicely). Yet outside of the centaurs mating for life, nothing else is really made clear, unless you count centaurs in a rut (sexual rut), though how this is entirely different than the lust that Pirithous and Hippodamia feel for each other is not entirely clear.

The main problem is that neither Pirithous and Hippodamia is all that interesting in this book. Hippodamia does grow a teeny bit towards the end of the novel, but the change is a little sudden and at that point, one is so tired of Hippodamia’s whining and somewhat spoiled behavior that you don’t entirely care. And despite the title of the novel, she doesn’t really do much in the way of horse tamer. Pirithous comes across as a little better, he is more aware of responsibility than Hippodamia, but his attraction to his wife seems to be only physical. This is also true for Pirithous quasi-romantic rival. The reader’s response is “why does anyone care”. The answer seems to be because she is hot and talented but still a virgin. Yet, he comes across as cruel at times. It is hard to care about the couple, especially when at times page after page is constant hashing over of the relationship. He loves me not, he loves me – get a damned flower please.

In fact, the one interesting couple is Theseus and Antiope who not only really seem to be in love – unlike Pirithous and Hippodamia – but don’t talk about it over and over. It isn’t fully just a question of maturity and wisdom, but Theseus and his wife work in a way that the other couple doesn’t. The reader can believe in them, unlike the central romantic pairing.

When the book veers away from the constant whining about the relationship between the romantic couple, it actually gets pretty good. The action sequences as well done and the description of battles work. It is almost gripping in those points. It just takes so long to get there. Instead of chapter after chapter of going over the same issue (over and over) some more action would not been out of place.
Profile Image for ⋆☆☽ Kriss ☾☆⋆.
557 reviews192 followers
November 17, 2016
I am very impressed by this standalone, so my review will be quite short; after all, my inability to express my thoughts in multiple paragraphs should attest to the fact that this novel is something grand.

Though I will say now that all the sex and sexual references was a bit much for my tastes, I do not knock it as a flaw. In ancient Greece, sex was quite an everyday and important thing, especially in the lives of those who ruled. So, forewarning to any who pick this up. It definitely doesn’t gloss over this aspect of ancient Greek life. Also, forewarning, there is mention of rape occurring—after all, we have war and fighting and what not going on and rape is a weapon of war—and while no explicit scenes are described, if you find the subject triggering, then skip this.

But outside of this, I find no other points of contention. The history was pretty well researched, though obviously embellished and altered to become a novel-length work of fiction. I was impressed by the writing and language; it suited the scene well and was at times poetic and moving. I also found the characters to be very well fleshed out. Hippodamia is one of my new favorite characters now. I loved her strength; her desire for equality and her dutifulness, all while longing too for love and happiness. She is willing to make sacrifices and lets no one belittle her, yet even when making the hard choices she mourns and there’s compassion in her heart; she’s easy to rally for and stand behind.

The relationships were intense and emotional; you see passion, love, devotion, hatred, anger, sadness, betrayal, and a slew of others evolve and form throughout the book and between the characters. You get a real feel for the romance and the friendships. There seemed nothing hallow or wanting in them.

The plot is a bit straightforward if you’re aware on the Greek myth is this based off of; but I actually wasn’t so it was quite interesting to see how things unfold. How the marriage comes into being, how they work things out, how things fall apart, how they right them again, and the bittersweet ending that drives home the power of love and devotion. There’s action, politics, romance, melodrama, war, and so much else packed into this 300+ page book. It’s really quite an enthralling and satisfying read, though I will say the first 30% is a little slow paced, but soon things pick up.

I give this book very high praise and recommend it to those who like quality retellings of Greek myths with amazing characters and those who appreciate ancient-world historical fiction.

*I received a copy of this title from Net Galley, but in no way does that affect my review for better or worse*
Profile Image for Amalia Carosella.
Author 8 books315 followers
May 10, 2017
*This is not a Review*
Hippodamia and Pirithous's story is one I love very much -- and I am so excited to share it with you all, at last.

For those of you who haven't read Helen of Sparta, don't worry! This is a stand alone, and takes place roughly 25 years before the events of my Helen books, so it's a great place to jump in and splash around in Bronze Age Greece without any of the baggage from the other books!

For those of you who HAVE read HELEN OF SPARTA, you'll see some familiar faces in TAMER, and I hope you'll forgive Pirithous his carnal vices (I just couldn't write a chaste son of Zeus. It wasn't right.) And of course, I also hope you'll enjoy TAMER OF HORSES as much as you've enjoyed my Helen books! Or maybe even more :)

(And yes, I have every intention of writing a book for Antiope and Theseus one day.)

(Update: 5/10/17 -- guh. Theseus and Antiope. ilu. also MY HEART. You can judge me for rereading my own books if you want but. Pirithous and Hippodamia forever. <3! I'm going to reread Helen of Sparta now and see how well Pirithous has aged.)
Profile Image for Karla.
550 reviews15 followers
September 22, 2016
Heart wrenching. A story of love and betrayal. Nails were bitten and teas shed. An emotional rollercoaster based in Ancient Greece where gods rule and beasts are just puppets.

A stand alone novel.

I loved it 5*****

I was given this book in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lisa.
114 reviews36 followers
November 15, 2016
This review and more can be found on the blog: http://greatreadsandtealeaves.blogspo...

"Her dark hair was crowned with a wreath of white wildflowers, but even so, she had not lost the stray bits of leaf and stick, the disarray a reminder of her upbringing. A wild creature, born of the mountain and the wood, only waiting to be tamed by her king."

I loved Carosella’s previous two books, Helen of Sparta and By Helen’s Hand, so snapping up the ARC of Tamer of Horses as soon as it became available was a total no-brainer for me. The first two books reimagined the well-known tale of Helen and the lead up to the Trojan War, complete with the author's own unique twist upon the story. Taking place some 25 years prior, Tamer serves as a prequel to those books but can easily be read as a stand alone as well.

Although most everyone is familiar with the story of Helen, this book tells the story of one of the somewhat lesser known side characters of the Helen books, King Pirithous of the Lapiths, and his Centaur–raised bride Hippodamia. As an extra treat for readers of the previous books, King Theseus of Athens is once again present and plays a significant part in this story, and we also get to meet his first wife Antiope, the Amazon Queen.

Carosella’s writing is immersive and exceptionally readable. Her knowledge of Bronze Age Greece and Greek mythology is obvious and she does a marvelous job interpreting and fleshing out the classic myths and filling in any gaps that exist in those tales. Her characters are engaging and she truly brings the time period to life. I did feel there was a bit too much sexual/romantic angst at the beginning of this book, which slowed things down somewhat, but once the war with the Centaurs began the story picked up steam quickly, and I was completely engaged from that point on.

As Carosella states in the author’s note: “To be frank, I couldn’t imagine Pirithous taking just any woman as his wife. She had to have been exceptional and unique. Exceptional enough that decades later, he would accept nothing less than a daughter of Zeus for his second wife…” And, indeed, the author has succeeded in creating a strong and interesting female lead in Hippodamia. She is fierce, wild and stubborn yet loyal and honorable, and I found myself rooting for her in spite of her flaws.

Theseus is a favorite of mine from the Helen books, and experiencing his relationship with his Amazon wife was a definite highlight here. Antiope is a fabulous character in her own right, and I would love to see a future book entirely devoted to their story. In the meantime, I eagerly look forward to any and all new releases from this author. I am most certainly a fan and will pick them up without hesitation!

"She was queen. The only woman Pirithous thought worthy of the role. The only woman he trusted to rule in his place. She was his queen. And she must fight."

(This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.)
Profile Image for Historical Fiction.
919 reviews566 followers
September 2, 2016
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Tamer of Horses has been on my list since I hosted a Character Conversation with Polypoetes. It was mentioned that he’d appear in a forthcoming novel and I set myself to keeping an eye out for Carosella’s next release. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to wait long. Three months later I was granted an ARC of the novel and I jumped straight in.

As far as heroines go, Hippodamia is a breath of fresh air. She has tomboyish mannerisms and a great love of horses, but her real motivation is a simple desire to be loved. She wants a husband and a family and I found her modest ambitions both endearing and relatable, especially in a world where glory and immorality reign supreme. She was a very genuine woman in my mind’s eye and I loved how Carosella managed to keep that fundamental element of her character at the forefront of her arc.

Much like his immortal father, Pirithous is an intensely sexual being and it would have been very easy to tire of his appetites, but Carosella plays his prowess against his insecurities and the end result is surprisingly charming. The jealousy he feels towards Eurytion and Antiope soften him and I enjoyed the dimension his flaws afforded. I also appreciated the idea that those same failings eventually drive him to become a better version of himself, but you’ll have to read to book to fully understand what I mean.

The politics of war for the Lapiths fascinated me from the start and I loved how the cultural struggle between the Lapiths and the centaurs heightened the tension throughout the narrative. I was impressed with the role the Gods played in the lives of Carosella's mortal cast and I fell head over heels in love with Antiope, but the moment that stands out in my mind is the final scene. Hippodamia’s sacrifice is profound, but the fact that her worth is truly understood in that moment bring the novel full circle and cuts straight to the heart.

Long story short, I loved every minute I spent with Tamer of Horses and highly recommend it to fellow readers of myth based fiction.
Profile Image for Diana Paz.
Author 4 books78 followers
September 10, 2016
I wish there were a special word specifically to describe falling in love with a book. From the moment I met Hippodamia, she was my little sister, the friend I've had since we were little and who I'm now watching step foot in the wide world. I adore her. Her journey is both authentic and spectacular. Raised by centaurs, I was given a vivid image of her growing up free and untamed, and I loved seeing her adapt to an entirely foreign world. TAMER OF HORSES is one of those stories that has characters that nestle in your mind and immediately become real. Antiope, my goodness Antiope!! I hope she gets her own story--and I dearly wish she were real because Amalia Carosella made her the ultimate best friend!

I could gush more, and I will at least for Pirithous' sake. He is every bit Zeus' son, but thank goodness for his mother because beneath that lusty, charming and absolutely swoon-worthy veneer beats a kind and compassionate heart. He loves his people. He loves his horses. He certainly loved his mother and he is a deeply loyal friend to Theseus. His capacity for love is enormous, and although he has a lot to learn at the start of the novel, the author did a wonderful job of showing me how thoroughly Pirithous CAN love others, so I instinctively felt that whenever a woman snagged that heart of his, she would be the most cherished and beloved person of all.

So yes, there is a lot of romance throughout the book if you hadn't guessed, but the book is so much more. A thoroughly developed world that feels rich and ancient, with thoughtful mention of past events and neighboring feuds that makes it feel very "lived in" and complete. It's really like I got dropped off in ancient Thessaly, but even better because I saw through real eyes and felt the emotions of real people.

One more note on the writing. Amalia Carosella's style is a gorgeous blend of unique imagery and immersive, sense-driven description that lets readers instantly connect and engage. It's the kind of book I can effortlessly devour because the cadence and pacing is so on-point. Luckily for us she grows with every book she writes, and this work is probably my favorite of hers so far. It makes my top 10 favorite books of all time. It's just so rare to find mythology-based books with characters that are this relatable. There's usually something larger-than-life about them that creates distance, but Amalia Carosella is absolutely brilliant at crafting god, demigod and mythological characters with genuine human emotion and qualities that make me not only love them, but identify with them. Pirithous, Theseus and Antiope are all names I'd read before, but until reading Amalia's other works (HELEN OF SPARTA and BY HELEN'S HAND) I never connected with them as people. The genius of Amalia's stories has always been her incredibly REAL characters, and the fact that she can do this with myth and gods, and do it so well, is a tribute to her talent. I'm in awe of her storytelling and I can only hope that she decides to write a story for Antiope, because I'm not ready to let this world go!
Profile Image for Phyllis Carroll.
41 reviews1 follower
March 21, 2017
Damn the Gods

WOW!! This book rocked me. I literally could not stop reading it, I was so consumed with what is she going to do next?

And trying to appease the gods.....oh my!
Profile Image for Brekke.
54 reviews2 followers
October 4, 2016
Tamer of Horses is a *beautiful* book. I read Helen of Sparta & By Helen's Hand just before reading this one to get a feel for the Bronze Age stories that Amalia Carosella has written previously, & both books were hauntingly well done yet neither of them prepared me for the utter beauty of Tamer.

Prior to reading, I was not familiar with Hyppodamia’s tale, so I wasn't certain what to expect. I knew at least a bit about Pirithous from Helen’s tale, and I was excited to see him in his own story. The combination of the two characters was amazing. Mia is a fabulously strong willed character which is exactly the type of woman that Pirithous needs. She's also incredibly tender & her ability with horses rivals Pirithous’ own which I think adds to the strength (and some of the initial conflict) between the two characters. Carosella’s character building is magical, opening up depth between the two main characters that can be lost in this type of tale. Theseus and his wife add to the depth of character building making the tale rich in its portrayal of people.

The real beauty lies in the descriptions. Carosella rarely skimps on powerful descriptions but in Tamer, she takes it to a different level. From capturing the dual nature of the centaurs with beauty, power, and grace to her descriptions of Pirithous’ herds of horses, there is a vivid life to the animalistic natures being described that blows me away. I'm not a huge horse fan. I love seeing them from afar but “afar” is key, so imagine my surprise when I found myself walking through Pirithous’ herd, feeling the twitches and shifting of the animals as the two horse talkers walk through them, enjoying myself greatly. That takes the touch of a true master and I'd give the book five stars for that alone.

When you factor in character development and the rest of the narrative, the five stars are more than earned. As in most Bronze Age tales, tragedy comes with the territory. In Tamer, Carosella handles the tragedy of the story with the same depth and beauty of the rest of the narrative. There were moments when I felt my heart was breaking right along with a character’s as it played out in the tale, yet it was still achingly well written instead of just being sorrowful. There were also moments where I felt as frighteningly fierce as a character did which, to me, signifies just how amazing Carosella is at weaving a tale.

I highly recommend Tamer of Horses. It's become one of my favorite books of Amalia’s, and that's high praise coming from me given how much I adore her writing. This book is amazingly beautiful, chillingly haunting, and full of excitement in between.

(I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review and I'm so happy I did.)
Profile Image for Kylie.
30 reviews
April 7, 2017
Once again, I love Amalia Carosella's work. Every work is like a character study of these Greek demigods and myths that are such a mystery to us. She explores their relationships and motives, how they would have lived if they were real, but also keeps the mystical elements of Greek Mythology that we love so much (ahem.. Centaurs!!). There are a lot more scenes that are NSFW in this novel, compared to the previous Helen books, but they are tasteful and are essential to the plot, Pirithous is indeed a son of ZEUS (the biggest player in Olympus). So overall, another great work from Amalia Carosella.
Profile Image for The Captain.
1,054 reviews349 followers
October 3, 2016
Ahoy there me mateys! I received this fantasy eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .

When I was a wee lass, I kinda had a small obsession with ponies. And unicorns. And pegasuses. I read everything I could get me mitts on that involved these creatures. If the ponies talked, even better. Now mind ye, this be in the days before the sea stole me heart and I learned I be allergic to horses. Sad sad day ’twas – the horse part that is.

So even now I still have a soft spot for horse-related books. For example me Goodreads shelf has a whole section related to horse books – 88 of them at the moment though I am positive I missed some.

So when I saw the cover, I was compelled to take a look. When I found out it was a fantasy retelling set in Greece about Hippodamia, who was raised by Centaurs I had to read it. Hearing the other main character, Pirithous, described as a pirate cemented that thought.

This is the story of Hippodamia’s relationship with Pirithous, the King of the Lapiths, and is based off of the “best-known legend with which the Lapiths are connected . . . their battle with the Centaurs at the wedding feast of Pirithous, the Centauromachy.”

This book slowly grew on me with the telling. Now the beginning of the book is all about the sexual angst of Hippodamia and Pirithous getting to know each other. They were promised to marry to keep the peace between the Centaurs and the Lapiths. They have a waiting period before marriage and it is full of drama between his pride and her innocence told through sex. I have to admit that the back and forth was a little cliche for me. But I kept readin’ because the character of Hippodamia intrigued me.

Also this story has fabulous side characters in Theseus (yes that one) and Antiope, the Amazon Queen. They of course are married and have a wonderful relationship. Antiope is a strong and powerful figure and clever. Both prove to be good friends.

So once the wedding day arrives, the book becomes awesome, and I loved it from that moment forward. I am glad I stuck through the first part. I won’t get into how all that resolves because it’s the author’s particular take on the myth and the details she used that made me happy.

That and the references to horses everywhere of course. They play fantastic roles in this novel as well. So if you like Greek myths, horses, strong women, and don’t mind readin’ about sex, give this book a shot.

So lastly . . .

Thank you Thorskona Books!

If ye liked this review check out me others at https://thecaptainsquartersblog.wordp...
Profile Image for Rebecca.
2,204 reviews32 followers
September 26, 2016
As always, I love the way Amalia weaves together mythology, fantasy, and romance to create an engaging and entertaining narrative.

I really enjoyed Hippodamia's character. I loved her feistiness and strength. Pirithous was fascinating as well. I found it so interesting the way Amalia took these two very minor characters in Greek mythology and fleshed out the story into such a fully developed world. I definitely want to go read the Helen books now!

There were a few too many bedroom scenes for my particular taste, but I understood their purpose in the narrative. I also found the miscommunication and misunderstandings between Hippodamia and Pirithous to get a little wearing in the middle, but the fact that each one was different made that pass pretty quickly. I did appreciate the way that they grew and worked through the challenges, overcoming their misunderstandings more quickly each time.

Overall this was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I look forward to her take on Theseus and Antiope!

*I received a free advanced copy from the author for a fair and honest review
Profile Image for Wendy Sparrow.
Author 33 books269 followers
October 3, 2016
This book was equal to the rich tapestry of researched history and mythology interwoven with imaginative fantasy that I've come to expect of this author's writing. The characterization is nothing short of brilliant. With a full cast of players, you can sense a distinct backstory to each whether or not it's provided...and when it is mentioned, it's so amazingly seamless.

I loved that the whole story used more common mythology as a backdrop. Pirithous being a son of Zeus established certain qualities for even more shallow dippers into the lore like me. While reading the Helen books wasn't necessary, it gave you more appreciation for the characters in this book. This definitely worked as a standalone. I really loved Hippodamia's character because she was both flawed and relatable, despite the circumstances being obviously more dramatic and fantastic. (For example, my wedding resulted in very little bloodshed, let alone a major battle that would force Hippodamia to become a true queen.)

I've given this four stars, though...unlike my review of previous works because, honestly, I liked them better for a reason that there's no doubt in my mind will draw others to this book. Tamer of Horses was a highly sensual book. Lust and sexuality were major, vivid components to the narrative. If you're extremely conservative, this book might challenge that. On the other hand, it fit with both historical and mythical reading which made me hesitate in deducting a star. The openness of sexuality fits with the era and with myths. Entirely. Full stop. However, this is my rating and review and I prefer books with more lead-up to physical relationships. This was a very condensed courtship with sexual exploration of their relationship taking precedence. It was, by no means, graphic and it fit with the language of the rest of the book. There was no incongruity in language or behavior. I just prefer the relationships in the other books by this author.

Excellent writing, though. I can't state that enough. You're immersed in the world and the characters. It feels so real. Amalia writes the IMAX experience of novels. You're surrounded and a captive audience until you're done. Lovers of Greek Mythology will devour this book. Once you've read your kids Percy Jackson, put them to bed and curl up with this author's books yourself.
Profile Image for Emily.
81 reviews1 follower
September 30, 2016
Firstly, a confession.

In the time it took me to read this novel once, I must have actually read it 4 or 5 times. I found myself rereading each page, ostensibly to check that I hadn’t missed anything, but mostly because each page I finished meant I was that much closer to finishing the book, and I didn’t want it to be over so soon. I went back and reread entire chapters at times, because they were just that brilliant.

I’m going to try and keep this spoiler free. ;)

Hippodamia (Mia, if I’m allowed to call her so familiarly), is exactly the kind of heroine I relish reading. She’s innocent in so many ways, yet so stubborn and headstrong. She does things because she wants to do them, and because they’re right and good, not just because they’re expected of her, which is a brilliant trait in a princess (not to mention a queen).

(Here I must admit that I reread the chapter before the epilogue about 6 times and then had to take a break, because I didn’t want the epilogue to happen. Still, when I brought myself to read it, finally, it was perfect.)

Her relationship with Pirithous is… well, I don’t really have the words. It feels far too realistic for fiction. The way they pull and push at each-other, not willing to give up ground, and yet still both working for the good of the other, as well as the good of the peace between their two people – it made me cry more than once. Even though I knew how the myth goes, I found myself begging that it wouldn’t all go the way I knew it would.

Pirithous himself… Wow, well, Amalia is magnificent at writing gods and sons-of-gods you will fall in love with. If you’ve read any of her other works, you’ll be well aware of this. Even if you want to punch him sometimes for being a bit bull-headed (appropriate for the son of Zeus), you won’t be able to resist his charms for long.

I haven’t even mentioned the other characters yet, but I have to put in a very good word for Theseus and Antiope. I know how much Amalia loves Theseus, and she is beyond excellent at writing him, and Antiope is the perfect best friend and role model for Mia. Is it too much to ask that we might get more of them in the future? Please??

All in all, an absolutely PERFECT take on a not-so-well-known myth. Definitely up to her usual spectacular standards.
Profile Image for Naomi Ruth.
1,508 reviews45 followers
September 21, 2016
I was offered an advanced reader copy of this book by the author and I opened up the file to just read the first paragraph... eleven chapters later I realized I really needed to take a break and get back to work! This book really sucked me in and did not want to let go. I loved the drama between Hippodamia and Pirithous and how their personalities either meshed or clashed. I loved Antiope and Theseus. I loved the Greek history that just oozed out of it. It cleverly worked with elements of Bronze Age mythology and history and gave a story filled with the perfect balance of both romance and conflict. I quite enjoyed this book. I have been having a hard time staying focused and being able to finish a book in a short time, but this one definitely did it for me, and it was extremely satisfying. Hooray! I definitely recommend keeping an eye out for this when it comes out in October.
Profile Image for Dan.
15 reviews1 follower
October 12, 2016
I love the interpretations of Pirithous and Hippodamia. The story is far more detailed than the remaining myths, and I feel that this story fills in the holes beautifully.
Profile Image for Leah.
12 reviews2 followers
January 14, 2017

A wonderful book, I laughed, I cried, it truly moved me. A beautiful story about love. I read the whole book in one day!
Profile Image for Iza.
1,104 reviews5 followers
March 7, 2019
I was expecting an adult fantasy novel and that's what I got. Greek mythology, creatures from the legends and stories we have all heard of.

Hippodamia had been raised by the centaurs - half man, half horse - and her fate had been determined: she had to marry Pirithous, son of Zeus and king of the Lapiths. The two have never met before, and Pirithous had quite the reputation, so Hippodamia wasn't all that thrilled about this marriage, however she had considered it her duty to her people, and she was doing it for peace between the centaurs and the Lapiths.

From enemies to lovers, these two were quite the Greek drama. But I liked it, I did. My heart broke for Mia, many times, then for Pirithous, as well. He did a 180 - yay! - and of course the two ended up falling in love with each other.

Battles are fought and, in true Greek tragedy style, lives are lost. The author has the type of writing style, voice that pulls you in. I was up late reading this book, when I started it, but then slowed down because drama was happening.

However, it didn't take away from the quality of the story and I am looking forward to reading other books by this author. I might even reread it, at one point. 4 stars, read through KU.

*Note: I didn't read the epilogue, knowing what would happen. I don't regret it.*
Profile Image for Mommaleena.
677 reviews13 followers
November 7, 2017
Tamer of Horses by Amalia Carosella
• Sacrifice
This story was told with dual views which made it nice knowing what the other person was thinking and doing. Hippodamia and Pirithous, as well as their people sacrifice immensely throughout this book, but it still ends as a HEA. It has Greek Mythology, battles, as well as a tastefully written sexy romance. I wasn't sure what the story was about in the beginning, but once I figured it out I couldn't stop reading. I'll admit I needed a few tissues but it was worth it! This is my first Amalia Carosella book, but I look forward to seeing what else she has. ARC received from Netgalley for an honest voluntary review.
Profile Image for Acquafortis.
151 reviews28 followers
September 22, 2017
I stayed you late several times to read this book in bed...so I think that says it all.
Loved the flashback to an earlier timeline that this book refers to. (As regards previous books by Amalia Carosella).
Profile Image for Rick Cook.
Author 5 books2 followers
May 17, 2017
I started this book thinking it was just going to be okay and ended up liking it a lot! It explores the relationship of two mythic Greek characters, Pirithous and Hippodamia, neither of whom have much in the way of verifiable accounts of their lives. The constant push and pull of the two is fascinating and charming, just as much as it is frustrating and realistic. Both are flawed and are bringing their personal hangups and expectations into an arranged marriage, and it's a treat watching them slowly go from a delicate duel to an intimate dance, learning how to be the leaders they need to be while also being worthy of the love and respect they want.

Pirithous, in particular, draws a sharp contrast with Hippodamia in almost all aspects of their personalities. While she is naive and hopeful, alternating between crushing despair and happiness, Pirithous is vain and untested. They both make mistakes, but Pirithous is slow to recognize them and learn from them. He does, in the end, which is refreshing on its own merits.

Pirithous and Hippodamia are a lot of fun to read. If you want Bronze Age aesthetic with a little adventure and romance, you can't really go wrong here.
Profile Image for Diane.
152 reviews29 followers
April 6, 2021
Really well written book!

Beautiful prose tells the lush setting very well. Great character development and the development of the love story is well done as well. (It’s a bit smutty in the middle, but I suppose it’s accurate- the ancient Greeks were pretty obsessed with sex, hah). Written and edited very well.

Really great romantic tale of Pirithous and Hippodamia. Great tragic retelling of the Centauromachy mythical story.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,392 reviews4 followers
October 26, 2016
Good story. I love the play on Greek Mythology . The characters were great and story well written. I also love the cover.

*** Received a copy of book from NetGally.com and Thorskona Books****
1,832 reviews13 followers
April 5, 2018
Well-written, great setting, great mood throughout the book - but the plotting was so slow and kind of repetitive, especially at the beginning, that I couldn't give it five stars. The first seven or so days of Pirithous' and Mia's acquaintance/courtship goes on forever, it feels like, and Mia keeps zig-zagging back and forth between falling for him and becoming convinced that he has somehow "dishonored" her or "questioned her honor" - over and over and over again. I'm glad I kept pushing through, because I really enjoyed the book as a whole; it felt very epic and really captured the feel of ancient Greece (albeit, you know, with actual centaurs). That said, there was another tone problem with the book -
Profile Image for B. Jean.
1,091 reviews15 followers
May 17, 2017
About 10% I was interested, and by 30% I was bored. The first 30% is talk of their upcoming wedding and how they can barely keep themselves contained. It takes about 50% in for ANY action to happen whatsoever, and that action is poorly done. Within seconds people are dead and an entire party destroyed. The timing was so off, it didn't make any sense. Not to mention leading up to that were 5 billion petty little squabbles that were awkwardly resolved within 5 pages.

80% and on was the only redeeming part of the book, but even that was not enough to give it more than one star. I feel like this was recommended through a tumblr post or because I'd read The Last of the Wine, but I sorely regret this.

Read only if you want flat characters and bad romance.
15 reviews
March 16, 2019
Mainly read because it was a Kindle Unlimited selection with Amazon. I had read the author's two books on Helen of Troy which were a fairly enjoyable read. This had too much romance for my tastes. I am not a prude. I just do not find bodice rippers & other such romantic books very interesting. I prefer more historical or educational content.
Profile Image for Anneke Rondonuwu.
213 reviews12 followers
March 21, 2021
DNF at 45%

at first I was surprised to find that this book is leaning towards erotic, rather than the greek mythology fantasy that i was hoping for.. not that i dislike some sizzles in romance. but this is not what i've expected. and eve so, I keep on going.

but, I just can't

the plot is weak and so messy.

it's frustrating me.
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