Emma Rose Ribbons's Reviews > Fly-by-Night

Fly-by-Night by K.M. Peyton
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it was amazing
bookshelves: horse-and-ponies

In a way I'm glad I read one of Peyton's books right at the start of my pony book discovery for she's by far the best author I've read in the genre and now I can focus on her back catalogue. Then again, it does set an impossible standard for all the authors I have yet to discover.

Fly-By-Night is special - in many pony books where the heroine starts pony-less, the journey is about winning a competition or earning a place at an equestrian school. Here, 90% of the book is about Ruth wanting to have a pony, going through the long, expensive and frustrating process of acquiring and taming one and having to deal with the consequences of having her dream fulfilled.
It's an incredible story because it's so much about the huge gap that can exist sometimes between wanting something so bad you'd rather die than be without and coping with not being especially good at it in the end but carrying on valiantly partly out of shame and partly out of loyalty to your old self. Rare are those books that take a look at this uneasy side of life and I was very impressed with Peyton's handling of that particular topic. One of the characters explores the opposite dynamic in that he's good at something he doesn't want to pursue, which is another interesting situation and really allows for good descriptions of the dichotomy between inclination and ability.

The background is that of relative poverty where worrying about money is a daily occurrence - the main consequence of that is an above-average resilient heroine and a realistic time frame during which tiny things can finally happen after loads of saving up and making do.

There's lots of excellent pony content and the characters are varied - the adults all have their own personality (I was even surprised by something happening to one of them, away from family clichés), the horses have different lives and adventures and their owners sometimes deserve them and sometimes not. I really liked this element of surprise in Peyton's book - she doesn't follow specific guidelines and it gives a very free, floating atmosphere to her books where good people sometimes end up in unfair situations while unkind characters get more than they deserve.

Very engrossing book and different from anything I've read in the genre - I thoroughly recommend it.
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Reading Progress

June 28, 2013 – Started Reading
June 28, 2013 – Shelved
June 29, 2013 – Finished Reading
December 30, 2017 – Shelved as: horse-and-ponies

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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Emma Rose Ribbons This is seriously good. I think this may become my favourite pony book - Peyton's style is incredibly realistic and detailed. She's a great writer.

Emily Yes to all of it! I only read this one recently, despite Flambards being one of my favorite books when I was growing up, and was agreeably surprised at how good it was. A pony story with depth -- that would make it that genre's equivalent to Antonia Forest, I guess. I assume you will read the sequels. They are good too, but make a disconcertingly dramatic shift away from ponies in The Beethoven Medal.

Emma Rose Ribbons I read somewhere that Peyton is actually a fan of Forest (who isn't?) so that explains the similarities :) I'll keep what you say in mind, I have a lot of books added to my list now, she's very prolific!

Emily I read somewhere that Peyton is actually a fan of Forest (who isn't?)

Interesting! I hadn't heard that.

Kerri This sums up everything I feel about this wonderful book! It has been a favourite since childhood but as an adult the realistic elements that set it apart from so many other 'pony-stories' are wonderful to notice and appreciate.

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