Sunday, April 11, 2021

Review: Dark Horses by Susan Mihalic (audio)

 

Title: Dark Horses
Author: Susan Mihalic
Narrator: Alex Allwine
Published: February 2021, Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: 10 hours 26 minutes
Source: Publisher

Summary:
A darkly gripping debut novel about a teenage girl’s fierce struggle to reclaim her life from her abusive father.

Fifteen-year-old equestrian prodigy Roan Montgomery has only ever known two worlds: inside the riding arena, and outside of it. Both, for as long as she can remember, have been ruled by her father, who demands strict obedience in all areas of her life. The warped power dynamic of coach and rider extends far beyond the stables, and Roan's relationship with her father has long been inappropriate. She has been able to compartmentalize that dark aspect of her life, ruthlessly focusing on her ambitions as a rider heading for the Olympics, just as her father had done. However, her developing relationship with Will Howard, a boy her own age, broadens the scope of her vision.

At the intersection of a commercial page-turner and urgent survivor story, Dark Horses takes the searing themes of abuse and resilience in Gabriel Tallent’s My Absolute Darling and applies the compelling exploration of female strength in Room by Emma Donoghue. In much the same way that V.C. Andrews’s Flowers in the Attic transfixed a generation of readers, Susan Mihalic’s debut is set to a steady beat that will keep you turning the pages.


 

My thoughts:  This debut novel is both heartbreaking and gripping and one that is not for the faint of heart. While I am not usually one to indicate trigger warnings in my review, I think this book absolutely warrants it and I am going to put it right here so that you can make an informed decision as to whether this book is for you.

* This book includes sensitive and serious topics involving abuse and rape among family members.

This coming of age story completely grabbed me from the start and never let up. I found myself gripped by all that was going on and unable to walk away from it. I listened to the audio version of this story and just had to keep listening, unable to put it down until I had completed the story. This book evoked such a wide range of emotions in me, as I followed Roan's journey as she learned to take back her life after all that she endured.

I loved just how complex and complicated the characters are in this story, and if you can stomach all the darkness that makes up this book, you will see what a strong, remarkable character Roan is. This story is haunting and chilling, yet it is one that is so powerful and thought-provoking at the same time. It easily draws you in and you find yourself unable to think of anything else while reading and even long after you finish, you will be thinking about this one.

This book is one I know I won't be forgetting. I definitely recommend it, but be warned, it's not an easy story to read.


Audio thoughts: This audio was simply captivating. Not an easy story to narrate, I think Alex Allwine did a fantastic job narrating it. Her pacing and intonation were spot on and she infused just the right amount of tension and emotion into her voice as needed. She really did bring this book to life. 


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1 comment

  1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful review. I, too, love Alex's narration.

    ReplyDelete

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