The Guardian Herd: Starfire, by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez – Fred Patten’s book review.

by Patch O'Furr

Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer, submits this review:

The Guardian Herd: Starfire, by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez. Illustrated by David McClellan; map.
NYC, HarperCollinsPublishers/Harper, September 2014, hardcover $16.99 (245 [+ 4] pages), Kindle $

This is blurbed as, “The first book in a gripping new tween fantasy series about winged horses—perfect for fans of the Warriors, Survivors, and Guardians of Ga’Hoole series.” It reminds me more of older fantasies about magical horses, not officially but pretty obviously intended for horse-obsessed adolescent girls: The June 1988 The Heavenly Horse from the Outermost West by Mary Stanton, and its May 1989 sequel, Piper at the Gate; or Meredith Ann Pierce’s Firebringer trilogy (Birth of the Firebringer, November 1985; Dark Moon, May 1992; The Son of Summer Stars, May 1996; and the collection The Firebringer Trilogy, June 2003). Now there is Jennifer Lynn Alvarez’s The Guardian Herd series. is already advertising the second book in the series, The Guardian Herd: Stormbound, to be published in April 2015.

The Guardian Herd: Starfire’s first obvious similarity is in having a large equine cast; in this case, of pegasi rather than unicorns or regular horses (called land horses here). The dramatis personae (this is too serious for just cast) lists 32 winged horses divided into five herds, led off by the newborn Starfire of the Sun Herd. This does not include Stormbound, the protagonist of the second book. There are over-stallions, lead mares, captains, medicine mares (a herd’s doctor), mated mares, single or widowed mares, yearlings, and foals; each individually named and described. If Alvarez intends to write a novel about each, she could go on forever.

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