Friday, 12 September 2014

On a Wing and a Dare by Linda Ulleseit

On a Wing and a Dare (Flying Horse Books, #1)Title: On a Wing and A Dare
Author: Linda Ulleseit         
Series: Flying Horse #1
Genre: Children’s fiction, magical, medieval esque
Source: ARC 
Pages: 232 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Available at:

Blurb: (via Goodreads)
In Tremeirchson, a barn leader’s children are expected to follow their parents into the sky, becoming riders of the magnificent winged horses that are the medieval Welsh village’s legacy. Neither Emma nor Davyd, however, want to follow that tradition.

Sixteen-year-old Emma risks losing her family by following her heart. Eager to take her place in the air, she longs to ride a forbidden winged colt born in barn of her father’s biggest rival. She also dreams of the rival’s sons, not sure which she truly loves. Bold and exciting, Evan will someday lead his father’s barn. Davyd is quieter, more dependable, with an ability to get things done. Her father disapproves of both boys and pushes her toward an ambitious newcomer. He also insists she ride the colt he’s picked for her.

Davyd, also sixteen, is plagued with a secret—he is afraid of heights. Refusing to become a rider means public humiliation, his parents’ disappointment, and lifelong ridicule from his brother, Evan. He reluctantly prepares to join his family aloft in the Aerial Games that provide the entire village with its livelihood and tries desperately to think of an alternative.

As Tremeirchson’s barns prepare for the Rider Ceremony, winged horses suddenly start dying. Shocked, the adults hesitate, mired in tradition and politics. Is it a disease or poison? Accidental or purposeful? Someone must discover the answer and act before all the winged horses in the world are gone forever

My Review:

Welcome to this stop in the Book Tour! If you aren’t here for that, welcome to my blog and this review! I am going to get right into things here, so I hope you enjoy!

This was a different read for me. I don’t usually read novels that are directed toward a younger audience (with an exception for anything Rick Riordan) so reading On a Wing and a Dare was something new, but it had some pretty great reviews, so I gave it a shot.

I loved a lot about this novel. I liked the premise (who doesn’t love Flying Horses?!), and I loved the novels mystery around discovering why these horses are getting this illness and dying. The author did a great job with subtly giving the reader clues without slipping and showing all her cards. You grow with the characters as they go on an adventure to gain the knowledge they need to save their livelihoods. In addition, the world that is described is established quite well. The author explains foreign words and terms quite well and as a reader, I was never majorly confused at any point of the novel.

The Aerial Games was probably the most interesting aspect in my opinion. When I was reading up on this book before I read it, I read someone say that the Aerial Games reminded then a little bit of Quidditch, and I think that that is a great analogy. While yes, they are completely different games, the air aspect was similar, and it was nice to have something to keep in mind visually while imagining the games.

Of course, with every good novel comes a love story. It’s a tale as old as time, which brother do you pick? While I loved the theory of the love story behind Emma, Evan, and Davy, I wasn’t in love with the execution. I believe that Linda Ulleseit did a pretty good job with laying it out and creating friction and conflict, I just found the choice of who would win Emma’s affections a little too obvious at the beginning, so I felt that the struggles surrounding the conflict a little futile.

I only really had one major issue with this novel, and that was the language used in combination with the world described. In my mind, the world was described in a medieval-esque fashion. By that, I mean that modern inventions like electricity, guns, cars, etc. haven’t been invented and aren’t used.  However, extremely modern language was used. Despite the medievalness of the novel, the language used in writing it was extremely modern. I assume that the less mature and more modern language was used in attempts to relate better with younger readers, however, I personally found it extremely distracting. It was probably the one major thing that I found truly took away from the novel, but I did give the author a little slack seeing as this was her first novel (I believe), and that it was directed at a younger audience.

Overall, this was a quick, fun, and interesting read. I would definitely recommend it for my younger friends and readers because it does have quite the unique premise involved. Flying horses is definitely a niche that Linda Ulleseit discovered and she found a way to fill it in nicely. Also, did anyone else catch that Well-done Ms. Ulleseit!

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