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3 stars

I found this book very difficult to get into. It’s quite short and so it shouldn’t have taken as long to read as it did, but it was difficult to motivate myself to carry on as dull scenario after dull scenario was related for well over a hundred pages.

I think the biggest problem is that Joey is quite a dry, static character. Obviously he’s a horse, so it would be difficult to characterise him without anthropomorphising him too much, but perhaps first person horse narration just isn’t that good an idea. Because Joey was just relating what was happening around him for the most part, it read to me like an unexciting list of events.

However, about fifty pages from the end, it suddenly got very good. I actually cried and I found myself desperately willing it to have a happy ending. If more of the book had been this way, or had at least been more interesting, then I would have given a much higher rating. As it is, however, I think it might have fared better either as a short story or if the existing material for most of the beginning had been given more depth, or perhaps if we were given more insight into the character of Joey himself. In the end it was worth it for the last segment, which I raced through, but I definitely found it hard work to get there.

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