Reviews for Escape


Booklist Reviews 2014 February #1
In the opening volume of her new series Horses of the Dawn, Lasky (author of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole books) reimagines the history of the reintroduction of horses to North America by Spanish conquistadors through the eyes of the horses they brought with them. Estrella, a plucky foal unexpectedly born on board a Spanish ship bound for the New World, is strong, brave, and wise beyond her years. She, along with three others, survives being tossed overboard into shark-infested waters by swimming to the Yucatan Peninsula. Thus begins her quest to find the land of the sweet grass only she can smell. The new herd faces dangers from animals and men alike. Lasky's delicate writing strikes a balance between exciting adventure story and family saga, and it's sprinkled with real historical events such as the retreat of CortÚs from the Aztec capital Teotihuac├ín. Readers will root for Estrella and eagerly await the next installment in what is sure to be a popular series. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 December #2
Born in the hold of a Spanish galleon destined for the New World, the young filly Estrella knows nothing of the feel of the earth under her hooves or the joy of the pasture, but her mother's soft murmurings hint at a greater destiny for the young horse and her friends. Determined to lighten their load and save their quest for gold, the sailors dump the horses overboard. Perlina, Estrella's dam, exhorts them to swim for the nearby island, but a hungry shark has other plans for her filly. Perlina sacrifices herself for the herd, but her life is not her only gift. Before dying, she gives Estrella a vision of freedom. It falls to Estrella, the youngest of the surviving horses, to inspire the others to journey toward the promise of a life without masters where the sweet grass grows. As in works such as her Guardians of Ga'hoole series, Lasky uses animals to touch on very human issues. The herd must face the cost of freedom and the adversity that comes with the pursuit of one's dreams. Complex and distinctive characters offer a fresh view of familiar historical events. A promising start to a new series. (author's note, map) (Historical fantasy. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 December #3

Inspired by Hernando Cortes's 1519 reintroduction of horses to the New World for the first time in several thousand years, this inventive novel launches the Horses of the Dawn series. Lasky (the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series) tells the story through the perspective of Estrella, a filly determined to find her bloodline's ancient home in the New World. Born on a ship sailed by Spaniards on a gold-seeking mission to Mexico, Estrella, her dam (mother), and several other horses are thrown overboard to lighten the vessel. As her mother sinks after a shark attack, a flash in her eyes reveals to Estrella her destiny to follow the scent of sweet grass and the image of a tiny, sprinting horse to lead her herd to freedom. A resonant mystical undercurrent marks the quest, which involves occasionally bloody clashes with animal predators and unscrupulous humans. Lasky successfully fuses fantasy and fact as she gives her equine characters credible emotional depth and underscores the tensions and disparity between Old and New World sensibilities. It's a haunting story of loss, self-discovery, survival, and homecoming. Ages 8-12. (Jan.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

Inspired by Hernando Cortes's 1519 reintroduction of horses to the New World for the first time in several thousand years, this inventive novel launches the Horses of the Dawn series. Lasky (the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series) tells the story through the perspective of Estrella, a filly determined to find her bloodline's ancient home in the New World. Born on a ship sailed by Spaniards on a gold-seeking mission to Mexico, Estrella, her dam (mother), and several other horses are thrown overboard to lighten the vessel. As her mother sinks after a shark attack, a flash in her eyes reveals to Estrella her destiny to follow the scent of sweet grass and the image of a tiny, sprinting horse to lead her herd to freedom. A resonant mystical undercurrent marks the quest, which involves occasionally bloody clashes with animal predators and unscrupulous humans. Lasky successfully fuses fantasy and fact as she gives her equine characters credible emotional depth and underscores the tensions and disparity between Old and New World sensibilities. It's a haunting story of loss, self-discovery, survival, and homecoming. Ages 8-12. (Jan.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2014 February

Gr 4-6--Lasky begins this new series with an origin story about wild mustangs. The young filly Estrella, named for the star-shaped mark on her forehead, is born on a conquistador's ship heading for the New World. When the conquistadors decide to jettison the weaker and older horses, Estrella and her dam, Perlina, are dumped into the ocean with several other horses. Perlina dies in a shark attack, but Estrella and the other horses make it to land. Guided by Estrella's visions of faraway grasslands, the horses head north from Mexico toward the Western plains of what is now the United States. It is a long and hazardous journey through jungles where they encounter jaguars, crocodiles, and other predators. Their most dangerous encounters, however, are with human beings, as the horses become caught up in the clash between Spanish soldiers of fortune and the Native people. The author includes some gruesome but historically accurate details about what happened to these animals during the Spanish conquest. This story is fast paced and full of action, but there is also a mythic resonance in Estrella's visions of the horses' long ago prehistoric ancestor and their return to North America. Although the horses are anthropomorphized to a degree, Lasky creates a believable culture for them, based on actual equine behavior. Young equestrians and horse lovers are an obvious audience for this series, but fans of Lasky's previous books will also find much to enjoy.--Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ

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