Review at www.FeatheredQuill.com:
Stormwind of the North Country
By: Jodi Auborn
Publication Date: April 2009
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: August 25, 2010
Katherine Normith, or Kat to her friends, is one very determined fourteen-year-old. She knows what she wants, and even if the adults around her tell her it’s impossible, young Kat will find a way to make it happen. That’s just what she did to save a beloved horse, Stormwind.
Kat had been taking riding lessons at a farm down the road from her house for several years. She hated the farm, and the farm’s owner, Lorraine Stillwater, a cruel woman who abuses her horses. But if Kat didn’t come and take care of the horses (mucks stalls, brush the horses, etc.), who would? There are several neglected horses on the property, including Kat’s favorite, a pretty Arabian mare named Stormwind that only she can ride.
As the story opens, Kat is headed to Stillwater’s place to buy Stormwind. But the spiteful woman refuses to sell the mare, instead telling Kat that Stormwind is headed to the slaughterhouse. In desperation, Kat sneaks out at night and steals the horse.
When Kat’s father, Luke, finds out what his daughter has done, he’s quite upset. To make matters worse, he never gave Kat permission to buy the horse. When she had asked, he was deep in thought concentrating on his new long distance girlfriend and had mumbled a reply without realizing what his daughter was asking. Kat is forced to return Stormwind to Stillwater’s farm.
In a startling turn of events, Kat soon finds herself the owner of her beloved horse. Life should be good but then Luke’s new girlfriend, Lavina, arrives. A city woman who is very out of place in the country, Lavina has ulterior motives, which Kat soon discovers. She tries to talk to her father, but Luke is too in love to listen to his daughter. In protest, Kat runs away, taking Stormwind and her dog Hesperus for protection.
Kat heads into the deep woods of the Adirondack Mountains. Along with many thrilling, and frightening adventures, she meets a mysterious boy, Randy. Realizing they truly need each other to survive what nature, and man, throws at them, they soon become friends.
Stormwind of the North Country is an endearing story about a teen who is struggling to find herself and her place in the world. There is plenty of horse action in the first half of the story but it slowly takes a back seat to the relationship between Kat and Randy, as well as Kat, her dad, and Lavina. If you’re looking for a book that is all “horse,” this may not be the right book. But if you want a story where the protagonist is a very strong, self-assured female, take a look at this tale. Teens will likely relate to Kat and the story should draw them in to learn how Kat solves her problems.
The author has obviously spent time in the beautiful Adirondack’s as her descriptions of the scenery are spot on. You can hear the birds chirping and bugs buzzing in the background as Kat and Randy walk through a meadow. I did find some of the events strained believability (Stillwater reads a book while her stallion struggles to free himself from barbed wire, Kat takes Stormwind for a 4 hour trail ride shortly after the mare foals). There are also some scenes that might be tough for more sensitive readers, such as the death of a horse, and the revelation of the pain that Randy has endured. However, I suspect most teens won’t mind. They’ll be hoping Kat saves the horses, saves the farm, and helps Randy return to a “normal” life.
Quill says: A girl, a beautiful horse, and a journey in the woods, will draw many teens to this adventure.
Review of "Stormwind" at www.TeensReadToo.com
STORMWIND OF THE NORTH COUNTRY by Jodi Auborn
Age Recommendation: Grades 6+
Release Date: 4/13/09
Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
Rating: 4 Stars
Fourteen-year-old Kat is used to her independence. She and her younger brother have been raised by their father. She thinks of her mother, who died when Kat was only five, as a sort of guardian angel.
Kat has always loved horses. Since they can’t afford to have one living in their own barn, she spends time at a stables owned by Lorraine Stillwater. Stillwater doesn’t take care of her horses at all. In fact, the animals live in filth and are abused on a regular basis. When the story begins, Kat is headed to Stillwater’s stable to purchase a white horse named Stormwind. Much to her horror and disappointment, the nasty stable owner tells her $200 is no longer the price. Instead she wants $1,000 or she will be selling the horse to a slaughterhouse.
Kat is furious. She has witnessed the terrible treatment and horrible living conditions for the last time. She steals Stormwind and attempts to hide him on their property. When her father discovers the theft, he demands that she return the horse and won’t listen to Kat’s stories about neglect and abuse.
Just a few days later, Kat is passing Stillwater’s property and hears a commotion. What she sees fires her up all over again. Stillwater is beating the horse in her attempt to get it into the transport trailer headed to the slaughterhouse. Once again, Kat steps forward and takes the horse. With the helpful distraction of the driver from the slaughterhouse, she rides away on Stormwind. This time when her father sees the evidence of the beating, he agrees that the horse should stay with them.
In the meantime, Kat and her brother are shocked to find out that their young father has decided to invite a woman to their home for the summer. He met Lavina at one of the performances of his music group, and evidently he has fallen in love. Lavina is not a country girl, and she doesn’t seem interested in fitting in at all. In fact, when Kat and her brother take the opportunity to snoop through her belongings, they believe she might actually be a real estate agent intent on getting their father to sell her his property.
The real action begins when Kat comes up with a plan. She tells her brother that she plans to run away and follow an old abandoned route from their home into Canada. The idea is that when her father discovers she is missing, he will become involved in looking for her and Lavina will leave.
Kat’s journey into the wilderness riding on a pregnant Stormwind takes her into one crisis situation after another. In addition to crossing rapids, dealing with scavenging raccoons, and creating a shelter to weather storms, Kat meets Randy, another teen looking for answers in the deep woods.
STORMWIND OF THE NORTH COUNTRY is unique in that author Jodi Auborn uses a female protagonist in the role of wilderness survivor. Readers looking for a girl action figure will be satisfied with this read, despite the sometimes unpredictable prose.