Jun 25, 2008

Related: The Phantom Stallion, The Wild One

Monique sort of challenged me to read the entirety of the Phantom Stallion Series a while back, and I started to and will admit that I'm struggling mainly because I'm trying to read about four books at a time (in general, two of which don't even involve horses so look at me branching out!) and that is difficult, not to mention entirely unreasonable and probably a little obsessive of me. Anyway, here's the first book in Terri Farley's series:

To be blunt, the cover doesn't do a lot for me. The horse isn't a beauty, and I can't help staring at its nose because it's just so...like a cartoon? I can't pinpoint it exactly.

This horse is wild at heart

It's been two years since Blackie, the horse Sam raised from a foal, threw her in a near-fatal accident. She's been separated from her family, her ranch and the wild mustangs she loves. Now she's home again, but her beloved Blackie has been missing since the day Sam was injured.

Then, on the night she returns, a mustang comes to Sam. Is it Blackie, grown up and gone wild? Is it the legendary stallion known as the Phantom? Or could it be both?

1. Phantom:

So this wild horse has three names, although it never gets confusing. He's "the Phantom" to mostly everyone as a wild legend, Blackie to the people at River Bend, and Zanzibar to Sam. Having more than one name would then mean he's extra special, sort of like how The Black was also Shetan, and so forth. Phantom/Blackie/Zanzibar is extra extra special, seeing how he has three names.

The story behind this guy is he was Sam's horse previously before an accident caused his escape from River Bend, where I assume he was born. Two years later he's a four-year-old stallion and apparently fantastic enough to have foals and a herd of his own already. Then comes Linc Slocum, who, despite being annoyed by wild horses in general, wants Phantom/Blackie/Zanzibar. There's a lot of general grumbling about this as he tries several different routes toward snatching the horse, none of which work. Phantom/Blackie/Zanzibar ends the book free to rear and play to his wild delight, thanks to Sam.

2. Jake & Sam:

Sam is thirteen and spunky. Jake is sixteen and part Shoshone. Slap another ten years on these kids and we would have a completely different story. Even Sam's grandmother thinks something's up, so apparently she too can see the romance covers featuring heaving bosoms and windblown hair in the future for them. Thankfully we will never see this.


  • You know, I'm pretty puzzled over why Sam is wearing a black t-shirt, black jeans and black sneakers too and I live in a "poor man's San Francisco." So, yeah, I'm pretty confused. Unless she's wearing heels and a dress I'm at a loss as to how her outfit is the height of city fashion just because it's black.
  • I am so utterly befuddled whenever Wyatt is mentioned simply as "Dad." Not "her dad" or "her father," just "Dad" as if I'm expected to be right there in Sam's head and should know him as my own father also. Sort of like how everyone refers to God. I've never seen this before. It kind of annoys me.
  • Astonishing! Ace actually doesn't come rushing over to Sam because he's, like, amazing and special and loves her for no reason. Clearly I've been reading the Thoroughbred Series too much.
  • It isn't at first apparent why Sam, Wyatt, and Jake go to the Willow Springs BLM place other than to criticize it and be nasty toward one of the BLM employees. After they leave we discover they were only there in the first place to show it to Sam, so why they couldn't have said that before is anyone's guess.
  • I'm pretty sure I've never seen a Quarter Horse with a head like an Arabian, nor have I seen a mustang with the features of an Arabian.
  • I was going along just fine with this fall/escaped horse turned feral before the backstory is revealed on the ride. The horse is two, Sam is ten or eleven, and she's riding it bareback off the ranch property with a torn up nightgown serving as the bridle. Yeah, nothing could have gone wrong there at all.
Overall, this book had a Flicka feel to it. I must say, I'm used to the general craziness and sugarcoated goop of the Thoroughbred Series, and despite some randomly placed comparisons to unicorns, princesses, moonlight and silver dust this has been a good change. Sam isn't annoying, despite how many wrong turns she takes, and the lines everyone has are snappy and realistic and sound like people are actually conversing with each other. However, I am a little thrown by the insistence of pitting an adult against a thirteen-year-old girl. This doesn't even work well in the Thoroughbred Series, but here it works even less given how Linc Slocum is so annoying and stereotypical in general. I mean, if I can't lust after him like I can Brad Townsend there is seriously nothing there to entertain me.

(Edited and reposted from Lost Canyon, a now deleted blog.)


Anonymous said...

you know, i tried to get through this book, but i just couldn't do it. maybe by the time these came along, i was just too old to suspend belief for a series that i hadn't read as a child.

as far as the "Dad" thing, they did the exact same thing in "The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks" books. the boys' parents were solely referred to as Mom and Dad and nothing else. it got rather awkward at times, especially when they could never refer to their spouse by name.

Lei said...

I always thought of Ole Linc as looking something like a seedy version of Billy Bob Thorton or something.

I liked the series in some ways -- hated it in others. I did admire Teri for doing things in the books (cliche though they might have been) that other children's authors seem to avoid touching... but ... those are later reviews, I think.

Plenty of books in the series, though I haven't gotten around to reading the series she wrote about the Hawai'i ponies.

Yasmine said...
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