Books Review

The Black Stallion: A True Adventure Story

blackstallionThe Black Stallion, by Walter Farley, is where your typical pony story meets an action plot – and the results are thrilling. This is not merely a horse story for little horse-mad girls, as boys and girls have fallen in love The Black in equal numbers.

Set mostly in upstate New York, The Black Stallion details the story of a wild horse (The Black) and a young boy (Alec) who become unlikely partners. The Black is an unruly, black part-Arabian stallion brought in from the wild, who strikes fear in the heart of all men who cross his path. Alec is a young teenage boy with dreams that extend beyond his long days at school. They are brought together when a boat they are travelling on crashes, and the pair become sole survivors by swimming to the safety of a desert island. Over the course of time, the stallion learns to trust Alec and the pair begin to rely on each other in order to survive.

Eventually, the pair are rescued – and Alec takes The Black home to meet his parents. While it takes some time for the stallion to get used to town life, he settles in and becomes a much loved companion.

It doesn’t take long for Alec to realise that The Black is possessed with an exceptionally quick turn of hoof. Before long, he is in training, with the help of retired jockey, in order to take on two of America’s top racehorses – Cyclone and Sun Raider. What ensues is a nail biting race that truly tests not only The Black’s speed, but also his bravery and fighting spirit.

The story focusses on a number of themes, including the notion of the wild stallion as rogue and hero, the young boy as hero and also freedom vs. captivity. For horse lovers, the equine figure plays a leading role, while action lovers are sure to appreciate the thrilling storyline.

The Black Stallion is the first book in a series of many. With subsequent books including The Black Stallion Returns and Son of The Black Stallion, there is plenty of reading to keep fans of the first book satisfied for some time. In addition, both The Black Stallion and The Black Stallion Returns have been turned into exciting action films.

This novel is suitable for older children. It is not all that hard to read, although all books in the series are quite lengthy and some deal with distressing themes at times.