Halo by Zizou Corder (February 2011, Puffin, ISBN: 0141328300)
Notes: The following review is written by Amanda Gillies who reviews crime fiction on my Euro Crime website. You can read her crime reviews here and her YA reviews here.
Review: Halo is a truly heart-warming and magical tale. Set at the time when Sparta and Athena were at war but also when The Gods spoke to the faithful, and centaurs roamed the earth. It kept me totally captivated from cover to cover and I cried tears of joy at the end. Wonderful!
A small baby girl is washed up in her basket and rescued by a family of centaurs. They name her Halo and adopt her as one of their own. She leads a very happy, carefree life until one day she is captured by fishermen and dragged away to the world of men. Not being best pleased with what she finds, or the way she is treated - simply because she is a girl - Halo runs away and starts an adventure of her own to find her way back to her beloved centaurs, and also discover who her real parents were. Her journey finds her taken captive again by the Spartans, then by the Athenians but all is well as she eventually finds her uncle. Her big problem is that she has disguised herself as a boy in order to be treated fairly.
Happily settled, Halo maintains her disguise and learns archery human-style. She also starts to train to become a doctor, but war is coming and she must try to return to her centaurs to warn them of a mysterious new threat to their safety.
"Zizou Corder" is the pen name used by Louisa Young and her daughter Isabel Adomakoh Young. They have been writing together since Isabel was seven and this is their fifth book. Halo is well written and full of such delicious descriptions that you are there with Halo on her journeys and experience everything first-hand when she does. This book should appeal to anyone who loves to read fantasy and still believes in their dreams. Very highly recommended.