This is a lovely little gem of a book in the category of young adult fantasy. It's a little bit like a really really short version of Lord of the Rings: epic journey far beyond known realms, creatures known only from legends, the magic and power of one young person with the courage of someone three times his/her age. But I suppose expecting originality in young adult fantasy is somewhat of a pipe dream.
Either way, the book is really quite well written. A bit on the simplistic side, it still flows well and moves forward with its own rhythm. And despite what I said about the lack of originality in the plot, there are aspects that are incredibly unique. Most of these are clustered at the end of the book, and it would be a shame to reveal them, but the part about dreams and the talking bird blew me away. That one section had enough beauty in it to make up for whatever the rest of the book lacked.
Certainly, this would be a good book for any person who loves horses, as it does have an extremely romantic view of that animal. Not knowing a thing about horses doesn't take much away from it, though, which is good, and a difficult effect to achieve. Particularly considering that this was a first attempt at fiction by a science writer, I would have to say I was quite pleasantly surprised, and would recommend the book.