My rating: ★★☆☆☆
In Targus the Night Horse, the fourth installment of the Beast Quest series, things remain strictly formula. Citizens are attacked by Beast → Tom and Elenna meet/help citizens → miscellaneous hardships are overcome →
rather simple epic battle against the Beast → Congratulations, it’s the end.
In this particular installment, Tom and Elenna spend seventy-six pages finding and battling the fourth Beast under Malvel’s spell, a centuar named Tagus… who is never once referred to as a centaur. Only a “night horse”.
Seriously, it’s kind of weird. I thought it was odd in the previous book that the Cyclops was referred to only as a “Mountain Giant”, but now I’m starting to think it’s a trend. From what I can tell from the covers of the later installments, the children are going to battle a yeti referred to as an “ice beast”, a phoenix only referred to as a “winged flame”, and a naga referred to as a “snake man”.
…and I will admit I don’t quite get it. Why are dragon, sea serpent, minotaur, and gorgon acceptable, while Cyclops, centaur, yeti, phoenix, and naga given euphemisms? Color me confused.
Regardless, Targus the Night Horse is another mediocre-to-good installment in the Beast Quest series. I’m finding that the books are slightly improving as I delve further into the series, though I believe that might simply be because Blade has gotten the exposition out of the way (for the most part) while I’m getting more invested in the characters and their quest. I hope to see the plots improve over the next few novels, and I’m longing for the rigid formula of these first few books to be broken soon.
In the meantime, though, Beast Quest is proving itself to be a consistent fantasy series ideal for young readers of (very short) chapter books.