A foundling and a winged horse compete in a race planned by the Greek gods.
Pippa, nearly 12, loses her job in an Athenian stable after running off to follow a horse’s wing she saw in the sky. Could it have been Nikomedes, the flying horse ridden by Zeus? That night she falls asleep beneath a bush only to wake on Mount Olympus, the heavenly home of the gods, having been chosen by Aphrodite to ride her stallion Zephyr in a once-a-century race. The winning horse will become Zeus’ next mount; the winning rider, a demigod. Zephyr’s an unlikely champion, being both undersized and fidgety. This book is billed as the first in a series and bears many of the hallmarks of mediocre series fiction: shallow characters, contrived emotions, and lots of exclamation points. Despite her sad backstory, Pippa never inspires sympathy. Stereotypical Greek gods float in and out of the story without enough background to anchor them; the setting is vague despite lots of Greek words; and the plot doesn’t hold narrative tension. There aren’t serious consequences for losing the race, so it’s hard to care whether or not Pippa wins. The horses are multicolored; the riders seem to be white, and the gods appear also to be default white.
With a first book this flat, it’s hard to envision a series. (Fantasy. 8-12)