War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

October 12, 2012

Plot summary (from the publisher): In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey’s courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer’s son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?

Warning: Spoilers below!


  • Well, since this book is targeted at a younger audience, the story was rather straightforward and simple. The plot never strayed very far from the main point, making this a breeze to get through.
  • There wasn’t enough of Joey and Albert, IMO. The beginning of the book was set up so the reader would believe that they had great love for each other. But then they spent 90% of the novel apart. What was the point of that?


  • Why wasn’t Joey able to talk to other horses? There he is, narrating his story in perfect English with a thorough understanding of concepts that are obviously well beyond the ken of any animal (which I could accept as the world the author established), yet he couldn’t “talk” to Blackthorn or his mother? That seemed odd to me.
  • The reunion between Albert and Joey was ridiculous. Yes, of course they were going to be reunited at some point. But the fact that it happened at some random veterinary camp in France was just way too much of a coincidence.
  • There wasn’t a lot of emotion in this book. There are some young adult books about the bond between animals and humans that make me cry every time (Where the Red Fern Grows), but this one didn’t do a thing for me.
  • The extended descriptions of the war became pretty boring after a while. I tried to get interested/become invested in what was happening, but that was hard to do with a horse as the main protagonist.


I wanted to read War Horse by Michael Morpurgo because I intend to see the movie at some point. Unfortunately, the book didn’t captivate me in any way, shape, or form. From the perspective of an adult reader, I give this book 2 stars out of 5 — knowing full well that younger readers might enjoy it much more than I did.

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