Into the Land of the Unicorns (Unicorn Chronicles #1)

by Bruce Coville

Unconditional Recommendation: Thrust into another world, young Cara must make friends with fantastical creatures in order to keep a magical amulet out of evil hands and fulfill her grandmother’s request.

Age: Middle Grade
Series: Unicorn Chronicles, Book One
Pages: 176
Published: 1999

Genre: Fantasy

This story hits the ground running—literally—so be prepared to jump in and suspend your disbelief for a couple chapters while the characters come into focus and the plot unfolds. There’s nothing like a good, sudden adventure where the character has to collect their wits, use their resources, adapt quickly and make friends in order to accomplish their goal. It makes for some excellent reading. This is a fun fantasy adventure filled with a sense of enchantment and wonder—a quality that’s hard to find in more modern-day children’s books.

You must read this series in order because the overall story of the series is revealed layer by layer, chapter by chapter, book by book.

Summary from the Publisher

Young Cara has lived with her grandmother all her life until one day they are followed coming home from the library. Cara is terrified but her grandmother has expected it. Following her grandmother’s crazy instructions, Cara arrives in Luster, a land of magical creatures, magic, and most importantly, unicorns. There she meets incredible creatures and makes friends who help her journey through Luster to reach the Queen on her grandmother’s request.

An Enduring Theme

There’s a theme of discovery woven throughout the book as Cara hears stories of her own history, her grandmother’s, the land of Luster and its unicorns. To this, the theme of truth verses lies runs throughout and an uncommon concept is presented: the idea that living in light of truth and doing what’s right is more important than allegiance to blood family.

Well-Conceived Plot

Bruce Coville does a great job at hooking you in and keeping you engaged with interesting characters, smart plot twists, fast-paced storytelling and a well-rounded story. There’s a sense of mystery of things yet to be uncovered and a hint of adventures to come. He did a fantastic job creating a fantastical world with a history tied to the real world. I thought it very creative. This book—the whole series, really—is an excellent example of an unfolding plot. Information and twists are progressively revealed bringing you deeper into the story the more you read.

Memorable Characters

The villains are the Delvers, goblin-like creatures who hate unicorns and want a way to destroy them. The other villain is a woman named Beloved who has made it her mission to destroy all unicorns for what they did to her as a child and is seeking entrance into Luster to complete her mission. May I just say, doesn’t calling the villain “Beloved” make her so much creepier??

Each of the fantastical characters are fascinating because of what they are, how they speak, how they live in Luster, and how they befriend Cara. They are each unique and memorable and make for a motley crew of characters.

Books I Recommend in the Series
Song of the Wanderer (#2)
Dark Whispers (#3)

The Last Hunt (#4)

Books Like This: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
Where to Find this Book: Amazon* or your local library!

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