The Last Hunt (Unicorn Chronicles #4)

by Bruce Coville

Conditional Recommendation: An epic and complex weaving of story lines to conclude the series, the fate of Luster, its creators and all its creatures.

Age: Middle Grade
Series: Unicorn Chronicles, Book Four
Pages: 605
Published: 2010

Genre: Fantasy

There is so much going on in this book! With each addition to the series Bruce Coville layers on story after story of the various creatures and characters linked to Luster, taking the reader deeper into the characters, the plot, and the origins of the fantastical world. This book juggles the most viewpoints and jumps from character to character to give the reader the whole picture of the conflict and all the elements and characters at play. The reader will see from the point of view of delvers, magicians, centaurs, dragons, humans, Beloved, hunters, and more. It’s quite a masterful handling of many story threads all twisting together to the grand finale.

Summary from the Publisher

In the center if Luster stands an enormous tree called the Axis Mundi, the Heart of the World. But now that tree is wounded, pierced through by magic. And through that wound marches an army of Hunters, led by the sinister and vengeful Beloved. And they are all determined to destroy each and every unicorn. As the unicorns gather to defend their lives, the human girl, Cara, is sent on a mission to meet a ferocious and mysterious dragon. Faced with perilous danger, Cara must make a desperate decision that will change her life forever.

Enduring Themes

Sacrifice—giving up your desires, abilities, and even life for the good of others or a higher purpose—is a major theme throughout the book. Look for it from character to character.

Goodness and Truth

Watch for all the conversations about creators and their relationship with their creations. The unbreakable bond and affection between them is an interesting element that I’ve not seen in other books. It makes me think of how much our Creator cares for and remains involved in the issues of His creation.

Memorable Characters

Finally, we find out the origins of Fallon, the Dimblethum, the Squijum and more. There are so many characters to keep track of in this book, but it’s incredibly fun to see the story from so many different perspectives.

Well-Conceived Plot

The plot has gotten more complex with each installment and this last book is very exciting and interesting as major plot points are revealed and all the story threads wind to a conclusion. All the twists, turns, and added stories keep you on your toes! I can’t talk about much because all the cool things are spoilers.

A Satisfying Ending

An epic battle, confrontations, twists and turns ending in all the story threads tying up nicely.

Fantasy Elements

Spell casting, magical objects, magicians, sorcerers, magical creatures…it’s a true fantasy.

Recommendation Note

There’s a lot more peril, distress, death, blood and violence in this book compared to all the other books. Also there’s this weird, out-of-the-blue mention of Cara’s grandmother’s gay friends. There has been no mention—not even a hint—of homosexuality this entire series. There has also been no mention or hint of these friends of grandmother’s up until this point. It is so weirdly dropped in. It happens during a conversation between Cara and Fallon in which Cara is trying to determine his relationship with another character. She asks if his relationship is like her grandmother’s friends’ and Fallon says it’s not like that and goes on to explain the intimate, magical brotherhood bond he has with the character. And that’s it. It’s incredibly minor, so minor that I’m frustrated it was plunked in there, but there you have it.

Books Like This: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Where to Find this Book: This book is out of print so try thrift stores, other online booksellers or your local library! I listened to the audiobooks through my library app but you can also purchase the audiobooks which are more widely available.