Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Vaguely Narnia Vibes + Unicorns: The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla Benko

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Vaguely Narnia Vibes + Unicorns: The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla Benko
The Unicorn Quest
Kamilla Benko
Series: The Unicorn Quest #1
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, YA
Publication date: February 6th, 2018
by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

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Claire Martinson still worries about her older sister Sophie, who battled a mysterious illness last year. But things are back to normal as they move into Windermere Manor... until the sisters climb a strange ladder in a fireplace and enter the magical land of Arden.

There, they find a world in turmoil. The four guilds of magic no longer trust each other. The beloved unicorns have gone, and terrible wraiths roam freely. Scared, the girls return home. But when Sophie vanishes, it will take all of Claire's courage to climb back up the ladder, find her sister, and uncover the unicorns' greatest secret.
-A copy was provided by Bloomsbury USA Childrens for review-

I love middle grade novels and I love discovering new ones. As far as I can see, The Unicorn Quest is shaping up to be a major middle grade release this year and it synopsis sounded up right up my alley. The vaguely Narnia vibes along with unicorns sounded like it would be an enthralling read.

Here is what I can tell you. The Unicorn Quest is an adventure of the best kind. We get sucked into a new world from the get-go and like the MC, we kind of have to assimilate to the new world we find ourselves in. This is great because we experience the world alongside the MC which allows us to form a special bond with her but it also means that it takes longer to get used to the world. I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing in general but it did impact my reading experience a little bit.

But, right from the get-go we know not everything is what it seems and that tension builds. I am not entirely sure what I expected when I dove into the book but I came out feeling thoroughly satisfied with the adventure we were taken on.

Wow. So like, I realize everything I’ve said thus far is SUPER vague but I don’t really know how to use words to convey what The Unicorn Quest is like. I know, I say that every time and maybe I am just making excuses because that’s who I am, okay?

Not to sound like a cheese machine but The Unicorn Quest is partly about sisterly love. Claire Martinson almost lost her sister once and will go to unimaginable lengths to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Every part of the quest Claire goes on is tinted with this fear of losing her sister and the trauma of almost having lost her in the first place.

Luckily, Claire doesn’t have to go on an adventure by herself, she gets to have friends. Some human-like and some not. It’s great. And everyone knows going on an adventure on your lonesome is no fun. A crowd is always better.

Plus, Arden really is a well crafted world and I loved exploring its landscapes and discovering its secrets with our fab trio. Clearly though, this is just the beginning and the book is building up to something much greater. I cannot wait to see where the sequel(s?) will take us and learn even more about the backstory of this world.

Overall, The Unicorn Quest is a fun, delightful read if not a particularly distinct one? The kids will devour it and if you’re an adult who reads middle grade, you’ll probably devour it too. It’s hard not to immediately get grabby hands about books with secret worlds discovered in closets, or in this case, chimneys.

3.5 Stars
3.5 Hot Espressos

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