Skandar and the Unicorn Thief
So it turns out that unicorns are real! And, they’re limited to just a single island, everyone wants one, and they eat meat and small fluffy animals. Oh yes, and spirit unicorns are deadly unicorns that mean that if you are meant to be a spirit rider, you will fail your entrance exam to unicorn school no matter how hard you study. Skandar’s sister didn’t get a unicorn and it almost broke her – it’s up to Skandar to carry on their father’s unicorn wishes.
Seriously, if the whole island is covered with wild unicorns, how can there be any furry creatures left? There are so many plot holes. So many. Oh look, a book that will teach you everything! Oops, lost it. Wooh, got past one enemy and now assume that I’m invincible! I was very disappointed in the end of both books, particularly the second one. Has Skandar just conveniently forgotten about the other unicorn that he keeps running into?
Other reviewers have commented that it’s so unlikely that the whole world would want to believe in unicorns and watch a race once a year that determines the ruler of the magical island. I’m telling you, those people can’t be Australians! In Victoria, Australia we have The Melbourne Cup, which is horses racing around a track – ‘the race that stops the Nation’. We even get a public holiday to celebrate it! So to me, the notion that a race stopped everyone from doing anything was pretty straightforward.
I was given the first book for review, and bought the second book as a 14th birthday gift. The teenager hasn’t been raised on a diet of Harry Potter (thank goodness), she prefers Tamora Pierce, Garth Nix and other EXCELLENT books. She said that Skandar was better than Percy Jackson, the books looked attractive and there was a gift solved (the age-old gifting problem). If you grew up with Harry Potter or Percy Jackson as a child then Skandar is a weak shadow and not worth it if you are now an adult reader. It’s fine for middle-grade and teens, but I wouldn’t rate it that highly. 3-stars from me, for the right audience.
Simon & Schuster | 28 April 2022 | AU$19.99 | paperback