Sunday, March 9, 2014

Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville

"The sound of his hooves against the stony floor of the cave was like distant silver bells."

Though not quite as magical as when I read it as a child, it was nevertheless a sweet and simple story. The action begins immediately and continues at a fast pace, making it a very quick read. The main character, Cara, has an adventurous personality, making it easy for young readers to relate to her. And her trustworthy friend, Lightfoot, is the unicorn equivalent to a typical, slightly sarcastic, teenager.

"It was like drinking diamonds. She drank more, dipping her hands greedily into the stream."

The writing was surprisingly good, creating the enchanting atmosphere that I had adored my first time reading it. I feel like with just a bit more focus on the setting, the story could have been that much more believable. With its quick moving plot and a back story only told through Cara, I found it unrealistic at first, even as a fantasy story. The only thing about the writing that I didn’t like were all the questions that Cara constantly thought out loud, though I suppose as a kid’s novel they were appropriate enough.

""There’s lots of kinds of chains," he continued, "You can’t see most of them, the ones that bind folks together. But people build them, link by link. Sometimes the links are weak, snap like this one did. That’s another funny thing, now that I think about it. Sometimes when you mend a chain, the place where you fix it is strongest of all.""

The ending went by quicker that I would have liked. It came immediately after the main action of the story and was almost rushed through. It would have been nice to be able to relish in the conclusion a bit more, which, after all, was the result of the story’s great journey. Overall, I think this was a fine little story, which I’m glad to have re-read, if only to be reminded of reading it as a child. It was clearly written for kids, yet the writing maintained a smart, fluid style. I’m not sure if I will re-read the second book in this series yet or not. However, I will always remember them warmly, as one of my first unicorn (and fantasy) books.

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