A fun little MG Fantasy with some very nice details.
On a snowy night, Cara and her grandmother are pursued into St. Christopher's church by an unknown man. Clutching her grandmother's mysterious amulet, and following the old woman's instructions, Cara escapes their pursuer and falls into Luster, the world of the unicorns. Attacked by a monstrous little creature called a "delver," Cara is rescued by a shambling, manlike beast known only as "the Dimblethum".
Soon Cara has also met a rebellious young unicorn named Lightfoot, and a ridiculous little creature called "the Squijum." With their help, Cara embarks on a journey across Luster to deliver a message from her grandmother to the queen of the unicorns. But to survive the trip, Cara must come face to face with her greatest hope, and her greatest fear.
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Source: I purchased this book myself from Audible.
Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville, read and published by Full Cast Audio (2009) / Length: 3 hrs 37 min
This is Book #1 of 4 in "The Unicorn Chronicles," all four are available on audio.
Many of the elements of this story are straight out of the fantasy playbook, but Bruce Coville's style of writing almost always manages to suck me in and keep my attention. This book is definitely more on the plot driven side, rather than my preferred character driven tales; yet the glimpses we get into what is going on with the characters is intriguing.
Cara: In such a short book, we don't get a lot of character development for her but it was enough. She is loyal, brave & compassionate, but not unbelievably so. Note: She always wanted to live in a library, which is an excellent life goal.
We don't learn a lot about anybody besides her, but my favorite side character so far is Thomas (the Tinker and philsopher).
The world seems to be a standard fantasy setting (forests & caves, unicorns, dwarves called Delvers, dragons, etc), but also includes a couple of unique creature people who aren't fully explained in this volume. There are good descriptions of the colors, sights, sounds, and smells of the world. The history of the unicorns & hunters is quite interesting.
The book starts right in with a couple of action scenes that do a good job of setting up the mystery & danger Cara will be dealing with. We then meet the main individuals who will be going on our quest. The book is very short, but doesn't feel under developed. It moves along at a good pace with a mix of action and talk. There is an ending to this quest, but the overall plots regarding Cara's family and the danger to the unicorns remains open.
HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:
- The home & library of the Keeper of the Chronicles - Just like Cara, I want to live there.
- Thomas' cart/wagon
- Cara's interactions with the dragon
Full Cast Audio uses different actors for all the main roles, and casts actual children as the younger characters. I am particularly fond of Bruce Coville's voice, and he is very good at emoting. In this one, he serves as the narrator. I also especially liked the voice of the dragon. I did NOT like the voice of the Squijum though, and am very grateful that it didn't appear much. I am also not very fond of music in my audiobooks, although it wasn't as bad in this one as some others. I did have to bump it up to 1.5 speed (rather than my usual 1.25) since it was a bit slow.
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