The Unicorn Quest
The Unicorn Quest
Publisher's Hardcover14.44
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Series: The Unicorn Quest Vol. 1   
Annotation: In an antique-filled mansion, sisters Claire and Sophie find a ladder to the magical land of Arden, where wraiths roam freely, unicorns have disappeared, and the guilds of magic no longer trust each other.
Catalog Number: #153097
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 321 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-681-19245-4
ISBN 13: 978-1-681-19245-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017022320
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
When Claire follows her sister Sophie up a ladder into a chimney, she emerges in the fantasy domain of Arden; there, a harp made of unicorn mane is missing, and Sophie is suspected of the theft--or is someone using the harp to resurrect the last unicorn? Despite derivative world-building and unclear stakes, Claire is an earnest heroine whose transformation by book's end is well earned.
Kirkus Reviews
Unity in Arden died with the queen and the unicorns. As a new war threatens to fracture the land, a girl races to rescue her sister and return home.Eleven-year-old white girl Claire Martinson doesn't trust the mysterious ladder in the fireplace of Great-Aunt Diana's mansion, but when her older sister, Sophie (also white), disappears, Claire chases after her into the magical land up the chimney. However, Claire isn't the only one searching for her willful sister. Anvil Malchain, a dangerous treasure hunter, seeks Sophie too—and the unicorn artifact she might have stolen. The four guilds of Arden—Tillers, Forgers, Spinners, and Gemmers—all covet the unicorn artifacts that strengthen their magic. With the help of Nett, a Tiller with light brown skin, and Sena, a white Forger exile, Claire must rescue Sophie before a new war begins. In this debut, Benko constructs a world with a complex history and no clear divides between good and evil; Claire discovers that the legends of Arden's last war don't tell the whole truth. Despite Claire's envy of Sophie's bravery (and easy-to-ponytail straight hair), she rises to overcome her insecurities and unlock her own power to save the people she loves in a satisfying hero's journey. Readers will be pleased to know more adventures in Arden are planned.Rich worldbuilding and high stakes make this a quest worth taking with a protagonist who grows by facing her fears. (Fantasy. 8-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8A magical story of two sisters, Claire and Sophie, who enter a fantastic land named Arden. While exploring their new home in Windemere Manor, Claire and Sophie discover a land in the heat of battle. The people in charge of magic are fighting and the revered unicorns are missing, all while terrifying creatures called wraiths haunt the land. The sisters sense danger and decide to return home. The true adventure begins when Sophie disappears one night and Claire must return to Arden to find her. Benko crafts fully developed characters and a detailed fantastical world. Though the plot is reminiscent of many of magical fantasy adventure, the suspense and sisterly bonds will keep readers hooked. VERDICT A solid start to a new series. Hand to readers who love Narnia.April Sanders, Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* The first book in an exciting new series, this takes readers into the world of Arden, where, once upon a time, magic thrived, people of all trades mixed and worked together, and unicorns roamed. Then war between the various magical guilds raged, and all the unicorns were lost, save one, which was turned to stone (according to legend, anyway). Hundreds of years later, enter Claire and Sophie Martinson, who, like Lucy and her siblings in Lewis' classic, find their way to this magical, Narnia-like world through an old house full of unusual artifacts, and are quickly drawn into conflicts within Arden. When older, bolder Sophie disappears, it's up to shy and careful 11-year-old Claire to find her sister and bring her back home. Benko's debut ends in an excellent cliff-hanger bridging directly into the plot of the forthcoming second book in the series. The vivid world building and memorable characters add to the fantasy allure, while some truly touching moments of friendship and sisterhood give this story a great deal of heart. Fans of magic and fantasy, especially those who love Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time (1962) or the darker, creepy atmosphere in Neil Gaiman's Coraline (2002), can't miss this debut.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (11/1/17)
Horn Book (8/1/18)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (8/1/17)
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Word Count: 70,600
Reading Level: 5.4
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.4 / points: 11.0 / quiz: 194559 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 790L

An enchanting, exciting fantasy about a real-world girl searching for her sister in a land full of magic and strange creatures, blending the timeless feel of A Wrinkle in Time with Frozen 's powerful themes of identity, enchantment, and sisterhood. 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 disappeared, and terrible wraiths roam freely. Scared, the girls return home. But when Sophie vanishes in the night, it will take all of Claire's courage to climb back up the ladder, find her sister, and uncover the unicorns' greatest secret. A Kids' Indie Next Selection A Mighty Girl Best Book of the Year An ALA Top Ten First Novel for Youth

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