Welcome to a new segment I'm calling "Book Report" where I re-read a book I loved or remember enjoying, but don't remember anything else about. Should be fun, with a slight chance of trauma, embarrassment, and the possibly negative effects of the passing of time...sounds great, right? For funsies, I'll be including an adorable picture of myself around the time I was into each book (If such a picture can be found).
Let's dive in with my first pick: Into the Land of the Unicorns, by Bruce Coville.
My personal copy didn't look like this, but I also have no idea where it went. I remember spending lots of time staring at the cover though, and how much I loved the story behind it. As a kid growing up in the 90's, this hit on lots of the themes I resonated with, and was delighted to see during my re-read:
-all the feels
-traveling to another world (and the implications of having what you thought was fantasy actually be real)
-the "surprise! you're really important and have a big job to do and the fate of this world is at stake!" trope that I still love, and remember was high on the list of things I went to in my imagination and playtime.
-"we leave at first light!" style adventuring, feat. tall grass up to your waist
-communicating with animals
-a Big Bad Unknown but Powerful Evil (who also can live for a really long time), literary variation on the video game's Boss, which I feel like was a thing in playground games back then too.
-magical JEWELRY (the power of a mystical locket had me totally captivated every time)
I can tell you what, I know exactly why little-me loved this book.
We meet Cara Diane and her grandmother as the story begins in medias res while they are seeking refuge from an unknown follower. Cara's grandmother knows more than she's telling, but she's so loving that Cara trusts her enough to LEAP OFF THE ROOF OF A CHURCH AT HER WORD and what do you know? She's transported to the world of Luster, where unicorns live.
Almost immediately after arriving, something tries to drown her and steal the magical amulet she wears round her neck, but she wakes up in a cave and is tended to by a grumpy, but very capable, bearish creature. Shortly after drinking a magical beverage, Cara meets Lightfoot, the unicorn, who STABS HER IN THE CHEST WITH HIS HORN to heal her.
CAN YOU FEEL THE DRAMA?! It's as thick as the Lisa Frank folders I filled with drawings of unicorns.
Not to spoil the rest of it for you, but the three of them, plus a few other creatures and friends met along the way, discover that what they have stumbled upon requires a quest, as it could destroy the entire unicorn species and allow for Luster itself to fall to its doom. See, the amulet Cara has, is a portal that connects Earth to Luster, and there is a significant group of humans with the last name of Hunter, who's destiny is to kill all Unicorns. The Hunters (maybe a cult, but IDK) are led by a maybe immortal woman named Beloved, with a rather troubled past and part of a unicorn horn in her heart.
Thus the journey is set, for Cara, Lightfoot, and the rest of their ragtag group of misfits and outcasts, to cross the wilds of Luther to bring their plight to the queen. Along the way they meet the keeper of the Unicorn Chronicles, who writes the stories and unicorn history and lives in the best house I could possibly imagine, and a dragon WHO'S HEART IS IN A BOX plays a significant role in their progress.
This was so much fun to read. It's the first of a series of an epic adventure, and in my opinion is a great beginning to fantasy literature for kids, and would be a fun read for anyone. There's nothing that I noted to be problematic or that has aged poorly, so I think it still holds up and would be great to read aloud too.
Have you read this yet? Have you ever gone back to re-read favorites from other parts of your life? I'd love to hear about it!
Next book report: Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh.
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