Bruce Coville has received over a dozen Children's Choice Awards, and has written more than ninety popular books for young people, including MY TEACHER IS AN ALIEN, INTO THE LAND OF THE UNICORNS, SONG OF THE WANDERER, and THE MONSTER'S RING. His most recent novel, DARK WHISPERS, is the third book in his beloved Unicorn Chronicles series. He lives in Syracuse, New York, with his wife, Katherine.
Gr 5-8-Although Coville does summarize the main events in Into the Land of the Unicorns (Scholastic, 1994), this book will appeal most to those who have read the first volume. Characterization of reappearing characters is limited and an understanding of the core story (the evil Beloved's reason for hating and hunting unicorns) is assumed. Cara's story picks up only days after the events of the first book have concluded and moves at a rapid pace. It is filled with magical creatures, strange encounters, and dramatic confrontations. Charged by the queen with the task of rescuing her grandmother from this world and taking her back to Luster, Cara must again evade the relentless pursuit of Beloved and the Hunters. Many of the situations and characters may seem somewhat predictable to sophisticated readers of fantasy, but Coville does include a spectacular plot twist that will surprise even the most well read among them. While Cara's quest comes to a successful conclusion, Coville leaves plenty of threads dangling, ensuring that his fans will eagerly anticipate the conclusion of his trilogy. While waiting, they may want to check out books by Patricia Wrede, Gail Carson Levine, and Donna Jo Napoli, all of whom incorporate familiar fantasy and fairy-tale elements into imaginative, well-written novels.-Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
"Unicorn lovers and fans of the first book will enjoy the fantasy".
-- Horn Book
Gr 3-6-The second book of The Unicorn Chronicles by Bruce Coville (Scholastic, 1999) finds Cara on an exciting quest. She must make her way through the magical world of Luster to the unicorn queen, who asks Cara to bring back her grandmother Ivy so that old wounds can be healed. Believing that her grandmother, known to the unicorns as "The Wanderer," is on Earth, Cara must find a way home with the help of her growing list of companions. Filled with peril, humor, and many surprising revelations, Cara's quest takes her back to Earth, only to find her grandmother trapped in a mysterious dimension by the evil Beloved, whose greatest desire is to destroy all unicorns. Although Cara's father is a Hunter, one of Beloved's loyal warriors, a touching reconciliation between father and daughter is affected when he realizes that all he previously believed is untrue. Coville leaves the ending open, but does give some closure by revealing the mystery of Ivy's past and her relationship to the unicorns. Those unfamiliar with the first book in the series, Into the Land of the Unicorns (Scholastic, 1994), will likely be confused by a number of plot points and the sparse characterization in Song of the Wanderer, and will have to rely on the voice characterizations of this talented cast in order to better identify the characters. As the 12-year-old Cara, Carmen Viviano-Crafts compellingly conveys the confusion and deep longings of this young heroine seeking to understand her purpose in life. Jackie Grace as M'Gama lends the role of the Geomancer the full gravitas and majesty required. A real highlight is the several versions of the poignant titular "Song of the Wanderer," beautifully rendered by the cast. Briskly paced, emotionally moving, and featuring compelling female characters, this traditional fantasy will leave listeners longing for the next book in the series.-B. Allison Gray, South Country Library, Bellport, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.