#20BooksOfSummer 7: The Unicorn Quest- Kamilla Benko

#20BooksOfSummer is an annual event hosted by Cathy Brown of 746 Books and runs from 3rd June until 3rd September With the aim to clearing a target of 5, 10 or 20 books from your TBR but with very relaxed and fun rules.

Here is my joining post & List!

Book cover for The Unicorn Quest
Cover illustration by Matt Saunders

Let’s face it, Unicorns, portal magic and elemental magic this book was going to pique my interest. Whilst I found it a little difficult to get into at first (though to be fair I have had distractions) once the pace got going and the magic seeped in it was a wonderful read and I savoured this Narnian adventure with flavours of Tolkien Quest and American Spirit.

Portal Magic
Fire meets Water
Elemental Magic
Ancient Quarrels

Claire Martinson is spending the summer at her great aunt’s grand old house after the lady has disappeared without trace and the house bequeathed to her father.

Her sister Sophie has always been the brave, the vivacious one until struck down by a mysterious illness yet making a miraculous recovery but it is Claire who must find what she is made of when Sophie disappears up the chimney into the magical land of Arden.

A land torn apart by war and division Sophie is being hunted, accused of stealing an ancient artefact that can call the unicorns back from the dead meaning Claire has to do what it takes with her new friends a disgraced Forger and an apprentice Tiller to bring her back and prove her innocence.

‘The magic doesn’t come from within us but from the things around us- plants, rocks, thread, metal. All we do is encourage the magic that naturally exists in those things to make plants grow bigger and faster and stronger for instance.’

I love elemental magic, the power to manipulate or harness the energies within natural and created things of Earth, Fire and Water to protect, aid and heal those around.

The magic in this book is excellent from combining elements to create 50 years of wisteria growth in 50 seconds in order to climb a wall or pulling on ribbon threads to manipulate larger pieces of material.

The people of Arden are divided into Tillers who work with plants, Forgers who work with metal and the hated Gemmers who work with stones, rocks and gems and were the ‘bad ones’ in a war many years before.

The smoke-tinged air stung her eyes, and her lungs burned from the loose ash that lined the chimney walls, but Claire barely noticed. She kept her face tilted up, ignoring the hum that entered her bones as she searched the darkness for the dime-sized spot of light.
Be brave. Be brave. Be brave.

The Quest begins with a journey into a magical portal like so many wonderful children’s adventures do and I love the ingenuity of using a fireplace as the portal. How many adventures have you read or watched that featured secret doorways or priest holes hidden in old huge fireplaces?

Claire is in some ways quite typical in the fish out of water younger sister in the elder’s shadow lead, she spends much of the first half of the book in confusion and anxiety. However something wonderful happens around 100 pages in when the quest truly begins and she just begins to go with the magic with the differences and embrace Arden even if it’s a bit weird for her and things begin to resonate and make sense more and more over time and she grows into a more complex and rounded character.

Overall I enjoyed this read once I was able to truly get into it and I’m now very much looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel!!

The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla Benko is published by Bloomsbury

3 thoughts on “#20BooksOfSummer 7: The Unicorn Quest- Kamilla Benko

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