Will I Like This Book? – Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by A.F. Steadman


Today I’m here with the start of what I’m hoping will be a series of posts. I don’t know how regular they’ll be, but after thinking a lot about ReadersFirst, I decided this could be fun to do on my blog.

Every now and then, we see sampler booklets or posts on various websites that allow us to get a preview of books that are coming out. It’s always exciting to get a preview of a book that we’re either excited about or are at least just curious.

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief is a middle-grade fantasy book coming out this April. Waterstones are pushing it pretty hard, so I grabbed the sampler out of curiosity. I am trying to read a little more middle-grade, so this sounded like a great idea for a first post.

This book follows a 13-year-old Skandar who has always dreamed of becoming a unicorn rider. During the annual hatching, Skandar manages to find his way onto the island and to the door that reveals that he was, in fact, fated to have a unicorn. But there’s a twisted enemy who has stolen one of the newly-hatched unicorns, and whilst trying to solve this mystery, Skandar discovers a secret.

Plot-wise this book does sound pretty stereotypical. A young boy discovers some kind of magical link and winds up having to save the world. What’s been done differently is the unicorns. When most people think of unicorns, we think of these beautiful and pure horses with horns. These unicorns are a little more like kelpies and are dangerous as heck, just without all the water. The preview reveals what happens when these unicorns are hatched, and though Skandar’s is completely adorable, it does sound like there could have been some deaths if things had gone wrong. I really loved that aspect.

The writing wasn’t impressive. The only character I really got a feel for was Skandar, though I’m curious about both his unicorn and Bobby. Both of those seem like they’ll be favourites. I just didn’t get much of them. I do feel like this will be a pretty popular book, just maybe not as big as Waterstones is hyping it up to be. That level of popularity is rare. But I can imagine these books doing pretty well.

Am I excited to read it myself? Kind of. I think it’s a book I could read with my brother. It seems like one that he would enjoy. It’s full of adventure and will have some cute but deadly creatures. He recently picked a more typical unicorn picture book, so I know he likes them anyway.

I’m not sure I’d read it by myself. I thought I would, and honestly…I’m here for the unicorns. But it doesn’t feel special. Maybe I’d get it out from the library one day. There are a few middle-grade fantasy series that I plan on doing that with at some point. I’m just in no rush. And that’s how I feel about this one.

So, a good series for kids? I think so. But it’s not going to be the most popular kids’ book of the next few years.

Title: Skandar and the Unicorn Thief

Author: A.F. Steadman

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range:  Middle-grade

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Release Date: 28/4/22


Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones (Standard) | Waterstones (Special Edition) | Bookshop Org

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