Secret in the Stone (The Unicorn Quest 2), by Kamilla Benko

Secret in the Stone is the second book in the Unicorn Quest series by Kamilla Benko (Bloomsbury Feb. 29, 2019). It continues the adventures of two sisters, Claire and Sophie, in the magical land of Arden that they'd entered (in good portal fantasy fashion) by climbing up one of the chimneys of their great-aunt's home.

Arden is a place full of magic, with different guilds each with their own domain of power.  Claire had discovered in the first book that she has Gemmer magic (an affinity with all things stone).  Sophie has yet to manifest any talent. But though Arden still has lots of magic, it's diminished since the unicorns were massacred by an evil queen years ago.   Meeting a unicorn toward the end of book one has given Claire hope that she can find out how to restore unicorns and their magic to Arden, keeping it from falling into civil war.  She and Sophie are possibly the last descendants of Arden's royal family, and if anyone can  wake the unicorns again, it is them.  Sophie is more doubtful.

But their path is complicated by a faction of Royalists, who want to bring the queen who killed the unicorns back (the story many people believe paints the queen in a much more positive light).  And so Claire and Sophie find themselves pawns in a larger game of conspiracies, secrets, and lies, complicated by the rising tensions between the various guilds of magic, and complicated as well when friends require rescuing from mortal peril.  On top of that, there's growing tension between the sisters--Claire's faith in unicorn restoration is not matched by Sophie, who's struggling with her complicated feelings about not having magic of her own.

The dangers mount as the book reaches its end, which comes with many new exciting surprises that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next book!

It's a very satisfying middle grade fantasy--all the elements that one expects are there, with the interesting addition of explicit tension between the sisters--they love each other, but are frustrated with each other at the same time, and it's complicated by the fact that Sophie was dangerously ill in the real world.   So it's as solid a choice as you can get for offering to the young reader who loves unicorns (though they are actually not physically present in this book), the possibility of other worlds where ordinary kids can become magical, and stories of sisters!  

disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a fun story. Thanks for the review.


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