Unicorns don’t belong in fairy tales; they belong in nightmares. So begins Skandar and the Unicorn Thief. Soar into a world where unicorns are real – and they’re deadly. They can only be tamed by the rider who hatches them.
Skandar and the Unicorn Thief is the first book in the hotly anticipated new fantasy adventure series for readers age 9+, from A. F. Steadman. The story follows thirteen-year-old Skandar Smith who has only ever wanted to be a unicorn rider. But when the time finally comes for him to discover his destiny, the mysterious and frightening Weaver steals the most powerful unicorn in the world – and becoming a rider proves a lot more dangerous than he could ever have imagined.
Get ready for unlikely heroes, elemental magic, fierce sky battles, ancient secrets, nail-biting races and, of course, bloodthirsty unicorns. This will be the biggest new series of 2022.
Take a look at the reviews from our Young Readers for Skandar and the Unicorn Thief below
Book review from Zara, aged 11
Kia ora. This book is about a pre-teen boy becoming a unicorn rider. Skander, the main character, has a family of three including his sister and dad. Skander has been studying for the exam that lets him be a unicorn rider for months but showed up on the day of the test and the teacher said that he could not take the test. He was devastated but somehow he ended up becoming a rider. Along the way he meets friends, enemies and rivals and maybe even family.
For me this was a really enjoyable book and it is an appropriate book for my age group. I liked how there was action, mystery and fantasy. When you thought the story was going to end there, the author brought more plot twists and action.
If I had to rate this book out of ten it would be a 9. In the story it didn’t dive into what Skander’s younger years were like and how he became who he was in the book. Perhaps if this was to be a series, one of the books could be exploring his formative years and how he got where he was.
I really liked this book and would love to read the rest of the series!
Book review from Ciara, aged 9
I really enjoyed this book and I would love to be able to hatch my own unicorn. I love Skandar and his sister Kenna and when he hatches his unicorn Scoundrels Luck which is my favourite bit.
I didn’t like the Weaver – he was mean as he was stealing unicorns and killing people.
I do think that unicorns used to be real.
[In this book} you never knew what would happen next but I can’t wait for the next book.
Book review from Tomas, aged 9
This book is about a boy who has a pet unicorn named Scoundrel’s Luck. Together they try to stop wild unicorns killing innocent people.
Who is this mysterious Weaver person and why does she keep stealing race winning unicorns? Can Skandar stop the Weaver from taking and killing all the unicorns in time?
I recommend this book to all genders that like exciting adventure stories.
Book review from Peyton, aged 9
I really enjoyed this book – it has a lot of things in it that I like: magic, unicorns, suspense. It really kept me interested right through the whole story.
It had some scary parts, and some really gross descriptions in some parts but this made the book even better.
Skandar is a great main character, his sister is also a big part. He loves Unicorns and drawing unicorns. He starts out as a quiet boy who doesn’t have any friends, and ends up being the hero of the story.
A cool book and story and I can’t wait for the next book in this series.
Book review from Brody, aged 11
This story is full of adventure and keeps you on edge while reading, needing to know what’s coming next. I’ve enjoyed it so much I’ve even started to read it for the second time. Another thing that I liked was the adventurous style of the writing.
Skandar was a mainlander with no friends, he had a sister called Kenna who was a year older than him and is a little protective, and a single dad who doesn’t usually wake up in the morning (except for the day of the chaos cup) and drinks a lot of beer. Everyone who turned 13 on the mainland had to take The Hatchery Exam to have a chance to go to the island and become a Unicorn Rider.
In this story the unicorns are not as you may think, in fact they’re probably the exact opposite of what you thought, I mean, They’re ferocious, deadly, and have an awful stench. There are 5 different elements you and your unicorn can be allied to: Fire, Water, Earth, Air, And the death element Spirit. Skander was allied to the spirit element.
Skander makes friends along the way in this book Bobby, Flo, and Mitchell. At the start Mitchell didn’t really like Skander because he was a spirit wielder.
The weaver starts to become a real problem and is kidnapping and collecting people for her army. Skander does heaps of investigating alongside Bobby Flo and Mitchell.
These unicorns are not like the unicorns in fairytales. They are bloodthirsty, deadly and ferocious. But only the wild, unbonded ones are like that. I recommend this book because it is exciting and adventurous. The author did a really great job writing the story. I, myself couldn’t leave the book. I’ll give it five stars.
Michaela, aged 8.
The Chaos Cup is a big event on the Mainland where riders and their unicorns race. The whole town comes to watch or watches on TV like we did the Olympics. Skandar has just turned 13 which means he has to take an exam and if the 13 year olds pass the exam they have to touch a magical door in a rock. If the door moves, they now become unicorn riders. The riders grow up with the unicorn that chooses them, before being able to take part in the Chaos Cup.
Ivy, aged 12.
Families were provided with a copy of the book for the purposes of the review. Views are those of the reviewers. This article contains information provided by HarperCollins.
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