________________ CM . . . . Volume X Number 12. . . . February 13, 2004


A Gathering of Unicorns.

Vicki Blum. Illustrated by Julie Rocheleau.
Markham, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2003.
136 pp., pbk., $5.99.
ISBN 0-439-97417-8.

Subject Headings:
Fairies-Juvenile fiction.
Unicorns-Juvenile fiction.
Magic-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4-6 / Ages 9-11.

Review by Christina Pike.

**** /4


"True One," he said. "For hundreds of years, a prophecy has been told among our kind. It says the True One will come, and in our darkest hour she will save us from destruction."

Arica swallowed the lump of anxiety that swelled suddenly in her throat. How could she fulfill such a destiny? How would she ever accomplish such a task? She had once told Light that she was small and not very brave. In the face of such grave danger she felt even smaller and more frightened than she had ever felt before. She saw Grandmother's firm but worried face, and Connor's willingness in spite of his fear, and she looked into Wish's noble, trusting eyes, she knew she had to try. Her own father, the rightful heir to the throne of North Bundelag, had recently told her that whatever he was meant to do, he believed she would do it for him. All she could do was her best and hope it was enough.

A Gathering of Unicorns is the last in a five book series. Arica has once more been summoned to North Bundelag by the Fairy Queen. Her task is to gather support in this battle to end all other battles. If she is unsuccessful in convincing the trolls to join in the war, then North Bundelag will be destroyed and with it the unicorns. Joining her in her journey is her good friend Connor.

     Although this book is set in a world of magic, Blum has succeeded in creating characters that are believable while staying true to the previous books in the series. Like many her age, Arica is unsure of herself and questions not only her gift but whether or not she is the "True One." The task she has been given is not an easy one, and, in gathering support, she also learns about her own inner strength. In addition to chronicling Arica's journey, the novel also raises questions about good and evil, friendship, family and forgiveness. Although there are parts of the novel that are dark and reference killing and death, Blum chooses not to dwell on these aspects, but instead she focuses on the believing in oneself.

     A Gathering of Unicorns is a novel with many facets and a must read for all young people, particularly those questions their own power.

Highly Recommended.

Christina Pike has been seconded to the Department of Education, NL, where she is an Evaluation Consultant.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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