Friday, December 2, 2011

SONG OF THE WANDERER


Review of SONG OF THE WANDERER by BRUCE COVILLE
(second in THE UNICORN CHRONICLES)

There’s a lot of exposition in the first few chapters of SONG OF THE WANDERER, but Coville slips in details from the last book with admirable ease. Though experienced readers and writers will recognize the intent, the story never reads as an information dump. However, the first part of book moves rather slowly, suffering a little from what bibliophiles term "middle book syndrome." Before the story and action begins, there’s a long, relatively uneventful journey.

Of course, this is a short book (although it’s twice as long as its predecessor!), so even the slow bits are fairly fast reading. Besides, it’s well worth trudging along with Cara and her crew during the quieter portion of the journey, because when the pace picks up, oh boy does it pick up! The tension just keeps riser higher and higher near the end as the conflict escalates and unexpected surprises pile on.

I certainly don't mean to imply that the first half of the book is boring, either. As with many great series, we learn more about beloved characters from the previous book along with meeting plenty of new ones. Medafil the gryphon now joins the Squijum on my list of favorite UNICORN CHROINCLES characters. And, of course, our young but brave protagonist Cara deserves a spot up there herself.

SONG OF THE WANDERER might take a while to hit the same fast pace as INTO THE LAND OF THE UNICORNS, but once it starts moving it doesn’t slow. The end is stuffed with intriguing confrontations and revelations that promise much more excitement in future books.

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