About the Book
Title: The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy (The Shadow of the Unicorn, Book #1)
Author: Suzanne de Montigny
Publication Date: December 4, 2012
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Number of pages: 157
Recommended age: 9+
A loud, hissing sound filled the air. The unicorns looked up, their eyes filled with horror.
Azaria, a unicorn colt, is intrigued when the young clairvoyant dinosaur, Darius, foresees a terrifying change in the world. When a giant fireball smashes into the earth, the unicorns struggle to survive the hurricanes and starvation that follow. Danger of a more sinister nature threatens when the creatures-that-walk-on-two-legs settle in the valley and their leader, Ishmael, discovers the healing power of the unicorns’ horns. Azaria, now a young stallion, must use his wits to save the herd from complete extinction.
* #1 in the Animals in their World list on Goodreads Listopia *
* #1 in the Christmas Stocking Stuffers list on Goodreads Listopia *
Winner of the 2013 Global E-book Award for Best Fantasy/Alternate History
My Thoughts: The Shadow of the Unicorn is a magical and fantastical adventure where the worlds of unicorns, dinosaurs, and humans collide. The story, as told through the eyes of the young unicorn Azaria, provides an engaging (albeit fictional) portrayal of what transpired after the asteroid thought to have led to the extinction of the dinosaurs strikes Earth. We first meet Azaria as a young foal when he and his father, Polaris the stallion of the unicorn herd, go to visit a nearby herd of dinosaurs. They meet Darius, a young dinosaur who foresees the devastation of Earth and the coming of an evil man, Ishmael, who will reign terror among the unicorns and will force them to go into hiding.
The unicorns witness the giant fireball streaming across the sky and landing with a thunderous crash. This signals the beginning of the end for the unicorns’ way of life as well as the extinction of all dinosaurs, except one who survives the ensuing devastation, Darius. Darius is taken in by the unicorns and raised among the herd until the humans arrive to settle into the valley alongside the unicorns. As predicted, Ishmael is motivated by greed and captures the unicorns. When the plague spreads amongst the villagers, Ishmael uses the unicorns’ magical healing powers and becomes a very wealthy man. But this comes at a great cost to the unicorn because their magic resides in their beautiful, spiraling horns and can only be harvested by killing them.
Suzanne de Montigny has done an outstanding job of creating a heinous villain in Ishmael who comes off as completely heartless (even in relation to his dying daughter). You can see the escalation of Ishmael’s bad behaviour from capturing the unicorns to mistreating them to killing them. We are privy to his thoughts as some chapters were written from his perspective and I just grew to despise him. I thought that balancing out his character with those of his wife Adiva and his daughter Ali was very well done. They provided the humanity and compassion by acting as Ishmael’s conscience. The author did a great job of exploring the consequences of human greed.
The overall pace of the story is very quick and the action is non-stop. There are so many great elements to the story including the living conditions and mass deaths of the unicorns after the asteroid strikes, the mentorship of Azaria by Darius in learning to “become one with his shadow”, the obsession of Ishmael with the unicorns, and the coming of age of the young unicorn who must lead the unicorn herd to safety. There is a whole lot of story packed into this one book! One warning though … there are some events that are quite brutal. The unicorns are killed by the humans and their horns are sawed off. Some sensitive children may be quite disturbed to read through those passages.
This last comment has to do with my inability as an adult to completely suspend disbelief (I’m just saying). While I am aware that some people may dispute this, it is my understanding that scientific evidence suggests that dinosaurs and humans did not even come close to co-existing. To be clear, in this story, there is overlap. I don’t have an issue with the author creating a fictional setting where unicorns, dinosaurs, and humans roamed the Earth at the same time. There is a disclaimer at the start of the book saying that this is a work of fiction; but, what I think is necessary for this particular book is a note stating some facts. This could be done with a statement such as “scientists believe that the dinosaurs last roamed the Earth 65 million years ago while the earliest Homo sapiens date back a mere 200,000 years”. Or perhaps, to show respect for those who may believe something different, to say that there is a debate about whether they co-existed. Regardless, I thought that the merging of these different creatures (i.e., unicorns, dinosaurs, and humans) was very creative and interesting.
My Bottom Line: The Shadow of the Unicorn provides an innovative and interesting plotline exploring how the fictional unicorns, the extinct dinosaurs, and early humans may have interacted if they co-existed in a post-apocalyptic world. Suzanne de Montigny does an excellent job of exploring the themes of natural disasters and environmental change, human greed, compassion, and courage. At the end of the day, The Shadow of the Unicorn is an entertaining read that I think will be enjoyed by children who love the fantasy genre and are keen on reading about unicorns. Ages 9+
More Buzz About The Book
“Kudos to Ms. de Montigny for writing an original variation on the fantasy epic–unicorns intermingling with dinosaurs! The book’s themes include the humane and environmental concerns that Watership Down and the films of Hayao Miyazaki have in common. If you have a middle grader or are just young at heart, pick up The Shadow Of The Unicorn.” ~ 5 Star Review, Stuart W., Amazon
“The Shadow of the Unicorn is a must-read for all unicorn lovers, but even more so for the ones, like my self, who hadn’t read anything about them yet. It is a thrilling and encouraging story about a young unicorn that has to save his herd after a meteor nearly destroyed their environment and killed the dinosaurs. Suzanne de Montigny created a compelling universe with believable characters and a great adventure story to challenge them with. While the story finishes in this book, I can’t wait to read about the new adventures the unicorns will face..” ~ 5 Star Review, Antje H., Amazon
“This story pulled me in with a beautiful portrayal of a time and place where unicorns and dinosaurs live side by side. It moved me forward with unexpected twist and turns (a requirement in any good story). I found it hard to put the book down and was totally engaged in seeing the young characters (unicorns and dinosaurs) survive and grow because of the challenges they faced.” ~ 5 Star Review, NW Harris, Amazon
“I just finished reading The Shadow of the Unicorn. What a story teller Suzanne de Montigny is. She combined unicorns with dinosaurs and spun a tail of magic that kept me turning the pages, not to mention throwing in an evil that came in the form of a human! What an enjoyable story – and here I thought these mystic animals were extinct. I just didn’t know what to look for!” ~ 5 Star Review, Penny E., Amazon
“What a delightfully unique book. Unicorns and dinosaurs facing changing conditions. Darius is a young dinosaur capable of seeing the future. Azaria is a young unicorn who becomes a friend and learns from Darius. Yes, there are humans in this book. They are the villains of the story. Greedy beasts. I think both boys and girls will love this story. Very quick paced and easy to read. A delightful story, and I look forward to more from this author.“ ~ 5 Star Review, DM Lawrence, Amazon
*Half of all proceeds go to the Third World Eye Care Society, a group of eye specialists who travel to third world countries with thousands of pairs of glasses and perform eye surgery for free.*
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About the Author: Suzanne de Montigny
Suzanne de Montigny wrote her first unicorn story at the age of twelve. Several years later, she discovered it in an old box in the basement, thus reigniting her love affair with unicorns. The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy, is her first novel. Suzanne lives in Burnaby, B.C. with the three loves of her life – her husband and two boys.
* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *
Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)
Contest runs: December 2, 2013 to January 1, 11:59 pm, 2014
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Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Suzanne de Montigny and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.
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