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Wonder Light

(Unicorns of the Mist #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  218 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Deep in the heart of a mist-shrouded island, an impossible secret is about to be discovered.

Twig is used to feeling unwanted. Sent to live on a pony ranch for "troubled" girls on a misty, haunted island, Twig is about to discover the impossible — someone who needs her.
Jolted awake from a bad dream, Twig follows the desperate whinny of a terrified horse out to the stables.
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  218 ratings  ·  65 reviews

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May 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a cute, often compelling youth novel. A unique blend of a girl coming into her own and fantasy. Easy to follow and great for all ages. Overall rating 3.5

We get to tag along with twelve year old Twig as she is brought to a type of "foster care/youth home by her stepmother. This home is on an island that Twig read was haunted. There are other girls there as well and each girl is given a pony to care for as their own. Twig's thoughts quickly bounce around on if she likes it there or
R.R. Russell
Feb 21, 2013 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Hi, this is the author, R.R. Russell.

Thanks for checking out Wonder Light, the first book in the Unicorns of the Mist series. The sequel, The Unicorn Thief, is coming in May 2014! Information and fun artsy stuff is now up on Or visit my author website,
Aug 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kat Heckenbach
Apr 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book was so hard to review. I wanted to like it. I mean, middle grade story about a troubled girl who finds a herd of unicorns on an island she thought was haunted...

The writing itself is okay--neat and clean. And I did like Twig.

But there were so many issues with pacing and presentation of information, like the transformation of Twig and the way things resolved far too quickly and easily when she finally tells the truth to her step-mom about the "incident." (BTW--the fact that that info
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing

Unicorns + spooky, misty island + wild boy + home for “troubled” girls= an instant read for this girl! I went into R.R. Russell’s Wonder Light already loving the premise and am so happy to report that the book lived up to and surpassed my expectations!

Twelve year old Twig is sent to live on a pony ranch for “troubled” girls, after a dangerous incident at home involving her new step-family. The misty, mysterious island spooks Twig at first, but then she discovers something magical, miraculous,
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wonder Light is the first book in a new series that has unicorns in it. Much more than that, Wonder Light is the story of Twig, who is going to an island because of something that happened at home. A whole circle of events has led to Twig feeling unlike herself and she keeps herself enclosed in her shell. She's not sure she'll even like it on this island, where she'll learn to ride and take care of a pony and live with the Murleys, a couple that takes in troubled girls. All of that changes after ...more
Jun 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised by WONDER LIGHT: UNICORNS OF THE MIST (hereby shortened to WONDER LIGHT). Having been a big fan of The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, I was excited to see how R.R. Russell would handle the portrayal of unicorns in a children's book. These are not the unicorns of old, innocent and pure and for virginal maidens only. Oh, sure, the archetype is there, but from the mists of Lonehorn Island, a new breed of unicorn has risen: blood-thirsty and murderous. Such a refreshing ...more
Bonnie (A Backwards Story)
Most children love unicorns. I know I did (I blame My Little Pony). I loved reading horse-themed books growing up, and would have loved a book for older kids centered around unicorns. There's certainly an audience for WONDER LIGHT: Unicorns of the Mist. There are unicorns, but not quite like any you've encountered before. There's also mystery and intrigue, since the island may or may not be haunted. Certainly something for everyone!

Twig arrives on Lonehorn Island feeling alone and miserable.
Dena (Batch of Books)
There are some really amazing middle grade books being published, and this is definitely one of them. I loved all the characters, but Twig captured my heart and I rooted for her throughout the entire book.

When Twig arrives on Lonehorn Island at a home for troubled girls, she is quiet, antagonistic, and refuses to trust anyone. She feels like nobody wants her and she has a difficult time adjusting to life on the ranch. This gradually changes as she gets to know her pony, her roommate Casey, and
Sharon Tyler
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wonder Light is the first book in the middle grade series, Unicorns of the Mist, by R.R. Russell. Twig is resigned to living on a pony farm for troubled girls, despite the spooky stories she has read about the island. Soon Twig discovers someone that needs her, mysterious filly that has claimed her as her own. Then there is the mysterious of the wild boy in the misty woods and the terrifying screams from something that is not quite a horse. Twig discovers that the island's secret is the last ...more
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
WONDER LIGHT caught my attention from the opening chapters. Twig is going to Lonehorn Island because it has a ranch for delinquent girls. She's not happy about it, but at the same time doesn't want to stay with her stepmother. But it's quickly clear that Twig isn't an entirely reliable narrator.

R.R. Russell does a wonderful job of combining Twig's family drama with a tale about unicorns. Twig begins the book feeling unwanted, unloved, and unworthy. But after she takes responsibility for Wild
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was thrilled to be a part of the book tour for Wonder Light: Unicorns of the Mist. The first book in the Wonder Light series did not disappoint. This was a quick read and it was really good. It's recommended for kids nine and up, but my seven year old is reading this right now and she's loving every bit of it. I love that she has a passion for reading. I also love that we get to share our opinions and have a great story to talk about with each other.

I love how the story explores unicorns
Nikki S
Jun 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, fantasy
More of my reviews to be found at my blog Take Me Away...

This middle grade is one for the upper level MG readers. It features a very cool unicorn tale and a thrilling ghost story. Now that doesn't mean that it will be too scary, its still a very cute read.
In the story, Twig is sent to an all girls camp on an island run by a Mr. and Mrs. Murley. They help the girls looks after ponies to help them learn responsibility and to stay out of trouble. One day a mysterious horse shows up and with it
Robin Hobb
Feb 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I loved the Pacific Northwest setting for this fantasy tale. I also enjoyed that it's a book in which the protagonist becomes stronger by accepting the person she already is. A good middle grade read, I'd say.
Bianca Rexine
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!!!!! It was written very well. While reading this book I could not put it down and often I would stay up super late to keep reading.
Valerie McEnroe
Twig is on her way to an isolated island with a home for troubled teens. She's anything but excited, but adapts rather quickly. She gets along well with the other girls, loves Mr. and Mrs. Murley, and likes caring for the horses. What she doesn't like are the strange howls at night and the ghost boy she has seen sneaking around. One night she sees him bring a strange horse into the stable, which is about to give birth. The mare dies soon after the birth and Twig becomes the caregiver for the ...more
Rena Sherwood
I gave this an extra star for creativity but basically I did not like it and will not be reading any more in the Unicorns of the Mist series. My problems were:

* the worlds of both Lonehorn Island and Terracornis are so vaguely defined that it was hard to figure out just what the threat was.
* the antagonist -- a unicorn named Dagger -- turned out to be more of a dud than a Monster That Must Be Slain. Why there had to be such a long delay in battling him is never adequately explained. The unicorns
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
3.5 stars. Tween book. Pretty good story for 10-13 year olds who believe in magical imagination. I wish this book was around when I was 12. It’s indicative of transforming yourself into who you are meant to be despite what you OR others may have told you who you are And perhaps who you believe yourself to be.
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-to-kids
This book started out well. About midway, it turned into an other-worldly hunt for the evil leader of a herd of unicorns. And I'm glad that's done.
Amira Zaidat
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story shows how Twig moved out from her comfort zone when she come to live with the Murleys and she began to grow. The struggle is so real keeping secrets and training. Trying something new and risked her life for another. This book is absolutely exciting.
Originally posted at Escape Through the Pages with a 3.5 out of 5 rating.

WONDER LIGHT: UNICORNS OF THE MIST by R.R. Russell is the first book in an exciting new middle grade series. Discovering a ghostly boy who is all too real and brings unicorns in his wake at the school for troubled girls that Twig is sent to starts Twig on a path she never could have imagined.

Despite being sent to a school on a pony ranch that has five other girls at it, this story is really all about Twig, Ben (the ghost
Sher A. Hart
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-reviews
I didn’t think I would have this review done in time for the blog tour since I just received a paperback copy with print big enough for my old eyes to read yesterday. But once I started reading today, I didn’t want to put the book down. So I didn’t. I read the whole book in one evening. Or should I say a dark and stormy night. Well, it was. Our lights went off and on so many times, I pulled out all the electronics’ plugs but kept walking with the book. Otherwise, I didn’t notice the storm much ...more
Gina (My Precious Blog)
Aug 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gina (My Precious Blog) by: Bonnie (A Backwards Story)
This is probably going to be the last book I'm able to complete for 2014. I picked this book because it was reviewed on A Backwards Story's blog. Bonnie enjoyed it. When I found it on sale on I picked it up earlier this year. Then, when I really needed to complete my Goodreads Challenge for 2013, I picked this up since it had less than 275 pages. I'm not sure what I was expecting, going into this one I knew it wasn't going to be a warm and fuzzy unicorn read. The story opens with ...more
Kimberly Souza
May 19, 2013 rated it liked it
“Wonder Light: Unicorns of the mist” by, R.R. Russell

Twig is a girl from a broken home who is sent to a horse ranch for troubled girls. Once there Twig begins to notice some strange things happening on the island where the ranch is located. When she decides to investigate she finds much more then she ever could have imagined. To help save the island from a dangerous threat Twig will need to open her heart and learn to overcome her fears.

Wonder Light is a very sweet and multi-layered story. It
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
R.R. Russell’s Wonder Light: Unicorns of the Mist is the incredible tale about the world’s last herd of unicorns. On Island Ranch, twelve-year-old Twig has a tough time trying to adjust her troubled life on this misty island pony ranch for troubled girls. She begins to observe some very peculiar events. She couldn’t believe her own eyes when she saw the birth of a live unicorn. She learns from island resident Ben, that the world’s last herd of unicorns resides on the island and there is an evil ...more
Molli Moran
Jun 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
For more reviews (and a giveaway of this title) please visit me at Once Upon a Prologue!

I’ve been kicking around the idea of venturing into reading middle grade books for some time now, especially with several of my favorite authors working on middle grade trilogies or series we’ll see out in the next few years. When Sourcebooks asked me if I wanted to read Wonder Light: Unicorns of the Mist, I quickly agreed after reading the synopsis. A haunted island? A baby unicorn? Yes please!

I found a lot
Nicole Hewitt
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
For the full review (including my 9-year-old daughter's perspective on the book), check out my blog - Best Kids' Reads.

I really enjoyed this book. While the story centers around unicorns and mysteries, it’s really about a little girl’s journey to understanding her own self-worth.

I would highly recommend reading this book with your child and discussing it with them. There are some heavy issues presented that my daughter didn’t really understand until I talked them through with her. Twig’s mother
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
I actually purchased Wonder Light, after realizing that I had the second book in the series to review. The fact that this is a Middle Grade book about unicorns called to me. They are such magical beings! So majestic. I was excited to see where R.R. Russell would go with this topic. An island filled with wild unicorns? Yes please, and thank you very much.

The story started out okay. Twig, our main character, was travelling to a mysterious island for unwanted girls by boat. I was sure that her
Stephanie Ward
3.5 Stars

'Wonder Light: Unicorns of the Mist' is a fun Middle Grade fantasy that follows our young heroine, Twig, as she is sent away to a home for troubled girls on a supposedly haunted island pony ranch. While there, Twig is woken from a dream with the distinct impression that someone needs her help. Following the strange sounds, Twig finds a baby unicorn alone in the forest. The island has exposed it's secret to Twig: it has the last free herd of unicorns on Earth. Along with the help of a
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R.R. Russell lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. She grew up traveling the world as an army brat and now travels the country as a coach with a non-profit judo club. She loves to read and draw, and like Twig, once spent a lot of time sketching unicorns. Visit her at

Other books in the series

Unicorns of the Mist (2 books)
  • The Unicorn Thief (Unicorns of the Mist, #2)