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The Unicorn Quest #1

The Unicorn Quest

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Claire Martinson still worries about her older sister Sophie, who battled a mysterious illness last year. But things are back to normal as they move into Windermere Manor... until the sisters climb a strange ladder in a fireplace and enter the magical land of Arden.

There, they find a world in turmoil. The four guilds of magic no longer trust each other. The beloved unicorns have gone, and terrible wraiths roam freely. Scared, the girls return home. But when Sophie vanishes, it will take all of Claire's courage to climb back up the ladder, find her sister, and uncover the unicorns' greatest secret.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published January 30, 2018

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About the author

Kamilla Benko

6 books260 followers
Kamilla Benko spent most of her childhood climbing into wardrobes, trying to step through mirrors, and plotting to run away to an art museum. Now, she visits other worlds as a children’s book editor. Originally from Indiana, she currently lives in New York with her bookshelves, teapot, and hiking boots.

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5 stars
726 (46%)
4 stars
507 (32%)
3 stars
249 (15%)
2 stars
58 (3%)
1 star
19 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 246 reviews
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 31 books5,634 followers
August 9, 2017
Utterly delightful! Taps into the wonderful childhood fantasy of finding a secret door to another world. And what an unusual world! A world that is full of magic, but new and very well thought-out magic. Benko's world building is excellent, as is her portrayal of the two sisters, and their relationship.
Profile Image for Jason.
94 reviews5 followers
July 9, 2022
I picked up this book to read to my 7-year-old daughter after she saw it on display at Barnes and Noble. The idea was to read a couple of chapters a night before bed over the course of a few weeks. Problem was, she never wanted to stop reading (and neither did I). We stayed up extra late each night and read during the day, so it lasted less than a week. Anyway, it’s a really fun Narnia-esque fantasy story with great characters, imaginative world-building, unexpected twists and turns, and some hide-under-the-covers scary moments. Perfect for elementary-age girls (and their grown-up dads, too.)
March 22, 2021
Wow! I’m just picking up series left & right that are gonna be all time favs it seems! This was absolutely amazing! I read the last 75% of this in 1 sitting-& it’s not a tiny book lol Claire still worries about her older sister Sophie who battled an unknown illness, but she is better now. They have just moved into Windermere Manor for the summer, & the sisters climb a strange ladder in a fireplace, & enter the magical land of Arden. The world is in turmoil-the 4 guilds of magic no longer trust each other. The unicorns are gone & wraiths roam freely. Scared, they flee home. But when Sophie disappears, Claire goes back up the ladder to find her. It will take all her courage to find her sister, & uncover the unicorns greatest secret. She makes some amazing friends along the way-Sena & Nett. Forget a secret doorway! Climb the fireplace! Love it! Such new & creative ideas & magic in this book. The world building & character building is spectacular! I loved this world & all the different parts. I loved the backstory on why things are the way they are now, etc. I loved the different types of magic-so fascinating & an incredible take on magic-& so detailed..The writing is also so good. So beautiful at times also, it left me speechless-like a part talking about tomorrow’s & their unspoken promises, & yesterday’s & their knowings. I loved that. I loved the characters. Nett had my heart, & I was rooting for Claire so hard! The love she has for her sister is a beautiful thing. The twists at the end, everything that is revealed, & then the ending itself?! Next level good! I loved every part of this amazing world that we visited on this adventure, & I can’t wait to see more of this world to come. Such a magical adventure full of magic, heart, sisterhood, & the power of hope. Highly recommend! Just starting book 2! Another stunning cover by the amazing Vivienne To as well!💜
Profile Image for Bevany.
250 reviews6 followers
November 8, 2022
A cute MA fantasy story with family, friendship and magic.
Profile Image for Stacie.
Author 13 books55 followers
January 17, 2018
The Unicorn Quest, by Kamilla Benko, is an enchanting fantasy adventure that harkens back to stories-of-old.It is the tale of two sisters, Claire & Sophie, who find an entryway into the magical land of Arden in their new home, Windermere Manor.

When Sophie disappears, Claire must journey across Arden on a quest to find her sister. Of course, there will be challenges; Arden is a land in trouble. Its unicorns have disappeared and its four guilds are not getting along. Claire will need to use her brain, skills and of course, magic - to succeed. During the adventure, she discovers new things about herself, her sister and the world of Arden and its unicorns.

A story that is packed full of magic, adventure and sisterhood - The Unicorn Quest is an enchanting read for middle-schoolers and their families. A portal story that will indeed transport readers to another world, who wouldn't want to go on an adventure that includes magical powers, enchanted forests and unicorns? This is a book that will no doubt find its way onto the favorite shelf of many young readers, as well as some older readers (like myself) who (thanks to stories like these) remain young-at-heart.

*Received ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lori.
906 reviews598 followers
January 15, 2018
This was okay but not nearly as good as it could have been. I love sister books but the sisters are barely together in this one. The action is good but there is so much time between exciting scenes that it just gets really slow and boring in the middle. I admit that I skimmed some of the travel parts. This is definitely one of those MG books that will appeal more to the younger crowd but not necessarily transfer to older groups. Especially because there are a lot of very convenient fixes that had me rolling my eyes but younger kids probably won't pick up on that sort of thing. It follows a very set pattern of: kids travel to a place and get help and info from someone, kids travel to the next place and get help and info from someone, etc. until the end when some exciting stuff happens. My nine year old would probably like this but my twelve year old would be bored. And that's fine, it's great to have books geared toward certain ages. But it just means the audience for this one will be very narrow. I wish I had liked it more because the cover and synopsis is so cute but it fell flat for me and probably could have benefited from being just a little bit shorter.
Profile Image for Jennifer Alvarez.
Author 14 books439 followers
December 29, 2017
I loved this story! Benko has created a rich and magical world called Arden where all the unicorns have disappeared. Two sisters, Claire and Sophie, stumble upon Arden after moving into the mysterious Windemere Manor with their parents, but all is not well in the magical realm. The four guilds of magic don't trust one another, and it doesn't feel safe. After Sophie suddenly disappears, Claire musters the courage to return to Arden to find her. Along the way, she learns secrets about the unicorns, about her sister, and about herself.

Adventure, magic, sisters, and unicorns, it's perfect for kids and families.
Profile Image for Yolanda Sfetsos.
Author 69 books179 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
June 5, 2018
Sadly, this is a DNF for me.

This book started out pretty well. I thought it was interesting, and I was intrigued by Windermere Manor. I also liked the two sisters and thought this might end up being an exciting story about two sisters caught between two worlds but, sadly, it wasn't.

And as soon as Claire follows her sister into Arden, I started to lose interest. To the point where I just couldn't keep going. Mainly because I didn't particularly like the characters living in Arden. O.o

So, 80 pages in, I decided to give up.

Oh well.
Profile Image for Cindy.
Author 4 books317 followers
December 23, 2017
I finished reading Kamilla Benko's delightful UNICORN QUEST yesterday, and it was such fun! Claire is the kind of heroine it's impossible not to pull for; her determination to be brave despite her natural anxiousness really tugged on my heartstrings. The adventure itself felt like such a lovely callback to my favorite middle grade fantasies from childhood. ❤️ I can't wait for the world to discover this wonderful book!
Profile Image for Kristen Beverly.
1,143 reviews43 followers
October 28, 2017
I LOVED this book. It's SO much fun, as well as beautifully and vividly written. I felt like I could really see the story playing out in my mind like a movie. It's perfect for the age range, as well as adults who enjoy reading these kinds of books as well. It has pretty much everything that you can ask for out of a book - magic and unicorns. I really loved the bond between the sisters, Sophie and Claire, and am excited to see where the series goes next!
Profile Image for D. B. Guin.
825 reviews70 followers
November 11, 2017
This book is an enjoyable adventure where two sisters discover that their great-aunt's fireplace is a portal to another world. One sister embarks on a quest to find the other across the new world, which features distinct flavors of magic, a grim historical backstory, and finally a plot twist. While probably something fun for young fantasy fans, everything about it was somewhat less than I had hoped for -- a good story, but nothing crazy memorable.
Profile Image for Matt Richman.
1 review1 follower
September 27, 2017
An immersive world and an engaging flow drive this debut novel by Kamilla Benko. Readers feel lucky to be along for the ride as they are whisked away to a sprawling mansion, gloomy caves, and glittering magical industrial centers. Rarely are we left anywhere but the edge of our seat. Both boys and girls aged 10 to 14 will enjoy immensely, and will look forward to a sequel.
Profile Image for Kaitlyn.
Author 3 books124 followers
January 18, 2018
I absolutely ADORED this charming, fast-paced sibling adventure. Benko has written the kind of magical story that I love. Her characters are fully developed, her world is brilliantly conceived, and she writes extraordinarily beautiful sentences. You cannot go wrong with this book!
Profile Image for Alison.
576 reviews137 followers
March 26, 2021
I was expecting to enjoy this, but it was actually so much more interesting than I thought it would be! Keen to see where this goes in book 2
Profile Image for Blue.
1,549 reviews85 followers
September 1, 2018
Kinda torn between a cute story and the fact it's not original.

Profile Image for Cara.
2,255 reviews41 followers
December 7, 2017
This was a decent story that really lagged in places. The middle felt like it could've used a trim. The end was exciting, but it just took me so long to get there.
Profile Image for Stacy Mozer.
Author 2 books24 followers
August 7, 2017
When Claire Martinson follows her older sister Sophie up a ladder in the fireplace of her aunt's house she has no idea that she will be entering another world. After being chased by a shadow creature, Claire makes Sophie promise to never go up the ladder again. When Sophie breaks that promise it is up to Claire to save her. I loved this new middle grade fantasy, which will hit the shelves in February 2018. I was lucky to get my hands on a copy at Book Expo America and can't wait to share it with my students in the fall.
Profile Image for Joy McCullough.
Author 14 books295 followers
June 16, 2017
I got to read an ARC of this book and it is SO lovely. It's beautifully written, with terrific character development. It's got extremely clear personal stakes for the main character, beautifully drawn from the get-go. The world building is fantastic, the plot drives forward very nicely. Wonderful, complicated sister dynamic. I will definitely be recommending this book to MG fantasy readers and looking forward to the sequel.
Profile Image for Sophia Olivarez.
20 reviews
January 25, 2023
CRAZY plot twist and the fact that Sophie is a princess with Claire is SO cool like they were destined to move to that house and find that chimney ladder
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Darcy Miller.
Author 3 books44 followers
July 17, 2017
A must read for young fantasy fans! I mean, adventure, magic, unicorns, AND a reluctant heroine that you can't stop rooting for? Trust me, you're going to want to see where the mysterious ladder inside the fireplace leads . . .
Profile Image for Emily.
426 reviews701 followers
June 26, 2017
This book is so beautiful and magical, just like a unicorn. Highly recommended to any Shannon Hale fans out there!
Profile Image for Alexandra Ott.
Author 5 books75 followers
July 5, 2017
This is such a fun middle grade adventure! It's beautifully written and full of magic. The characters are great, too, and I adore the sister relationship. Fantasy fans will love this one!
Profile Image for Alexa Wejko.
3 reviews
November 2, 2017
MY WHOLE HEART. The Unicorn Quest is chock-full of tenderness, heart, courage, an awesome girl MC, and a timeless adventure. Plus--duh, unicorns!

Kamilla Benko is an instant classic.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 246 reviews

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