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The Unicorn Quest

(The Unicorn Quest #1)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,089 ratings  ·  204 reviews
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 unicor
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens (first published January 30th 2018)
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Average rating 4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,089 ratings  ·  204 reviews

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Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, own, middle-grade
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. ...more
K.K. Pérez
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
A wonderful, old school MG fantasy perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce!
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 b
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 ha ...more
Jennifer Alvarez
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Yolanda Sfetsos
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 page
Amy Martin
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Such a fun adventure in a magical world filled with surprising twists. And UNICORNS!
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: most-loved
A beautifully written story that I loved reading. I'm looking forward to the next in the trilogy! ...more
Belles Middle Grade Library
Mar 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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 e ...more
Glasstown Entertainment
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous middle grade fantasy from a debut author. Perfect for fans of Narnia!
Ms. Yingling
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by the publisher

When Claire and her sister Sophie move into Windemere Manor after the death of their great aunt Diana, who collected all manor of odd objects, they aren't entirely sure what to do with themselves. Sophie is recovering from an undisclosed illness, and their parents are still overly protective and scared for her. Claire is scared as well, but irritated that Sophie doesn't spend as much time with her as she used to. When the sisters investigate an odd chimney in the h
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 hi ...more
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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! ...more
Kristen Beverly
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! ...more
Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, solid, kids-books
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. ...more
Matt Richman
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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!
Rachel Libke
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
There was a WYVERN 😍😍
Aug 31, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kinda torn between a cute story and the fact it's not original.

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. ...more
Stacy Mozer
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Joy McCullough
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Darcy Miller
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 . . . ...more
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Kamilla Benko is an exceptionally talented young author to watch - this was one of the best middle grade fantasy novels I have read in years! Moving, exciting, and written in a beautiful voice.
Catherine Tinker
Sep 04, 2016 marked it as interested
This had me at the title.
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is so beautiful and magical, just like a unicorn. Highly recommended to any Shannon Hale fans out there!
Alexandra Ott
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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! ...more
Alexa Wejko
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Wendy MacKnight
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-reads
What a wonderful story. Sisters, secrets, magical worlds; this book has it all, along with exquisite writing and beautiful storytelling. Really magical. Can't wait fir book 2! ...more
Hilary Scroggie
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
More delightful middle grade magic, with a great sibling relationship at its heart. Also, unicorns are cool.
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2018 Roe Reading ...: Fantasy Fiction 1 1 Nov 18, 2020 10:13AM  

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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.

Other books in the series

The Unicorn Quest (3 books)
  • Secret in the Stone (The Unicorn Quest, #2)
  • Fire in the Star (The Unicorn Quest, #3)

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“She might not have been the tallest or the bravest, but she was a good listener-- she had to be, if she wanted to learn important things. From experience, Claire knew that the biggest bits of news were often told in the quietest of voices.” 0 likes
“Claire automatically took the slate blue cloak. She thought that when she tied it around her shoulders she would feel silly, as though she were playing dress up, but as the cloth settled comfortably around her, she suddenly felt the weight of what she was doing. For the first, she realized what was happening: she was going on a quest.” 0 likes
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