Kathleen Duey has written more than forty books for children. The Unicorn's Secret is based on a dream she had when she was at school. She lives in southern California.
Duey (the Hoofbeats series) uses a challenging dual-narrative format to tell a complex story in this first book in the A Resurrection of Magic series. Sadima is born into a world where magic has all but disappeared and the only remaining magicians are charlatans and tricksters. But Sadima knows that magic is real, because of her ability to communicate with animals. When she turns 17, her father dies, and she departs to live with the intense young scholar Somiss and his servant Franklin, who both work feverishly to decode and transcribe bits of real magic that still exist. In order to help, Sadima learns to write and discovers treachery amidst her new companions. The second narrative takes place an unspecified number of years later, when more magic has returned to the world. Hahp, a boy whose wealthy father wants to get rid of him, sends him to a dark and vicious school, where the boys are told they will likely die in the process of learning the magic arts; Somiss is the school's secretive headmaster, Franklin the teacher and extreme food deprivation a primary teaching method. Hahp's tale is told in first-person while Sadima's is in third-person; Duey's world is complicated enough without the additional layer of obfuscation this structure provides. Ages 12-up. (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Gr 7 Up-Sadima grows up on a farm with only her brooding father and brother, Micah, for guidance. She can hear the thoughts and feelings of animals and meets Franklin, who believes in and encourages her. Several years later her father dies, and Sadima travels to the far city of Limori to find Franklin. He is the friend and property of Somiss, a noble in self-imposed exile, who seeks to find the old magic that has been outlawed and disappeared from the land. Both men believe that conditions will be better for the people with the return of magic and the downfall of the king. Many years later, Hahp's father, a rich merchant, leaves him at the magic academy run by mysterious and cruel Somiss. The boys are kept filthy and starving until a few master the technique of creating food from a magical stone and learn other lessons. Hahp vows to live through the training in order to seek revenge on his father and to destroy the academy. This fantasy novel is the first of a planned trilogy and follows two separate time lines using alternating chapters. Both histories are cut short at crucial points until a sequel can finish them. The characters are well developed, but the sequels will have to provide more action to fill out the story.-Corinda J. Humphrey, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.