‘Unicorne Files: Alexander’s Army’ by Chris D’Lacey a thrilling kids book


Rating: 5 stars

A good series is one that leaves the reader aching for the next entry. Chris D’Lacey did that quite well with “A Dark Inheritance,” the first book in the series called “Unicorne Files,” named for the secret organization that works with the unusual, the other-worldly.

This story picks up right after the first book with Michael still reeling from the death of his friend, Freya. Now she’s not really dead, but undead. She can turn into a crow, and she’s not happy about her state of being. Neither is Michael. Unfortunately, he is able to create universe shifts — in moments of stress, he thinks about what he’d like to have happen (live instead of die, for example) but he is actually able to shift the universe (reality shift) to work with his thoughts.

Michael is not able to control his power — hence the fact that his friend is not completely dead and can change into a crow. This is not a good thing, as his friends, or co-agents, at Unicorne tell him. In this book, things get even weirder. Michael meets someone who has created an army out of playing cards. An imaginary army — or are they?

The series is great for middle grade readers who love adventure, scifi, and fantasy. It is certainly fantastical — just as D’Lacey’s dragon books were. The action is non-stop, the characters are well created and familiar, and the fantasy — the world shifts — are fascinating and thrilling to read about.

D’Lacey is skilled at painting scenes with words, and it’s easy to imagine the people and places in the story. Michael’s first person narration is spot-on, and the reader doesn’t know what Michael doesn’t know. That’s frustrating, at times, but it certainly adds to the sense of suspense.

Action, adventure, mystery, science fiction and fantasy all combine for a fabulous read for kids from fourth grade through eighth (and their parents and older siblings).

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by Scholastic Press for review purposes.