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The Frozen Unicorn by Alice Hemming

Title: The Frozen Unicorn

Author: Alice Hemming

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Scholastic UK

Published: 1st April 2022

Format: Paperback

Pages: 384

Price: $16.99

Synopsis: When a usually prosperous kingdom is caught in the grasp of a cruel winter, the community is thrown into terrible poverty. As winter continues and becomes known as the Dark Curse plaguing the land – against all odds some families start to flourish again – showing wealth and comfort that seem to have appeared from nowhere. As if by magic. But lurking beneath the surface is a frightening truth: that soon after a family miraculously pulls themselves out of poverty, they lose one of their own: a sister, a mother, an uncle, a son. In a bid to save herself from this terrible fate, a young girl called Violet flees the kingdom. But curses can never be out-run, and years later, Violet hears the rumour of a terrible winter once again spreading across the kingdoms!

  • The Midnight Unicorn has sold almost 30,000 copies since August 2019.
  • The Darkest Unicorn has sold over 10,000 copies since March 2020.
  • A brand-new fairy tale for young people today – a classic-in-the-making with a modern twist.
  • Gripping story of magic, bravery and fighting for what’s right
  • Featuring an inspiring young heroine, an enslaved magical unicorn and a dark curse that threatens everyone.
  • Perfect for fans of Disney’s Twisted Tales

From back of book: Long ago, a cruel winter plagued the land and people started to mysteriously disappear. A girl called Violet heard all the stories and the rumours that an evil unicorn was behind it all. Years later when a terrible winter descends once more. Violet’s True Love, Nicolas, goes missing. Realising that the old stories must be true, Violet embarks on a risky journey to the Far North, not only leaving behind her home, but her family and wealth too. The journey will push her to her limits, yet she will also find help, friendship, and comfort in the most unlikely places. And one thing is for sure: Nicolas is out there, and he needs Violet’s help.

But how long will he survive in the bitter cold of winter?

~*~

Violet and Nicolas have known each other for years, but it is only during a deep, dark winter when they’re sixteen that they realise they are each other’s True Love. Amidst this winter, Nicolas goes missing, rumoured to have been taken away by the Frozen Unicorn. Unlike most unicorns, the Frozen Unicorn is evil, and the stories about him terrify everyone in Violet and Nicolas’s village. When Nicolas disappears after the dance, Violet heads off under Madame Verger’s advice to find him – and finds that there are many who will help her – trolls who give her clothes, fairies who teach her to skate, and a mysterious unicorn who could be a clue to finding Nicolas. Yet all is not what it seems, and it will take all of Violet’s strength to defeat those who are destroying lives – and someone close to home could be behind it all.

Following a strong fantasy and fairytale tradition, The Frozen Unicorn has all the hallmarks of a fairytale: a quest, a curse, true love, and magic, not to mention a unicorn. It has a witchy character in disguise, guides who help the heroine, and has echoes of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen and other wintry tales. I loved that it centred a female character, allowing Violet and her choices and their consequences to drive the story. This move, which is becoming increasingly common in fantasy, shows that girls are just as active and important characters as the boys – that they don’t just need to be the passive princess, waiting to be rescued. Instead, they do the rescuing.

I was drawn to this book with its premise of unicorns, magic, and curses, as this is something that I enjoy in my fantasy books, and think it was executed well in this story by Alice Hemming. Her incorporation of fairytale tropes and traditions allows readers to dive right into the story as there is something recognisable in it that gives the new and vibrant story something to build off and become its own entity as the story grows and develops. Whilst it follows a typical fairytale path of events in the story, The Frozen Unicorn is its own story, sitting amongst a tradition of wonderful fantasy stories and series. It brings something new and unique to the quest story genre too and ensures that readers are enthralled each step of the way as Violet learns much about herself as she goes on the journey to save Nicolas. Any good story has a solid villain and some tricky stumbling blocks for the heroine, and the way Alice Hemming brings these into the story is exceptional and cleverly done. I loved the way she executed it and brought the truth to light at the end of the novel.

Another great novel that many will hopefully enjoy.

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