Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Review :: A Plague of Unicorns by Jane Yolen

A Plague of Unicorns is a new book from New York Times bestselling author Jane Yolen. Jane Yolen has authored more than 350 books and has been the winner of several literary awards. A Plague of Unicorns is based on the author's short story "An Infestation of Unicorns" (published in her book Here There Be Unicorns).

A Plague of Unicorns is a hardcover book with a dust jacket (the dust jacket is printed with the cover image you see in the preview - the hardcover is solid olive green with a tan spine and green foiled lettering). The text is large and there are some illustrations throughout the book. (There seem to be more illustrations in the earlier chapters than there are in the later chapters.)

For me, A Plague of Unicorns was difficult to get into...and although it did pick up a bit around chapter 4, it remained a book that was just not particularly appealing to me. The chapters are relatively short, and seem to be broken up into snippets of a story rather than a continuous flow. (For example: chapter 7 has 8 marked sections in approximately 12 pages of text.) I wish A Plague of Unicorns had a glossary of terms, as there were a variety of uncommon words used without good contextual clues. (A few examples: abbot/abbey, bestiaries, pleurisy, oblate, etc.) As far as I was concerned, there was no real "action" in the story until around the last quarter of the book. That is not to say that I feel like all books should be action-packed, but the first 3/4 of A Plague of Unicorns felt rather dull and unappealing.

I was excited to have a chance to review A Plague of Unicorns and was hopeful that my kids would enjoy it as well, but my daughter (who often reads hundreds of pages in books per week) picked this book up and returned it shortly thereafter, unfinished. My son still intends to try it...time will tell what he thinks of it.

Obviously, with over 350 books and a variety of awards under her belt, Jane Yolen has a good fan base. Although A Plague of Unicorns is not a book I plan to read again, there are others out there who might enjoy it. 
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

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