Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords was written by Laura Ellen Anderson and first published in 2018. It’s a middle grade fantasy novel, set it a world populated by friendly monsters. The novel is the second book of the Amelia Fang series and carries on exactly where Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball (2017) left off. Due to this, I would recommend that you read these novels in sequence in order to have a full appreciation of what’s going on.

Now that they know that there is nothing to fear from the Creatures of the Light, Amelia and her friends prepare to travel to their strange lands in search of Fairyweather La Floofle, Prince Tangine’s long-lost mother. However, they know that they must travel in disguise. The Creatures of the Light are just as afraid of them and will certainly run away in fright if they see a vampire, a grim reaper and a rare breed of yeti wandering through the forest.

The Kingdom of the Light is like nothing that they have ever seen before. Creatures sleep at night, wells grant wishes and every meal is full of sugar. After befriending a leprechaun named McSparkle, they learn that Fairyweather isn’t the only missing creature. A number of others have also recently disappeared and the Unicorn Lords are blaming the Creatures of the Dark.

To get to the root of the problem, they travel to dazzling city of Glitteropolis where they uncover a shocking plot to spread fear across the lands. Can they possibly rescue Tangine’s mother without giving their identities away?

As you might remember, I was really impressed by Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball when it was released last year. It was just a charming novel that could easily be enjoyed by middle grade and young teen readers. I’m pleased to say that this sequel is even better still. It contained everything that I enjoyed about the first book, but also presented a story that was both longer and wider in scope than the original.

Now that Amelia and her friends have discovered that the Creatures of the Light are nothing to be feared, there is opportunity for them to explore an entirely new realm. In the previous book, we saw that the Kingdom of the Dark was a world of friendly horror monsters – where creatures came out at night and enjoyed some humorously disgusting pastimes. The Kingdom of the Light is its polar opposite. While both worlds are totally none threatening, this world is sickeningly saccharine. It’s bright and cheerful, filled with unicorns and candy and rainbows. There’s something just endearingly sweet about the entire setting that really made the book a joy to read.

I really breezed through the story, devouring it in just two sittings, and I was glad that this time I bought a physical copy. The book is really nice quality, with foil lettering on the cover and purple edges to the pages (complementing the orange edges of the first book). The novel is also well worth buying for Anderson’s illustrations. These really do add a lot the story, especially as it’s a little light on descriptions. The pictures are cute and lively, illustrating some of the novel’s most entertaining scenes.

The plot of Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords felt a lot better structured than the original. While Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball had some nice twists, this novel does a better job of building up the mystery of why the Creatures of the Light are disappearing. Although Amelia comes across a series of clues that lead her to the answer, the conclusion still comes as a nice surprise and the villain’s plan makes a lot of sense.

While the previous novel touched upon why it’s important not to judge people based on their appearances, this novel focuses on this theme a lot more. It makes clear that you shouldn’t believe rumours about people (even if those rumours are perpetuated by people in positions of authority) and should take the time to get to know them yourself. It also subtly presents the importance of learning about other cultures – how it’s important to try new things and be civil to people even if you find their culture to be strange. I really liked how the novel illustrated these ideas and think it would be a really good way to help to start a discussion with a young reader.

My only small gripe with the story was that it occasionally felt a little rushed. Although it’s a bit longer than Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball, it’s still a pretty short novel and its fast pace meant that the characters hurried from location to location. This was especially noticeable over the climax, where everything seemed to be resolved very quickly.

However, at least the novel did end well. While the back of the book promises that at least one more instalment is to come, this series could be neatly closed off by this book. It resolves the lingering plot thread about Tangine’s mother and wrapped up this stage of Amelia’s adventures in a way that felt both natural and final.

In terms of character, there wasn’t a lot of growth to be found. All of the core cast learned not to judge people based on their appearances in the first book, and Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords doesn’t really add anything to this. Although still a little wary of the Creatures of the Light, they all know now that they are not dangerous and Tangine is starting to feel a lot more comfortable in his friendship group. Yet this novel does give every character a larger role to play. As they move deeper into the Kingdom of the Light, every character (but especially Florence) reveals that they have unexpected talents which help get them out of sticky situations.

There are also a lot of new characters introduced in this book, as the cast has expanded to include creatures like unicorns, leprechauns and angel kittens. This adds an entirely new feel to the story as these characters are quite different to the monsters that we have grown used to. While nowhere near as disgusting, they still have a few very strange characteristics – such as McSparkles’s instinctive desire to dance around campfires.

Anyhow, I think I’ve probably said enough. I really found Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords to be a joy to read and would recommend it to any young reader. While this felt like it could be an ending to the series, I am glad that Anderson has decided to write more stories and really can’t wait to see what she thinks up next.

Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords can be purchased as a Paperback, eBook and Audio Book on Amazon.co.uk

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Amelia Fang and the Memory Thief | Arkham Reviews
  2. Trackback: The Sobeks 2018 – Part 1 | Arkham Reviews
  3. Trackback: Amelia Fang and the Half-Moon Holiday | Arkham Reviews

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