Skandar and the Unicorn Thief
Four months on from reading it, Skandar and the Unicorn Thief is still my book of the year and I can't imagine anything is going to overtake it.
I finally feel like I know how it felt to be an adult reading Harry Potter to their children for the first time, as I read Skandar with my daughter and it was so hard to resist reading ahead once she went to bed! We ended up reading this book at all times of the day once the holidays started, which really shows how much we were both enjoying it.
Skandar and the Unicorn Thief offers a great twist on a creature that's prolific in children's literature and fairy tales. You won't have encountered unicorns like this before, part blood thirsty beast (there's always a good gory description whenever you're starting to forget how brutal they are!) part magical race horse, Steadman's take on unicorns is as brilliant as it is unique (although my My Little Pony fan did have to get over the fact that they're technically "alicorns not unicorns" when we first started reading!)
This book will have children all over the country wishing they could take their Hatchery exam and try the Hatchery door, as well as deciding which of the five elements they think they'd be best aligned to. And if that wasn't enough to prompt games of unicorn racing in the playground, there's also all the brilliant names to consider.
These unicorns definitely aren't just for girls either and I think the striking red cover does a good job of emphasising that this book will have universal appeal. Skandar and the Unicorn Thief is packed full of action, friendship and brilliant twists.
We've preordered the Independent Bookshop special edition, and can't wait to pick it up in a few weeks (and then maybe start reading all over again...)