By Platte F. Clark
Published 2013 by Aladdin
Max Spencer does not realize that he is the only person who can read the Codex of Infinite Knowability until he somehow transports himself and three other people into a future where humans are extinct and a robo-princess unicorn rules the planet. Can Max figure out a way back to his present? Can he defeat Princess the Destroyer (the aforementioned robo-unicorn)?
Okay, come on - how could I resist requesting this title? I mean, it's about evil unicorns (AWESOME), magic, and some kids who get in way over their heads. It was practically begging me to request it and read it. So, I answered the siren call. Despite its totally awesome premise, I was mostly underwhelmed by this book. It is loooooooong - and it feels as long as it is. With such a great setup and description, I expected a lot from this book - non-stop action, humor, and perhaps some heartfelt moments as well. It has a little of all of those elements, but now as many as I'd hoped for. With such a long book, there are quite a few times where the action lags, and not much is happening. The beginning is also a rather slow start to a book that should be exciting. With a title like Bad Unicorn and a cover such as this, I expected to be busting a gut from laughter pretty much the whole time I read. There were a couple of instances where I chuckled to myself, but, as a whole, I felt like the book was trying too hard to be funny. Additionally, I never paid terribly close attention to all the explanations for the magic and time travel and whatnot, but I don't think they'd hold up to scrutiny. A lot of Max's ability seems to be entirely too convenient and what isn't never seems to be fully explained. I liked that Max had companions for his journey into the future - Sarah and Dirk provide a nice contrast to Max and give his quest a greater sense of urgency. However, on the whole, I had a difficult time remaining interested in the story and am not terribly thrilled to discover it is the first in a trilogy.
I will acknowledge that it is entirely possible that the target audience for this book (middle-grade readers) may not have the same issues with the book and may find the humor to be exactly what they're looking for. This was just not a book for me.
Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.