ARC Review – Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by A.F. Steadman

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Title: Skandar and the Unicorn Thief

Author: A.F. Steadman

Publication Date: May 3, 2022

Genre: Middle-Grade Fantasy

Number of Pages: 448

Skander and the Unicorn Thief


From Goodreads: Skandar Smith has always yearned to leave the Mainland and escape to the secretive Island, where wild unicorns roam free. He’s spent years studying for his Hatchery exam, the annual test that selects a handful of Mainlander thirteen-year-olds to train to become unicorn riders. But on the day of Skandar’s exam, things go horribly wrong, and his hopes are shattered…until a mysterious figure knocks on his door at midnight, bearing a message: the Island is in peril and Skandar must answer its call.

Skandar is thrust into a world of epic sky battles, dangerous clashes with wild unicorns, and rumors of a shadowy villain amassing a unicorn army. And the closer Skandar grows to his newfound friends and community of riders, the harder it becomes to keep his secrets—especially when he discovers their lives may all be in graver danger than he ever imagined.


Thank you, Simon and Schuster Canada, for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief was a fun book, but it took me a while to read. It was action-packed and full of adventure, but things took a while to pick up. It was full of friendship, and it had moments that left me on the edge of my seat. Even though it wasn’t my favourite book, I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series when it comes out.

I want to start out by talking about the characters. I thought that Skandar was a great main character. He was curious, determined, a little bit headstrong, and fit well into the chosen one trope. I loved Bobby, and I loved that she wanted to be the very best, even though she wasn’t from the Island. I liked Flo, even though she was very reluctant about everything that was going on. I felt bad for Mitchell and his desire to be seen as worthy in his father’s eyes. I also liked the friendship between these characters, and I hope their friendship continues throughout the series.

I liked the unicorns and magic system in this book. To a certain extent, every person who gets to be a unicorn rider is a bit of a chosen one because only a handful of people are destined to become a unicorn rider. I liked the elemental magic system, mostly because it was easy to understand. I thought the magical training school for unicorn riders was quite cool and I liked the idea of all the treehouses. I also like the idea of magical boarding schools in general, and that’s essentially where this book took place.

This book was predictable, and it was full of tropes. The four main characters all fit into a typical trope. It had the good-versus-evil trope. The elemental magic system wasn’t super unique. However, despite this and not being unique, I enjoyed it. Sometimes it’s nice to pick up something predictable where you know what’s going to happen.

Rating: 3.5 Stars!

Copy of Divide



  1. […] I’m going to go with the villain from the last book I finished, Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by A.F. Steadman. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I hope the Unicorn Thief never gets to enjoy cheese again. If you’re interested, here’s my review of Skandar and the Unicorn Thief. […]

  2. […] I haven’t been paying as much attention to upcoming releases lately, which my wallet is thankful for. One book that I’m looking forward to is Skandar and the Phantom Rider by A.F. Steadman. I read Skandar and the Unicorn Thief last year, and I enjoyed it enough to be excited for the sequel. If you’re curious, here’s my review of Skandar and the Unicorn Thief. […]

  3. […] In Skandar and the Unicorn Thief, thirteen year olds are tested to see if they qualify to train as a unicorn rider. If they make it, they travel to the island and start their training. Unicorn riding involves flying and battles, but it also involves the general care for the magical creatures like grooming and training them. I prefer to keep both of my feet on the ground, but this does sound like an exhilarating career. If you’re interested, here’s my review of Skandar and the Unicorn Thief. […]

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