‹ News / Book Reviews

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by A.F. Steadman – KS2 Book Review

Apr 24th 2024

This fantasy tale of adventure, friendship and battling evil is a must for all lovers of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. Skandar lives on the Mainland and dreams of becoming a Unicorn rider like his heroes from the Chaos Cup. When he finally arrives on the Island to train as a unicorn rider, a magical plot unfolds with Skandar at the centre. A mysterious, dark figure lurks in the wasteland and there are some unusual goings on which are putting the students and Islanders in danger…

Unicorns, fantasy worlds and a boarding school with selective houses…hardly a brand-new concept but Steadman’s story takes the reader on a dazzling adventure. Skandar is something of a misfit at school in Margate where he has few friends. He lives with his sister (Kenna) and his Dad but his mother has died leaving his father struggling to cope and Kenna taking Skandar under her wing. But when Skandar arrives at the Island life begins to change. Friendships form as pupils are thrust into a new and alien environment and hey begin their training hoping not to be made a ‘Nomad’.

Skandar’s priority is to bond with his newly hatched unicorn, Scoundrel’s Luck. The hatchery door doesn’t open for everyone who gets to try but thankfully for Skandar, his dream comes true and he eventually bonds with Scoundrel’s Luck. As readers, we learn that unicorns are not what we thought! From their unusual, carnivorous diet to their slightly anti-social personal habits, they are characters in their own right with friendships and personalities to boot.

Skandar and Scoundrel are different to the other students and their paired unicorns. They are the only ones linked to the banned spirit element – something they need to hide or face the dire consequences. Luckily, Skandar’s newly developing friendships are built on trust and together, he and his friends work to keep Skandar’s secret. But as a mysterious figure begins to wreak havoc and wild, unbonded unicorns are seen running, it’s time for Skandar and his friends to act!

A gripping adventure with lots of plot twists and a range of intriguing characters. This is the perfect book choice for year 5 or 6 children who love a good fantasy novel and are looking for something new and exciting. With the next book of the series (Skandar and the Phantom Rider) already published and the third set for release, it’s a series to get lost in as Skandar continues his adventures. You can find all releases from A F Steadman here.

If you are interested in receiving age-related book recommendations, our Subject Leader portal will be launched soon and will have all our top book recommendations by topic and year group. Keep your eyes peeled for announcements…