Wonder Light is the first book in the middle grade series, Unicorns of the Mist, by R.R Russell Twig is resigned to living on a pony farm for troubled girls, despite the spooky stories she has read about the island Soon Twig discovers someone that needs her, mysterious filly that has claimed her as her own Then there is the mysterious of the wild boy in the misty woods and the terrifying screams from something that is not quite a horse Twig discovers that the island s secret is the last free unicorn herd, but not all unicorns are good.Wonder Light is a fantastic series starter The world and character building are very well done, with little bits of Twig slowly being revealed to the reader I found her personality and trials to be touching and something most middle grade and even older readers can relate to I particularly liked that even with the fantastic elements, the real life troubles of Twig are not simply swept under the carpet instead the two come together in order to help her come to terms with her life and the world in general Ben is a complicated character, with many mysteries that still need to be revealed but still makes the reader feel for him and root for him The other characters were less developed, but they did not feel neglected, rather I felt like I knew what I needed to in order to keep the story and personal connections intact but without a massive information dump that might overwhelm the heart of the story.I highly recommend Wonder Light to readers that enjoy coming of age stories, mystery, adventure, and fantasy There is a good balance of emotional and physical struggles to keep most readers turning pages and eager to see what happens next I am looking for Unicorns spooky, misty island wild boy home for troubled girls an instant read for this girl I went into R.R Russell s Wonder Light already loving the premise and am so happy to report that the book lived up to and surpassed my expectations Twelve year old Twig is sent to live on a pony ranch for troubled girls, after a dangerous incident at home involving her new step family The misty, mysterious island spooks Twig at first, but then she discovers something magical, miraculous, and marvelous a pure white, baby unicorn Ben, a wild boy from the woods, tells Twig that she must keep the baby unicorn safe from the otherworldly dangers that lurk in the woods Twig must overcome her own fears and past to protect her new home, friends, and Wonder Light the unicorn.Wonder Light is one of those magical, enchanting books that had me tingling with anticipation before I even read a word, and left me completely charmed and dazzled With a spectacularly spooky setting, wonderful storytelling, and irresistible characters, this is one fantastically fun fantasy.With a pitch perfect middle grade voice, mesmerizing atmosphere, and palpable emotion, Russell weaves a captivating and unique fantasy tale The mist shrouded island, which is equal parts eerie inviting and intriguing, provides the perfect backdrop to such a fantastical story Unicorns, magic, other worlds the lovely fantasy elements are both familiar and refreshingly spun, dark and whimsical, beautiful and frightening Part fantasy adventure and part coming of age story, Wonder Light is a grand mix of thrills, mystery, humor, heart, and wonder I loved getting swept away into and falling in love with this world with Twig Twig is such an awesome, relatable heroine I just love her wit, compassion, spunk, and spirit Twig s new home is filled with wonderful characters, from the loving Murleys to the other lovable girls and the sweet ponies And Ben, the mysterious wild boy of the woods, is such a fun, endearing character to get to know But Wonder Light, the breathtaking unicorn, really shines and stole my heart The relationship and bond between Twig and Wonder is just so gorgeous and special and heartwarming The last couple of chapters had me turning pages especially fast, desperate to know what happens The ending of book one totally thrilled and satisfied me, but definitely has me excited for book two My Final Thoughts There s so much about Wonder Light that I love the sparkling storytelling, beautiful fantasy elements, lovable characters, and so much R.R Russell has crafted a truly special and unforgettable middle grade tale, that will have readers of all ages believing in wonders and miracles [E-pub] ⚕ Wonder Light (Unicorns of the Mist, #1) ⚇ Deep In The Heart Of A Mist Shrouded Island, An Impossible Secret Is About To Be DiscoveredTwig Is Used To Feeling Unwanted Sent To Live On A Pony Ranch For Troubled Girls On A Misty, Haunted Island, Twig Is About To Discover The Impossible Someone Who Needs HerJolted Awake From A Bad Dream, Twig Follows The Desperate Whinny Of A Terrified Horse Out To The Stables There In The Straw Is A Bleating Little Scrap Of Moonbeam A Silver White Filly With Cloven Hooves And A Tiny, Spiraling HornA Baby UnicornNow Twig Knows What Secret Is Hiding In The Island S Mist The Last Free Unicorn Herd And A Mysterious Boy Named Ben Who Insists That This Impossible Creature Is Now Twig S To Care For That She Needs Twig S Love And Protection Because There S Something Out There In The Deep, Dense Shadows That S Hunting For Them This book was so hard to review I wanted to like it I mean, middle grade story about a troubled girl who finds a herd of unicorns on an island she thought was hauntedThe writing itself is okay neat and clean And I did like Twig.But there were so many issues with pacing and presentation of information, like the transformation of Twig and the way things resolved far too quickly and easily when she finally tells the truth to her step mom about the incident BTW the fact that that info was held in check for so long, then sprung at the weirdest of moments also bothered me Much of the book is like that unrealistic reactions to situations by all characters.Mainly, though, I felt the book just tackled too many things and it got jumbled Twig has a druggie mom, and dad deployed to Afganistan, and a step mom she can t stand, with step siblings she apparently doesn t get along with either Yet, none of those things are explore in any depth AT ALL The unicorn island stuff is also too large conceptually for the story itself There is a whole other dimension that is barely addressed even though it s technically the center of the conflict of the story plot.Finally, the unicorns themselves SPOILER view spoiler Read this book only if you are okay with evil, cannibalistic unicorns with retractable horns hide spoiler Two second recap With Wonder Light, R.R Russell completely reinvents the traditional image of the unicorn The results are rewarding, and a beautiful addition to the new middle grade genre Full review When people say unicorn, I typically think of one thing the neon, psychedelic, primped unicorns from Lisa Frank Or, this I blame the fact I m essentially a child of the late 80s, early 90s So when I read a synopsis describing Wonder Light as the story of a young heroine s discovery of wild, unicorns, I was intrigued I politely requested a copy from Sourcebooks, and was delighted when my request was granted Plot overview Twig is used to feeling out of place and unwanted When circumstances land her on a mysterious island that is home to a pony ranch, and a home for troubled girls, Twig struggles to fit in However, it s not long before Twig wakes up one night, and stumbles upon the one thing she never expected a baby unicorn What follows, is a thrilling, mysterious adventure, as Twig learns that she alone can help save the last unicorn herd, and protect them from the dangers lurking in the mist Things that worked The characterizationsFirst and foremost, I would say that one of the greatest strengths of Wonder Light were the characterizations R.R Russell s characters are rich, well rounded, and display a complexity that I honestly never thought I d find in a MG novel Even though Twig was a lot younger than I was, I related to her struggles, both physical and emotional, in a very universal sort of way I understood her feeling of abandonment, loss and grief And I also understood and was overjoyed when she began overcoming her emotional obstacles, to find unconditional love and acceptance for the first time I was absolutely charmed by her, and can t wait to read about her in the sequel As for the secondary characters, they were all written with the types of details both large and small which really brought them to life for me I especially loved the Murleys they re not portrayed as idealized adoptive parents Instead, Russell considerately shows their strengths and vulnerabilities, beautifully portraying their earnest desire to just love each of the girls on the ranch, as they are I actually couldn t help but think what a wonderful companion this book could be for younger readers who are in similar situations, and how this book could encourage them The setting One of my favorite parts of Wonder Light, was the world building R.R Russell is extremely adept at building up the world of Lonehorn Island, and immersing her readers into the spooky, mist filled environment that Twig move into, and encounters Let me put it another way I was reading Wonder Light while sitting in at a laundromat in 110 degree weather, and I actually felt a chill at certain points That s how rich and detailed Russell s writing is I was also frequently hungry, after reading about Mrs Murley s meals, but that s a whole other story The mythology As someone who has previous thought of unicorns as bright, fluffy creatures, I loved R.R Russell s take on their mythology They became noble, majestic, and in many ways, even human.Without giving any spoilers away, I think Carl Olson on Goodreads said it best As J.R.R Tolkien strove to free the elves from the Victorian nursery, Ms Russell succeeds in freeing unicorns from the toy store shelves R.R Russell s unicorns will have you viewing their mythology in a completely different way, and in a very unique way The plotting actionRussell plots with the practiced hand of a veteran novelist The obstacles, discoveries and action in Wonder Light flows smoothly, and sets up the book perfectly for the second installment Things that didn t work Honestly Nothing.R.R Russell s book had everything that I could want in a fantastically plotted MG book it s detailed, rich, clever, beautifully written and most importantly, it s also written in a way that s wholly accessible not only to an older reader like myself, but to a younger reader who s just getting into book for the first time THAT s talent right there Final verdict I never thought I d lose my heart to a mysterious MG novel about unicorns, but Wonder Light Unicorns of the Mist has proven me wrong R.R Russell s hardcover debut is one of those books where you ll want to recommend it to everyone, whether it s the young reader who s discovering MG books for the first time, or an older relative who loves the mysterious I think this is a book that will end up on the shelves of generations of readers, for years to come Disclaimer I received an e ARC of Wonder Light Unicorns of the Mist from Sourcebooks via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review Thank you Wonder Light is the first book in a new series that has unicorns in it Much than that, Wonder Light is the story of Twig, who is going to an island because of something that happened at home A whole circle of events has led to Twig feeling unlike herself and she keeps herself enclosed in her shell She s not sure she ll even like it on this island, where she ll learn to ride and take care of a pony and live with the Murleys, a couple that takes in troubled girls All of that changes after she sees the Wild Boy on the day she arrives on the island and who one night she sees sneaking into the stable with two white horses, leaving one and taking off into the night.What Twig finds out is that they are unicorns and after giving birth, the white horse takes off, never to be seen again More than that is that the new unicorn is in danger and only Twig must know she is what she is They bond and soon Twig finds out there is to the Wild Boy and to the island than meets the eye She must face her own fears and problems to help save her new friends and family from danger.Wonder Light really pulled me in once the unicorn plot started One of my favorite books growing up was Into the Land of Unicorns by Bruce Coville, and I felt reminiscent of that when reading Wonder Light I love the Russell blended so much realism into her fantasy world Twig has had a hard time in life for only being twelve and wants to get back to her old self I remember going through a stage in high school where I felt the same way The fantasy elements give Twig a purpose and reason to overcome her problems and to find her inner strength.I m really looking forward to seeing where Twig s next adventure takes her and don t have to wait long, because the sequel comes out in May I highly recommend Wonder Light, even if you don t love fantasy or unicorns because it tells such a great story of healing. I was pleasantly surprised by WONDER LIGHT UNICORNS OF THE MIST hereby shortened to WONDER LIGHT Having been a big fan of The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle, I was excited to see how R.R Russell would handle the portrayal of unicorns in a children s book These are not the unicorns of old, innocent and pure and for virginal maidens only Oh, sure, the archetype is there, but from the mists of Lonehorn Island, a new breed of unicorn has risen blood thirsty and murderous Such a refreshing twist Rest assured, parents, this isn t a book that will induce nightmares I ll admit, even though I am a grown woman, I was swept away by the impending doom of the wild unicorns and Twig s desperate attempts to keep the Murleys, the other girls, and the rest of the inhabitants of Lonehorn Island safe R.R Russell knows how to build suspense Twig Tupper is an excellent character and, I believe, a great role model for young girls She s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but she s smart, fiercely loyal, and compassionate The story of how she came to be at the pony ranch unfolds slowly but with perfect pacing I couldn t help but ache for her as she struggled with feelings of abandonment, loss, grief, and inadequacy, yet my heart soared when she came into her own and discovered unconditional love and acceptance, and most of all, an unshakable confidence in herself and a sense of purpose.The other characters, big and small, were also well written and I felt like I connected with most of them, especially Mr and Mrs Murley, the owners of Lonehorn Island Pony Ranch, and the guardians of the six throw away girls WONDER LIGHT doesn t glorify their roles as pseudo parents, and instead shows them as flawed but compassionate individuals doing their best to love and care for children who are not their own I loved the depth that R.R Russell gave to each character within the book, especially the Wild Boy , Ben, whose mysteriously worded letter toward the end of the story makes me eager to read the sequel Another notable aspect of WONDER LIGHT is the incredibly detailed setting and atmosphere I could picture Lonehorn Island and the yellow house on the pony ranch in my head just as clearly as if I were there Even the descriptions of the meals that Mrs Murley made had my mouth watering and my stomach grumbling in hungry protest I was incredibly impressed by this, as I feel that, far too often, these types of details are glossed over in children s books Kudos to R.R Russell for writing such a brilliant novel in a genre that is often lacking in substance Overall, WONDER LIGHT is a suspenseful, exciting read especially for children who yearn for adventure and something from their fairy tales For families who like to read aloud, this is perfectly written for bedtime story time I hope there is an audiobook of WONDER LIGHT in the futureAn advance copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This review was originally posted on BlookGirl.com on May 1st, 2013, as part of the Sourcebooks Jabberwocky Blog Tour Most children love unicorns I know I did I blame My Little Pony I loved reading horse themed books growing up, and would have loved a book for older kids centered around unicorns There s certainly an audience for WONDER LIGHT Unicorns of the Mist There are unicorns, but not quite like any you ve encountered before There s also mystery and intrigue, since the island may or may not be haunted Certainly something for everyone Twig arrives on Lonehorn Island feeling alone and miserable She s to live out the next year with the Murley family and other troubled girls after an incident that occurred back home At first, she s scared of the horse she s assigned and not thrilled with the prospect of doing chores such as mucking out his stall She s also scared by the surrounding woods On the way onto the island, she saw a ghost boy lurking in the mist One night, she can t sleep, and she sees him again And he s dropped off a horse about to go into labor Twig later finds out the truth about the boy, the unicorn masquerading as a horse, and so much Her life will never be the same again, especially when she finds out that the fate of the island and its mysterious unicorns may be in her hands.Russell builds a great environment as a safe haven for troubled girls The island and its inhabitants are just what Twig needs to come out of her shell and start blossoming in a way she couldn t in the past Twig s home life was far from perfect, and it s easy to sympathize with her The unicorn lore found in WONDER LIGHT is intriguing and unique They aren t the magical beings everyone thinks them to be, and they re also wild and vicious than they appear This is definitely a fantasy novel for older children who want than the traditional unicorns they grew up with, but still covet the whimsy of fantasy they bring to a story Readers will want to be in Twig s shoes, experiencing much of her adventure first hand. Hi, this is the author, R.R Russell.Thanks for checking out Wonder Light, the first book in the Unicorns of the Mist series The sequel, The Unicorn Thief, is coming in May 2014 Information and fun artsy stuff is now up on Or visit my author website, There were so many things that bothered me about this book that I don t really know where I can begin I guess my first problem is with the main character s name I don t remember them ever explaining why she was called Twig They did explain that her mom was a homeless druggie, so perhaps this originated from there The book starts off promising, I ll give it that When a girl is sent to a ranch for troubled girls and there s the potential for a good unicorn story, how can you go wrong Well, I guess you could read this book to find out One thing that bothered me was that the reader doesn t find out what Twig allegedly did to get booted out of her home and sent to this random island until near the end of the book, but by the time we find out, and in the circumstances in which we find out, the information isn t shocking There s too much other drama going on for the reader to even care what happened to get Twig to that ranch Twig is given charge of a pony for therapeutic purposes and although she is super scared to deal with it at first, we are supposed to believe that she has no fear dealing with a full grown unicorn when it shows up a mere few days later Also, did you know that unicorn horns are hollow and fully retractable Yup, all you have to do is give the horn a little push and it softly retreats into the unicorns skull like an antenna wire on a fancy car when it s turned off All I could think about when the characters would do this to their unicorns was someone clicking a pen, tip out, tip in, tip out, tip inOther amazing facts about unicorns that made me want to throw this book at the wall a desire I would have given into had it not been on my e reader Unicorns are omnivores, but once they start hunting meat, they just can t stop and they develop violent tendencies Once they reach a certain point in their violent development, they will start hunting people, other horses, and even other unicorns So not only are they omnivorous, they are also implied cannibals Unicorns are not magical creatures Nothing about them is magical, nothing about them ever was magical Anyone who thinks otherwise has been hopelessly deluded into believing human myth.Unicorns are extremely territorial and prone to making rivals over certain territory a problem if you happen to be a unicorn living on an island The evil unicorn running the evil herd will be able to smell its rival s offspring a year after it has been born with no prior sight or even close proximity The evil unicorn, naturally, wants to do away with said rival s offspring.Other things wrong with this book There is some kind of war going on in another world that we can get to from a tree in this world There is no back story on why the queen of the west wants to fight the ruler in the east The only important thing we need to know is the queen is forcing the unicorns to fight for her There is very little character development Twig goes from shy, I hate myself tween to strong, independent, bow shooting, sword wielding, unicorn riding girl in less than a year without any real build up and without dealing with her issues The other girls in the story also have issues, none of which are discussed at any length Their presence in this book, with the exception of one, is completely unnecessary Also, when Twig finally tells the truth to her stepmom about what happened to her stepsister, her stepmom phones stepbrother who immediately fesses up and everyone is hunky dory in one nice, little chapter And when everyone, including the adults, is confronted with an in the flesh unicorn, they all accept it with a dat gum kind of attitude Please.If you want a good unicorn book, read The Last Unicorn or Into the Land of Unicorns This book is like a horrible B movie Read it if you like that kind of stuff, but if not, then totally pass.
- Wonder Light (Unicorns of the Mist, #1)
- R.R. Russell
- 06 March 2017 R.R. Russell