In the sixth novel in Anne McCaffrey's classic series, Acorna travels far into space, searching for Aari, her beloved life-mate. Her quest leads her, however, into the tentacles of a far-flung conspiracy that threatens to thwart her plans and even destroy her.
McCaffrey (the Pern series) and Scarborough (The Healer's War) offer another readable, lightweight cross between fantasy and SF in their latest novel about Acorna, the Unicorn Girl. A member of the Linyaari, a humanoid race with horns in the middle of their foreheads, Acorna continues to hunt for her beloved life-mate, Aari, who disappeared in Acorna's Search (2002). She travels aboard the starship Condor to the planet Makahomia, which she finds in the grip of a plague killing the sacred Temple cats. Acorna fights a desperate rearguard action against the plague with her horn's healing power, but the mystery clearly lies deeper. With the aid of both Condor shipmates, who include the Temple cat Roadkill (aka RK), and local Makahomians, among them shape-changing priests who can turn into cats, Acorna strives to prevent disaster. She ends up somewhat closer to Aari's trail through space and time, but clearly with several books worth of adventures to go before she reaches him. While it's not up to the highest level of either author's work, this installment will certainly engage long-time readers of the series. And don't overlook its being a feast for cat lovers! (Feb. 1) FYI: Scarborough's The Healer's War won a Nebula award. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Unicorn girl Acorna, having just come from exploring the mysteries of her people's former home world, Vhiliinyar, where her lifemate, Aarie, was lost in the mists of time, now signs for another voyage with the scavenger captain Jonas Becker. This time they are journeying to the home world of bodyguard Nadhari Kando, trying to find a link between Makahomia's temple cats and the lost pahaaritiyirs of Vhiliinyar while also trying to locate the missing Aarie. When they reach Makahomia, they are forced to deal with Nadhari's cousin, a priest determined to force Makahomia out of its agrarian ways and into the technological universe by any means necessary, including killing the sacred cats. This sixth book in the Acorna series is the fourth that McCaffrey has cowritten with Scarborough. For a series with such an unlikely sounding premise-a humanoid girl with a unicorn's horn and hoofed feet who ends up using her healing powers to alter the fates of several worlds-the books about Acorna are beginning to develop into a well-fleshed-out universe. Although parts of the plot are too easily wrapped up, the book moves quickly. There is very little strong language, a few references to sexual abuse, and some mild violence. A good selection for a light, adventurous read, it is recommended for libraries with the rest of the series, although readers should be warned that some major plot issues are not resolved by the end, paving the way for book seven. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P S A/YA (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2003, Eos/HarperCollins, 308p,
On a quest for her missing lifemate, Aari, Acorna and her feline companion, the Temple cat known as RK, make an unscheduled stop on the tropical planet Makahomia, the home of the Temple cats. There, Acorna discovers a sinister plot against the sacred cats and the planet itself, as well as clues that could lead her to Aari-or to her death. Fans of the popular series by veterans McCaffrey ("Dragonriders of Pern" series) and Scarborough (The Healer's War) featuring the "unicorn-girl" Acorna should enjoy this fast-paced, well-plotted tale of a young woman's compassion and determination. Purchase where the series has a following. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/02.] Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Alert for SF cat lovers: Acorna, the telepathic teen with the unicorn's horn, rescues a planet of felines and warring humans, both menaced by a plague. In the McCaffrey franchise fifth volume, Acorna busies herself with repairing Vhiliinyar, the planet of the unicorn people who are Acorna's ancestors. Vhiliinyar was almost destroyed by the bug-like Kleevi, but after the discovery of a subterranean city and its time machine (Acorna's Search, 2002, etc.), it will be easier to restore its fragile ecological balance. Some loose ends remain: While Aari, Acorna's heart-throb, has yet to emerge from the time machine, two Wats-crude unicorn-hunters urped up from the distant past-must be taken somewhere they won't cause harm. Acorna agrees to accompany the Wats, with Starship Condor's Captain Jonas Becker; the android MacKenZ; the female security guard Nadhari Kando; and the fiesty tomcat Roadkill to the planet Nirii, where telepathic inhabitants might help them adjust to life in the galactic Federation. But the ship founders and is rescued by a passing vessel that tows it to Makahomia, the homeworld of Nadhari and RoadKill. Populated by worshipped cats and warring humans, Makahomia is protected by the Federation: no new technologies may be introduced that will give any clan an advantage. Roadkill reveals that he sabotaged the ship in order to bring Acorna to Makahomia so that the seemingly magical powers of her horn could stop the plague that's been killing cats. As the cats inexplicably get better, Acorna finds herself a target of evil forces that want to kill off both cats and humans so as to rob one of the planet's religiously venerated natural resources. To save the world, Acorna must find away break the Federation's rules.
Ho-hum dialogue and shoddy world-building will turn off all but series fans (who will thrill to former McCaffery collaborator Margaret Ball's tedious appendix about the fake language the characters speak) and cat-fantasy readers, who will adore the cloyingly cute passages about heroic felines.