Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember
Release date: April 21st, 2016
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Genre: Young adult, romance, fantasy
After a savage attack drives her from her home, sixteen-year-old Mnemba finds a place in her cousin Tumelo’s successful safari business, where she quickly excels as a guide. Surrounding herself with nature and the mystical animals inhabiting the savannah not only allows Mnemba’s tracking skills to shine, it helps her to hide from the terrible memories that haunt her.
Mnemba is employed to guide Mr. Harving and his daughter, Kara, through the wilderness as they study unicorns. The young women are drawn to each other, despite that fact that Kara is betrothed. During their research, they discover a conspiracy by a group of poachers to capture the Unicorns and exploit their supernatural strength to build a railway. Together, they must find a way to protect the creatures Kara adores while resisting the love they know they can never indulge.
I’m so pleased that I finally read this book! I saw it on NetGalley and debated requesting it, but didn’t because I had so many other books to read. I read Unicorn Tracks as part of the June edition of #AYearAThon. The theme was LGBTQQIAAP+ books and this novel fit perfectly.
I really, like REALLY, liked this book. The world building, the mythical creatures, the characters, the amazing cover…I could honestly go on and on. I’m now kicking myself for not reading it earlier! The setting was magical. It’s the African savannah meets the world of Harry Potter. The description of the land and the animals was so beautiful. I want to go right now! Also, loved the beast/creature guide at the end! It’s such a cool addition. 🙂
The thing that stood out for me was the relationship between the main character Mnemba and Kara, the woman she’s tasked with guiding around, is natural. The attraction was there right away and yes, the relationship didn’t take much time to develop, but it still felt like it was natural. It didn’t follow an insta-love formula found in a lot of YA books nor did it jump up and down showing off is female/female romance. It handled the situation beautifully. The relationship that developed was full of support, respect and tenderness. I wish more books were written like this.
The only issue I had was the length. At around 160 pages it was too short for my liking. I wanted more from the world, more from the characters. In particular, I wanted more of what happened to Mnemba and her family dynamic to be explored. There were glimpses of opportunity, but a lot of the conflicts were resolved too quickly. Another 100 pages or so could have avoided this situation. Also, with it being on the shorter side and fast paced, I went through it too quickly. I wanted to get to the end, but also slow down because I knew the adventure would be over. Ugh! Bookish problems!
Anyway, this is a book that you need to read! Seriously, check it out because it’s a blend of some many different things that there is something for everyone!