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915 Reviews
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick Read, Well Written
This was a good, quick read. I started reading it to my kids before their bedtime and they kept wanting more. I finally finished reading the last six chapters to them this afternoon. The ending provided a nice twist.

The book's level makes a great step up from the Magic Tree house series by providing more indepth characters and stronger plot.

The...
Published on February 19, 2011 by Derek

versus
31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written and deeply unoriginal book
I'm sure the author's heart is in the right place, but this is one of the worst-written books I've have ever encountered. The only reason I read it all the way through is that I wanted to give it a fair chance before reviewing it here.

So now I'm done and it's time to write the review. Where should I start?

First, I do not think an editor ever saw...
Published 18 months ago by Margery L. Goldstein


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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick Read, Well Written, February 19, 2011
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This review is from: The Thirteenth Unicorn (The Ben Alderman Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This was a good, quick read. I started reading it to my kids before their bedtime and they kept wanting more. I finally finished reading the last six chapters to them this afternoon. The ending provided a nice twist.

The book's level makes a great step up from the Magic Tree house series by providing more indepth characters and stronger plot.

The dialog was quick and authenic. The narrative was very descriptive. I hope there's more to come from this author.

Very appropriate for Middle School aged kids.
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63 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An easy read with a few flaws, March 8, 2011
This review is from: The Thirteenth Unicorn (The Ben Alderman Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
The Thirteenth Unicorn is definitely written with a tween/ early teen age group in mind, which I already knew going in and so wasn't disappointed with the overall book. It does remind me a lot of the Narnia series; portal to another world, two boys and two girls, having to beat an evil witch etc, but it has enough differences (the inclusion of other fantasy elements) to keep it distinct.
I am an avid fantasy reader/ writer and look to read books that can keep the audience engaged. The author's style is easy to read and he keeps the story flowing at a fast clip; necessary for a good fantasy. I enjoyed reading it.
My only issues with the story is how fast the pivotal scenes seem to happen, without any fleshing out; battles are over in a paragraph, vital 'weapons' are retrieved without incident. It seems that these are events that could definitely benefit from a little more description. This is the only reason I felt let down.
Overall, the descriptions in the book are well thought out and give a pretty good image of the surroundings; if the author could add these kinds of decriptions to the main turning points (which are what makes a good story) in the book, it would be even better. I could see this book re-written for a more mature audience, where the author could delve into more detail about the history of Camelot, and the other worlds and races.

Necromancer (The Dark Rising)
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun read for 9 to 13 year old boys and girls, April 10, 2011
This review is from: The Thirteenth Unicorn (The Ben Alderman Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
The Thirteenth Unicorn is the story of a sister & brother who are thrust into a fantasy world through a magic portal on Grandma's farm. Grandma goes along too. While the first few pages are a bit ordinary, the book quickly gets down to the business of life on a magic plannet. It is a bit whimsical, much like "The Hobbit", but has action, interesting characters and the story like quality that we all enjoyed when others read story books to us. I think there is a place for a "light treatment" of phantasy lands with fast action pace. The book achieves all of these. I am about half way through and looking forward to reading the rest to my 8 year old daughter. I strongly recommend this book for those who read to their children or for children a little older needing this kind of fast paced adventure.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good child/young adult story, June 17, 2011
By 
Dragon Lady Ness-a "Ness" (Southwest USA, planet earth) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Thirteenth Unicorn (The Ben Alderman Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This is a very good story for children and young adults, but adults who enjoy fantasy will also be pleased. There are some grammar issues, but not nearly as many as in most free ebooks. Well worth the time to read it.
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31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written and deeply unoriginal book, May 27, 2013
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This review is from: The Thirteenth Unicorn (The Ben Alderman Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I'm sure the author's heart is in the right place, but this is one of the worst-written books I've have ever encountered. The only reason I read it all the way through is that I wanted to give it a fair chance before reviewing it here.

So now I'm done and it's time to write the review. Where should I start?

First, I do not think an editor ever saw this before it was published. The book is full of grammatical errors and malapropisms. Commas are in the wrong places throughout, and plural possessives have the apostrophe before the s instead of after it (the "dwarves's" instead of "the dwarves'"). Some of the errors are funny, like "peal off" instead of "peel off," or my favorite, "anger that was almost palatable." Palatable??? You mean palpable??? That's a cliche, but at least it's the right word.

There are lots of cliches and examples of bad writing, like "huge giant" and "young infant." Worse than that, though, is the hackneyed plot and cast of characters, a cross between C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. So we have the witch from another world who caused the blight, the coarse grumpy dwarves and the tall elegant elves, and the two boys and two girls who have to save the world, and the enchanted forest and the river and the long lake... and the big man who turns into a bear ..and the villagers storming the dwarves' gates. Not to mention the sick mother, straight from "The Magician's Nephew."

The author does not have a knack for names. Some of the place names come straight from Tolkien. Characters' names are just unoriginal: the dwarves have baby names like Hob and Nob and the elves have preppy names like Marcus and Gabriel. The author couldn't think of better names for his wizard and villain than Merlin and Mordred. Among the humans, adults are introduced by last name, and then abruptly called by their first names. The author decided not to deal with language issues, so everyone speaks English, though for comic effect the elves and dwarves don't understand American colloquialisms. The author likes informal language, like saying "The front door to the dwarve's [sic] home was busted off the hinges ..."

The story is launched through two ambitious chapters relating incidents from the deep past that relate to things that will take place in the main action. Aside from these chapters, the back-story, which is ridiculously complex and concerns characters that we never see, is talked about rather than shown. In general, action descriptions are skimpy and compressed, while much of the story is explained in conversations that are more like briefings. On the other hand, description is lavished on visits to a livestock fair and a pizza place, which have nothing to do with the plot. I bet they are drawn straight from the author's experience, while the rest of the book is drawn from things he has read.

By the way, the enemy that the heroes are fighting during most of the story are a sort of reptilian/insect horde with no motivation except to kill everything, so the elves and dwarves and humans have to kill them all instead. Yawn. With arrows (elves) and axes (dwarves).

And to top it off, the book is pervasively sexist. The girls do nothing much but break into tears. The grandmother (and honestly, how old can she be?) complains continuously about how weak and tired she is. There are no female elves or dwarves. Why are there no female elves and dwarves? Because C.S.Lewis and Tolkien lived in a male-only world in Oxford, in England, almost a century ago. There is no excuse for a modern American author to perpetuate this nonsense.

I am sorry to see that Newman has written a sequel to "The Thirteenth Unicorn," but I hope he found an editor for the next volume, and maybe some fresh ideas as well. As I said, his heart is in the right place.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always entertaining, April 3, 2013
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This review is from: The Thirteenth Unicorn (The Ben Alderman Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This book kept me on my toes. I would recommend it for kids and adults who were above their grade level as it took my daughter forever to finish it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, March 29, 2013
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This review is from: The Thirteenth Unicorn (The Ben Alderman Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I thought this was a great read. I want to dive into the next one. It kept my attention the whole way. I hope the next one can keep pace. Might be a tall order, we will see.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun story, January 24, 2013
By 
joseph gable (SAINT GEORGE, UT, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Thirteenth Unicorn (The Ben Alderman Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I really liked this story, it is fun and different than most books like it. Highly recommend this book for a fun read!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Narnia-lite, but still a fun read, April 2, 2012
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This review is from: The Thirteenth Unicorn (The Ben Alderman Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
The Thirteenth Unicorn somewhat reminds me of a poor man's Chronicals of Narnia, but I do not mean that disrespectfully. It is the story of two siblings on their grandmother's farm and discovering a portal that takes them into a magical world. It is full of action, although some of it takes place in very brief segments. Still, this is an easy to read book that is fun and enjoyable. Probably better for the younger crowd.

Like so many other indi books, I see a lot of comments about editing errors. Sure there are a few, but it will not ruin the story in any way. If you're not looking for them you will probably read right past most without noticing.

This story is very creative, easy to follow and filled with adventure.
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22 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good thing it was free!, May 23, 2011
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This review is from: The Thirteenth Unicorn (The Ben Alderman Series Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
The grammar and punctuation are terrible, and the text is rife with misspellings. It's either sloppy writing or bad editing. Dialogue exchanges between characters are also annoying. "Ben, blah blah blah," "Casey, blah blah blah," "Ben, blah blah blah"... if no one else is in the room, it seems like we could safely assume the characters are talking to each other. I have never been in a conversation in which I had to state the other person's name before every sentence! I'm glad it was free. I like tween fantasy usually, but I got annoyed at this a few chapters in and deleted it.
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