A Note and Disclaimer: In exchange for an honest review, I received a free advanced reader copy of An Unexpected Escapade. My opinions are my own. This is Book 2 of the Myth Coast Adventures series. You can read my review of Book 1, An Unexpected Adventure, here.
Genre: Middle Grade Modern Fantasy/Christian Fantasy
Author: Kandi J. Wyatt (Website)
Where to Buy: Amazon (Available April 9)
Page length: 283 pages
My Content Rating: G
Middle-schoolers Ana and Daisy have a pretty normal life in Myrtle Creek, Oregon: they love their horses, friends, anime, and coffee drinks from their favorite local coffee shop. But trouble starts to brew when a unicorn finds its way onto Daisy’s property, attracting the attention of both government agent Winston Raleigh and notorious poacher Jack Collins. Ana’s life get even more hectic when close family suffer health issues. To get through the difficult and harrowing adventure, the girls must explore what it means to trust and learn who they can rely.
What I Loved:
What I loved about An Unexpected Escapade is very similar to what I loved about An Unexpected Adventure, the first book in the series. The town of Myrtle Creek really comes across the page vividly. It’s a fabulous setting for a middle-grade adventure story and I love getting to know the community through the pages of the Myth Coast Adventures books.
I also found the themes of friendship and trust intriguing. Not only do Daisy and Ana have to learn what it means to trust each other, but also their community, other friends, and even strangers. There are strong themes of faith/Christianity in this book, which I found a little heavy-handed but not necessarily out of place, which further reinforced the exploration.
Finally, I really enjoyed Winston coming back to this story. One of the things I wanted to see more of in An Unexpected Adventure was Winston and learning who he really was. In that story, he’s painted very much as a villain and isn’t given much complexity until the very end. However, in An Unexpected Escapade, we get to meet Winston and see the world through his perspective. It is refreshing and he is a strong character in this book.
What I Didn’t Love:
I was a little disappointed in Kajri, the unicorn. We are given her point of view at a few different times, but I never felt like her point of view lent anything to the story, nor was it particularly interesting. Kajri feels a bit aloof and doesn’t seem to have a strong bond with Ana and Daisy, even though it’s her presence that causes most of the action in the story. Kajri’s lack of a bond with Ana and Daisy is particularly apparent when comparing to An Unexpected Adventure, where Steria, the dragon in the story, is much more complex, interesting, and has a strong bond with the children.
I was also a little bored with the villain of the story, Jack Collins. As poacher villains go, Jack’s fine. But his presence doesn’t really seem to reinforce or complicate the main themes in the book. He’s also not particularly fleshed out, sort of like Agent Raleigh in An Unexpected Adventure was, before we get his perspective. I don’t know if I’d want to see a story with Jack’s perspective, but a little more dimension to his character, particularly as it relates to the struggles of Ana and Daisy, would have straightened the story overall and added more stakes and tension.
Would I Recommend:
Yes. Though I was a little disappointed in certain aspects of the story, I still think An Unexpected Escapade is a worthy read, particularly for Middle-Grade aged readers who like horses and unicorn stories. I do think the characters of Ana and Daisy will be easy for younger readers to connect to, and think the dialog-heavy approach to storytelling is suited for this level of reading. I am looking forward to seeing how the author develops these characters in Book 3 of the Myth Coast Series, for sure.