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I Belong

Review: A Dark Inheritance by Chris D’Lacey

A Dark InheritanceTitleA Dark Inheritance

AuthorChris D’Lacey

Genre: Fantasy

Series: UNICORNE Files (Book #1)

Publication Date: December 30, 2014

Format: Paperback, 304 Pages

ISBN-100545608783 (Scholastic Press)

ISBN-13978-0545608787 (Scholastic Press)

Reviewed by: Kaitlin


When Michael Malone unexpectedly saves a dog’s life, he discovers something extraordinary: He can alter reality. He is quickly recruited by UNICORNE, a secret organization dedicated to investigating strange and paranormal phenomena. He agrees to join under one condition: UNICORNE must help him find his father, who vanished three years ago.

Michael’s first task is to solve the mystery of the dog he saved — a mystery that leads him to an eccentric and sickly classmate and a young girl who was killed in a devastating accident. But the deeper Michael ventures into the strange world of UNICORNE, the quicker danger seems to find him. Is Michael strong enough to harness his newfound ability, complete the tasks set before him, and find his father?

Quick & Dirty: A slightly confusing but unique first novel that captured my interest without really connecting to me.

Opening Sentence: It was the day Mom took the coast road to school.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Michael’s family is pushing themselves through the grief of the loss of his father. When they take an alternate route to school the next day to escape a flood, he saves a dog that was seemingly about to commit suicide off a cliff. Michael exhibits a rush of superhuman speed and powers that suggest he is more than the ordinary boy, which quickly catches the attention of an organization called UNICORNE, that invests in supernatural activity. More surprising still, his father was a part of it. In order to help a ghost girl find peace and set things right where he lives, Michael must delve into parts of himself he didn’t know existed. And maybe, just maybe, he could find his dad at the end of it all.

This author has a previous series called The Last Dragon. I’m sure you’ve seen the covers at one point, with the dragon’s eyes peering up at you and a scaly background, in all different colors? I read most of them, and let me tell you, they just get more and more confusing as they go on. The first I enjoyed, as did the second and third. I went so far as to order the whole series from the library and try to marathon them in my youth, but in the end, the things that happened were too odd and confusing and strange for me to continue. Maybe it was my age. Nevertheless, I knew many people enjoyed these books (why else would there be seven?!) so I forged ahead and began to read this one, hoping for a better outcome.

I will say that D’Lacey’s books have plenty of originality. His first series, while odd, was super interesting and unique. This one had that same spark, because no one done anything quite like it before. We’ve got Michael’s strange powers, the trust issues with this UNICORNE organization, the connections between a dog and a dead owner, cellular memory… It’s all rather intriguing. But it’s also all rather jumbled together. Though (thankfully!) I mostly understood this book, it’s sort of difficult to get through such a dense plotline with the readers having to draw more inferences then it being explained. I’m all for showing and not telling, but if the plotline is as strange and new as this one, I’d like a little clarification of whether my thoughts about just went down were correct.

Though the overall concept was fun and the characters were interesting, there was still a disconnect I felt between me and the book. I couldn’t really connect to the plot and my emotions weren’t in tune with the characters. Yeah, I finished it, and it was good enough, but I just wasn’t invested enough to say I loved it. I think that others, particularly fans of D’Lacey’s others books who enjoy his writing style, would have lots of fun with this novel. But me? I didn’t get into it. Wasn’t connected to the characters or moved by the suspense, action, romance… And I found the way the plotline was structured a little weird and confusing.

Notable Scene:

“Wh-where are you taking me?”

“That won’t matter till we get there. Hold tight.”

She kicked away the stand.

“What? What’s he doing?” Garvey screeched. “Hambleton is gonna go nuts.” But the wind was already in my face, and school now seemed a tame alternative. We sped away, mocking the lines of traffic, and headed off into the flickering sunlight. I had no idea what was waiting for me. All I could think about was holding the girl and breathing her scent, which only seemed to add to her air of mystery — that and the creature inked on her shoulder. Just below the blowing collar of her dress was a small tattoo. As we slowed for a traffic light, I let go with one hand and touched a finger against the design, feeling the shock of her smooth white skin. She parted her lips and looked back, but said nothing. I took my hand away as we picked up speed, thinking about the book I’d been reading, how the tattoos found on The Illustrated Man were still by day but alive by night, foretelling grisly tales of death. What story did this creature tell? I wondered.

Who was the girl with the rearing black unicorn on her shoulder?


1. A Dark Inheritance

2. Alexander’s Army


FTC Advisory: Scholastic Press provided me with a copy of A Dark Inheritance. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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Review: A Dark Inheritance by Chris D'Lacey, 7.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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