Song of the Unicorns, Chapter 1: Reintroducing the Party

It’s been at least a month since Trial by Fire. We know this because Dreamer is getting a checkup, and Dr. Fletcher remarks that he’s big for a three-month-old wolf. (Dreamer must have been at least one and a half months old to have survived on his own before the party found him.)

Among other continuity-related things, we learn that Emily is thirteen fourteen years old. Originally I took this to mean that Emily celebrated a birthday in-between books, but the new character bios on the Avalon Facebook page reveal that Emily’s birthday is in April. So this means she’s been thirteen fourteen throughout the entire damn series. And since all the party members had birthdays before the series even started, Adriane and Kara should be thirteen fourteen as well. Of course, if they’re fourteen (as they are in the new edition) … aren’t they a little old to be in the seventh grade? And wouldn’t they all be fifteen by the series’ end?

Argh … dealing with the specifics of continuity gives me a headache.

Anyway, Dreamer’s none too pleased with getting his immunizations. Luckily, Emily’s around to calm him down by casting Remove Fear (which she apparently learned between books). Adriane mentions that she’s been training Dreamer very rigorously over the past month-or-so. Dreamer now communicates with the party by sending images and rather simple sentences. Of course, he’s not the only one experimenting with psychic messages: Ozzie’s been using his new Ferret Stone to do the same.

Before Emily, Adriane, Ozzie, and Dreamer return to Ravenswood, Dr. Fletcher asks Adriane what became of Stormbringer, and reminds Emily to consider her father’s invitation to spend the winter break with him and his new wife. Adriane and Emily both get kinda mopey, but for different reasons.

Back at Ravenswood, the girls put out feed for the animals. It looks like all the refugees made it back to Aldenmor, because there’s no mention of special diets for pegasi and quiffles and other weird animals. The readers get a massive recap of the last six books — remember, this book was originally the start of a separate Avalon series, so it assumes you didn’t read Web of Magic — and we learn that the party hasn’t heard from their friends on Aldenmor in weeks.

Emily is not happy about the prospect of meeting her new stepmother. She’s pissed that she wasn’t invited to the wedding, and that she has to deal with a new mother figure. Meanwhile, Adriane voices her frustrations over training Dreamer. Her replacement wolf acts like a wild animal and wants to hunt the animals on the preserve. In the new edition, Adriane also has a serious case of survivor’s guilt: she wishes she could cast Heal, believing that that could’ve saved Stormbringer.

And then Ariel shows up with a distressing message: Kara is out of control. Oh great.

A major error I’d like to point out: Ozzie says that it’s 70 degrees in New Mexico. Assuming that this book takes place in December (since Dr. Fletcher mentions winter vacation), Ozzie’s forecast is way off the mark. The high today in Carlsbad, New Mexico (where the party will eventually hang out) is 42 degrees. That’s about the same as it is in Philadelphia. So the party shouldn’t be expecting balmy, summer weather.

Status Update!
Emily learned: Remove Fear!

EDIT: Changes in the e-book edition

  • Dr. Fletcher accuses Emily of ordering “special” pet food online, instead of via e-mail.

Next time: Kara makes everything better.



  1. I think the whole thing about the weirdness with the ages is some mix-up with the revising. In the original edition they were in seventh grade and twelve/thirteen, and I think in the new edition they’re supposed to be in eighth grade and thirteen/fourteen (doesn’t explain the birthday thing, as Emily should still be thirteen at this point if her birthday is in April, but wev). The only time their grade is mentioned (I believe) was in All That Glitters, so if someone missed that when revising it just threw off the whole series.

    Just a wild stab in the dark, but that’s what I think.

    1. The grade the girls are in is only mentioned three times in the series (as far as I recall):

      * Circles in the Stream (new edition only): Emily laments not being able to enter the seventh grade with her friends in Colorado, and worries about not fitting in at Stonehill Middle School. Her old school started middle school with seventh grade; Stonehill starts at sixth grade.

      * All That Glitters: OMG Kara needs the best outfit ever for the first day of seventh grade.

      * Full Circle: The girls are at their graduation dance; Kara talks about going to Washington, DC, before entering high school.

      So there’s either some weird time skip that happens in the series, or an editor totally missed that the girls are in the seventh grade.

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