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review 2014-10-19 18:20
Review of The Young Unicorns by Madeleine L'Engle
The Young Unicorns - Madeleine L'Engle

The Young Unicorns by Madeleine L'Engle is the third book in the Austin Family series. After moving to New York city, Dr. Wallace Austin begins research on a new device that will pave the way for major advancements in the field of medicine. Though he is unaware of this, there are those that would want to misuse this technology and his children are put at risk by people who want to get their hands on it. One friend to his children finds himself caught up right in the middle of this conspiracy with both sides vying for his assistance. He's not sure who to trust and by the time he figures it out, it may be too late.

 

This book is mainly a mystery thriller with some light science fiction mixed in and I thought it was an ok read. I think I did enjoy it more than the first two Austin books, though those two were more realistic fiction. It's not necessary to read the first two Austin books before reading this one unless you want some background on the characters. This book does connect with The Arm of the Starfish though and has a bit of character crossover so I'd recommend reading that book first, but again it's not entirely necessary. This book is in fact very similar to The Arm of the Starfish. Both books feature the head of the family making some sort of scientific breakthrough that ends up putting their family at risk as well as the world at large and someone connected to the family ends up caught in the middle of it and playing a major role. I should note that there aren't any actual unicorns in this book or anything in the book that would give me a clue as to why it was titled the way it was.

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review 2011-05-20 00:00
The Young Unicorns - Madeleine L'Engle I remember the day in sixth grade when Sr. Julie sat down on her wooden stool in the front of the class and began to read Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. Little did she know that she would open the door to a new world of reading for me, one that would stay open long after I reached adulthood and was no longer ordering books out of the paper "book day" pamphlets.Even as a teenager (and an older teen at that), my Christmas wishlist included a list of Madeleine L'Engle books culled from the list at the front of the books I already owned. My mother spent many a day at our local bookstore, since forced out of business by industry giants and online dealers, filling out "out of print" orders. I spent an entire Christmas day on the couch, on my side facing the back of the couch, devouring this book.::: The Story :::The Young Unicorns is what I refer to as a crossover book in L'Engle's repertoire. Some of her series deal strictly with reality and others deal more with science-fiction and fantasy themes. The Young Unicorns one falls squarely in the middle. While it is part of the Austin Family series, which is a reality-based series, it never really belonged there for me, feeling more like L'Engle's novels like A Wrinkle in Time.When we meet up with the Austins this time, the family is living in New York City while the family patriarch is on a year's sabbatical as a research scientist. The Austins are living in an apartment upstairs from an eccentric professor and his blind child prodigy daughter, Emily. One day on their way home from school, the Austins and Emily rub a lamp they find at a thrift store and meet a genie, which draws them closer and closer to a plot that involves science gone wrong and a plot to overtake the city that involves the Episcopal cathedral (St. John the Divine), Dr. Austin's research work, and Dave Davidson, Emily's tutor.::: The Morals of the Story :::As a teen, I was drawn into the plot, fantastic as it was, even at the time. As an adult rereading the book (and I have reread it often) the plot at times seems far-fetched, but L'Engle's writing always draws me in, making you believe in events that probably could never happen. In light of recent news items about the Catholic Church, you begin to realize that no church is without its politics and secrets.Even more fascinating, though is the theme of science being misused for power. At the time the book was written, the events must have seemed preposterous. With today's ethical quandries being cloning and genetic engineering, the possibilities for scientific developments being misappropriated and used for personal gain rather than the good of humanity rings especially true.I still find myself rereading this book on a rainy day, and my paperback version is tattered and well-worn. I still feel that, while not one of her absolute best books, there are definitely morals to this story that I hope my daughter can appreciate. I bought the hardcover and put it away for her. I would recommend it for an older reader, more in the middle school to junior high range, based on some violence and the subject matter.This review originally published on Epinions: http://www.epinions.com/review/Book_The_Young_Unicorns_The_Austin_Family_Chronicles_Book_3_Madeleine_L_Engle/book-review-3EB1-7A21ED8-3A2E9EC1-prod1
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review 2011-03-23 00:00
The Young Unicorns (Austin Family Chronicles)
The Young Unicorns - Madeleine L'Engle My L'Engle reviews seem to have a theme: complaining noises followed by assertions why said complaints are meaningless in view of the whole, and a reference to love as the universal solvent. This book is no different. I'm unable to keep from rolling my eyes when Rob, age 7, pipes up with a malapropism followed with an erudite comment on the second movement of some obscure 12th century piece of music which he knows by heart. The plot here is so unrealistic it would be laughable in anyone else's hands. The scary laser? The tough, gun-toting 'hoods' with the third-grade name? The hysteria about what L'Engle insisted on calling "pot" and "acid" to further distance herself from them? The villains are one-dimensional. Wait for it... Yeah, not a bit of this matters. Honest. Just doesn't matter. The preachifying, the transparent manipulation? Just doesn't matter. Somehow, L'Engle transcends all of that, sucks you in, makes you believe, and holds your hand throughout. Her unvarying theme- love, love, love- makes the Austins real, makes Canon Tallis true, makes the Rabbi lovable, makes your heart pound at all the right places. It's a wonderful book. Put that in the pocket of your scorflam jacket and take it to the bank.
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review 2008-09-02 00:00
The Young Unicorns - Madeleine L'Engle Except for House like a Lotus, there is not a L’Engle I have read I don’t like. Young Unicorns is no exception. [June 2008]
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