Nobody knew where it had come from, or what it wanted. Not even Jaive, the sorceress, could fathom the mystery of the fabled beast. But Tanaquil, Jaive's completely unmagical daughter, understood it at once. She knew why the unicorn was there: It had come for her. It needed her. Tanaquil was amazed because she was the girl with no talent for magic. She could only fiddle with broken bits of machinery and make them work again. What could she do for a unicorn?
Tanaquil, whose only talent is the ability to fix things, lives in the isolated desert palace of her mother, the sorceress Jaive. When an inquisitive peeve--one of the palace pets--unearths a cache of strange, sparkling bones, Tanaquil uses them to piece together a unicorn's skeleton. A stray blast of Jaive's magic brings the creature to life, and it escapes to the desert, followed by Tanaquil and the peeve. Free at last from her mother's wizardry, Tanaquil embarks on a series of adventures that culminate in the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. A magical journey that mirrors a teenager's coming-of-age is hardly a new plot device, but experienced SF writer Lee allows events to unfold at their own pace, revealing unexpected twists along the way. The combination of self-assured storytelling and the near-tangible evocation of a quirky world will have much appeal for fantasy devotees. As in the novels of Robin McKinley ( The Hero and the Crown ; The Blue Sword ), an understated current of feminism runs throughout. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 12-up.