Title: Her Majesty’s Unicorn: Murder in Leesbridge
Author/Publisher: Layla Lawlor
Bound to the Summer Queen, Chase is used to being sent on nearly impossible jobs. Over the many, many years of his service, he has done just about everything for his Queen. But he was rather hoping for a short vacation and a chance to heal after his last mission before she sent him back out into the mortal world again. Unfortunately for Chase, the Queen is not a patient monarch and when something needs to be done she will wield her most effective tool as needed to take care of the matter. Thus Chase finds himself in tiny Leesbridge, Canada, partnered with the mortal social worker/battle mage, Sita Kaswan. Something — maybe fae, maybe something else — is murdering the people of Leesbridge one by one in increasingly oddball and horrific ways. Chase and Sita have to overcome their innate distrust of one another and stop whatever the thing is before it finishes off the people of Leesbridge and moves on to bigger, tastier targets ….
I discover some of the best books when I sign up for an author’s newsletter. Thanks to Gilt and Glamour, and now Her Majesty’s Unicorn, Lawlor is riding high in my list of favorite fantasy authors.
This is a terrific novella filled with intriguing characters, awesome magic, narrow escapes, and nasty villains. It also cleverly pokes fun at the genres of urban fantasy and British village mysteries, playing with the tropes and expectations of both.
I really like Chase and I really like Sita. They (eventually) make a great team, opening up to one another about their secret pains and fears, combining their skills and their magic to stop something truly awful from causing any more harm in the mortal realm. I would love to see more of them, but I have no idea if that will happen.
Do yourself a favor. Next time Lawlor offers up Her Majesty’s Unicorn as an incentive, grab it. You’ll spend a few hours lost in Leesbridge, and then come back out wondering when you can go back and hang out with Chase and Sita again.
Highly recommended to fans of Stephanie Burgis, Leah Cutter, Jolene Dawe, Annette Marie, Rosalie Oaks, Scott Walker, and T. Thorn Coyle.
[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]