We tend to romanticize unicorns in our fairy tales. The mythical, elegant beings have associations with happy endings. But there’s the small matter of the single pointed murder horn on their heads. A new middle grade fantasy series from author A.F. Steadman suggests that unicorns actually belong in nightmares. Skandar and the Unicorn Thief focuses on a boy who wants to ride a deadly unicorn of his own. And today, Nerdist has the honor of exclusively revealing the US cover for the much-anticipated first book in the series.

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief book cover featuring two kids on unicorns with magic around them
Simon & Schuster

Look, the book’s description already convinced me I need this series in my life, but if it hadn’t, the cover would seal the deal. Designed by David McDougall and Tom Sanderson, the art gives off enchanting but also very intense vibes. I want to know everything about the magic I see here. As for that synopsis:

Skandar Smith has only ever wanted to be a unicorn rider, and the time has finally come for him to take his Hatchery Exam, which will determine whether he is destined to hatch a unicorn egg. But when Skandar is stopped from taking the exam, and the mysterious and frightening Weaver steals the most powerful unicorn in the world, becoming a rider proves a lot more dangerous than he could ever have imagined.

As he faces elemental magic, fierce sky battles, ancient secrets, nail-biting races and, of course, bloodthirsty unicorns, Skandar realizes he and his friends are in graver danger than he ever imagined.

This series sounds like just the thing to scratch that Percy Jackson itch. And like Percy Jackson, Skandar and the Unicorn Thief is coming to the big screen. Sony Pictures has shared that they’re developing the book into a feature film. Jon Croker (Paul McCartney’s High In The Clouds, Paddington, and Paddington 2) will adapt the book. Sony Pictures preemptively acquired the feature film rights after quickly closing an aggressive seven figure deal before other buyers could even enter the fray.

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief arrives in May 2022. You can place your pre-order now.

Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist and the author of A Kid’s Guide to Fandom, available now. Follow her on  Twitter and Instagram.

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