Spellhorn by Berlie Doherty

Image result for spellhorn berlie doherty book cover

Title: Spellhorn
Author: Berlie Doherty
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Magic, Unicorns
Dates read: 3rd – 10th June 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Lions
Year: 1989
5th sentence, 74th page: She wouldn’t.

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Laura looked across the sea and saw with horror that far below her on the shoreline there were beasts: long dark shapes that wriggled and slithered down into the foam.
“What are they” she asked.

Gazing down at the seething waves, the Old Woman said: “This is the Sea of Snakes…”

Laura and Spellhorn the unicorn have to cross the Sea of Snakes and fight against terrible danger before Laura can return home. For Spellhorn, the treasured possession of the Wild Ones, has befriended Laura, and it is only he who can lead them to the safety of their beloved Wilderness.


I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for years. It was a book that my mum has had for a long time, and it slowly migrated to my shelf across time. So I thought it was probably about time to pick it up and see why I had kept it on my shelf, untouched for all of these years. And, although it wasn’t the ground shattering story I was hoping for, it was still a fun little adventure. Something that was a little bit different to my usual read. And one that I really enjoyed.

You can tell that this story started off as a play. There is something just a little different about the writing from usual prose. It was enough to make it feel a little unorthodox and confusing, but not such a different style that it was impossible to enjoy. It mostly just read like a story that had been translated from another language, which, I suppose in a way it was.

I really enjoyed the fact that this young adult story featured a girl with a disability. That her disability gave her dual worlds, and this tale explored both of those perfectly. It was a great way to explore a new perspective, and one that I really hadn’t considered before. The final scenes really helped to drive this home, and meant that although this isn’t one of my favourite books, it is one that I will keep and probably reread years down the track.

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Image source: Goodreads

5 thoughts on “Spellhorn by Berlie Doherty

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