Carved from the rugged Chiricahua Mountains, the intimidating spire, Thunder Peak, slashes the sky, haunting the southern reaches of the Arizona Territory and looming over Itza Chu Canyon. Hidden in the valley below, beset by the mountain’s odd weather patterns and wrapped in chilling legends of its own, is Storm Town. The canyon offers a chore laden, isolated life that appeals to very few. Mostly aging gunslingers, con-artists, grifters and other outlaws who do not wish to be found. Men and women who are so tired of running they are ready to trade hard, honest work for a safe place to hide.
Staked in the darkest corner of Thunder Peak’s shadow lies the Tamm Ranch and Orchard, run by Civil War veteran Jonas Tamm. Jonas lives with his adopted daughter Casey and knows more secrets about the magical valley they live in than anyone else in Storm Town. When Casey rescues a hornless, juvenile unicorn from a bloodthirsty wolfpack, Jonas realizes that it’s time to tell her those secrets even if it means losing her trust.
Casey learns that she is the daughter of two worlds- the Western Frontier, and a distant realm called Leutia, where spell casting is a science and monsters are real. Casey’s mixed bloodline is possessed of latent powers that enable her to open a magical gate to Leutia and send the unicorn home, if she can only figure out how. Time is running short, if the unicorn does not get home in time for his horn to breach, it will stop growing. Losing the horn will also rob him of the magical powers that would have come with it. Without the magic of their horn, a unicorn eventually loses all sense of self until they are cursed to live their life as a normal horse.
Armed with the blessed knives her mother left for her, frontier grit and the silver bullets her father makes for their pistols, Casey bravely takes up the task. Joined by Jonas, the unicorn and her seven-foot-tall, saber-toothed turtle guardian, Casey is confident they will succeed. However, faced with the harsh realities of Thunder Peak, Casey will soon learn how misplaced that confidence is. For arrayed against them is a merciless nightmare of fang and claw. The enemy of all living things. An ancient predator who’s every legend is a song of sorrow in memory of those who once stood in his way. He is the Nightblade, and he too wishes to get home. A destination that lies at the end of but one path: The destruction of Casey and her beloved unicorn.
Trae Stratton is the most talented writer whose work I have read. He can take any idea and spin the most engaging novel. This book, Thunder Peak, is a young adult fantasy packed full of action. There is plenty of suspense, danger, intrigue, and all. There is an island that is both strange and unique. Thunder Peak is a mysterious place where there is more to the things happening than originally known. Jonas is now left to helping his adoptive daughter Casey in helping a magical creature. A unicorn needs to go back home before it is deemed to an ugly fate. However, the other occupants of the island and an enemy will prove to be a challenge. Both Casey and her dad are amazing. They take things seriously, no-nonsense kind of way, and yet are brave enough to face whatever tasks wait for them. Dialogue, characterization, and plot are done well. I thoroughly enjoyed this magical yet unforgettable adventure. Trae Stratton once again, creates a phenomenal book. I hope he continues and makes this into a series.