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Literature / The Bad Unicorn Trilogy

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This isn't your typical fantasy novel, in case you couldn't tell from the cover.
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The Bad Unicorn Trilogy is a humorous fantasy trilogy by Platte F. Clark.

The books are, in order:

  • Bad Unicorn (2013)
  • Fluff Dragon (2014)
  • Good Ogre (2015)

Middle schooler Max Spencer finds a magical book called The Codex of Infinite Knowability, a book about a fantasy world known as the Magrus. It turns out that the Magrus is real, and it is one of the three realms of the universe, the other 2 being the Techrus (our world), and the Shadrus, a dark and scary place inhabited by nightmarish monsters, lead by the Maelshadow. Max is the descendant of Maximillian Sporazo, perhaps the most powerful sorcerer to ever walk the Magrus, and the author of the Codex. When Max accidentally teleports himself, his best friend Dirk, their newfound friend Sarah, and local comic book store owner Dwight (who is actually a dwarf) into the Magrus, they must find a way to get home. However, something sinister is brewing...

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Princess the Destroyer is a carnivorous unicorn who is tired of eating frobbits and other creatures of the Magrus, and wants something new. So she and her assistant, the wizard Magar, strike a deal with Evil Sorcerer Rezormoor Dreadbringer, who is in league with the Maelshadow: If Princess and Magar capture Max and the Codex and bring them to him, Princess will be allowed to run amok in the Techrus, devouring humans as she pleases.


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Tropes found in the books:

  • Action Girl: Sarah knows martial arts, and does most of the physical fighting among the heroes.
  • Bald of Evil: Rezormoor, of the "wears a toupee to hide his baldness, and gets very defensive about it" variety.
  • Barbaric Bully: Ricky. Taken Up to Eleven when he is turned into a monster.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: In Fluff Dragon, Moki, the sweet, ditzy fire kitten, gets furious when he realizes that Loki sold out the team, and attacks Loki so brutally that Loki is. In Good Ogre, he again proves to be just as capable a fighter as the other heroes.
  • Big Bad: The Maelshadow, the lord of evil who wants to take over the world.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Princess is definitely this, due to being an actual princess, and one heck of a Spoiled Brat. In her human form, she is a teenaged girl.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: Max, who is very unconfident throughout most of the series.
  • Cute Kitten: Fire kittens are a race of small kittens who can light the tips of their tails on fire to use like torches. Of the two that we see, Loki is a subversion of this trope, as he only uses others for his own gain, but Moki is a straight example, being an eternally optimistic and sweet little guy.
  • Dark Action Girl: Princess has strong magical power at her disposal.
  • Dark Is Evil: The Maelshadow, and most of the characters who work for it. Even the place where the Maelshadow is from, a world called the Shadrus, is this.
  • Death by Irony: Quite literally, thanks to Max's Irony spell. He first uses it in Bad Unicorn, causing Robo-Princess to devour all the robots, including herself.
  • Disney Villain Death:
    • Max uses the Density spell to make Rezormoor Dreadbringer's armor extremely heavy, causing him to fall through the floor of the Tower. He is not seen again after this, so we can assume he's dead.
    • Many of the Maelshadow's minions die this way in Good Ogre.
    • As does the Maelshadow itself.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold:
    • The Shadrus, a realm of evil, is covered in ice.
    • It is stated that if Rezormoor's plan to wipe out the dragons succeeded, the world would have filled with ice because the dragons would have no longer been warming it up.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: The Maelshadow is described as having a voice like thunder.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Princess the Destroyer zigzags this trope and Name To Run Away From Really Fast. While, to us, "Princess" seems like the former trope, and "the Destroyer" seems like the latter, in the Magrus, both names are seen as the latter.
  • Freudian Trio: Max is the ego, having to keep everyone in order. Sarah is the superego, being very compassionate and rational, and Dirk is the id, being impulsive and excitable.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Princess and Magar convert to the good side in the second book after the team convince the army that captured them to give them a second chance.
  • The Hero: Max is the living heir of the benevolent arch-sorcerer Maximilian Sporazo, and the only one who can save the world from the Maelshadow's evil influence.
  • Killer Rabbit:
    • Princess. You wouldn't expect a unicorn to be a bloodthirsty carnivore, but she is. We can assume that other unicorns are predators as well, though they may or may not be as evil as she is.
    • The fire kittens also count as this, although among them, Loki would be the best example of this trope.
    • Good Ogre introduces Scare Bears, which are evil parodies of the Care Bears.
    • Rezormoor Dreadbringer's pet zombie duck.
  • The Kirk: Max often finds himself having to decide what to do, choosing between the different suggestions his friends give him.
  • The Lancer: Dirk.
  • Light Is Not Good: Princess is this in spades, until her Heel–Face Turn.
  • The McCoy: Dirk.
  • Name To Run Away From Really Fast:
    • Zigzagged with Princess. See Fluffy the Terrible above.
    • Rezormoor Dreadbringer is also a good example.
    • So is the Maelshadow.
    • Surprise You're Dead Bear from Good Ogre as well.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • Discussed in Fluff Dragon. Just before the final battle, Dirk guesses that Rezormoor is going to turn into some sort of monster. Unfortunately, he doesn't.
    • Surprise You're Dead Bear changes from a living teddy bear to a more realistic bear that Dirk calls a werebear.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons are heavily featured throughout the series. They have fur on the other sides of their scales, so when their scales turn inside out, as in Puff's case, they become creatures called fluff dragons.
  • The Power of Love: When the heroes try showing Princess a little compassion, she has a change of heart and makes a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Red Baron: Ricky, who is known as "The Kraken."
  • Shout-Out: All of the robots that Robo-Princess sends after the heroes in the climax of the first book are shout outs to other movies. They are, in order: Robotouille, Wall-Up, and The Frobinator.
  • Sixth Ranger: In Fluff Dragon, the team finds new friends in Puff and Moki, and even manage to redeem Princess and Magar.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: Loki joins the team only so he can sell them out to Rezormoor.
  • The Spock: Sarah is one of the most rational members of the team.
  • The Starscream: Dreadbringer has plans to betray the Maelshadow and Take Over the World himself.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Princess can transform into a human.
    • Obsikar can do this as well.
    • The dwarf high mage can transform into a sea monster.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Ricky is definitely willing to fight Sarah, though he doesn't actually hurt her because she fights back.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Played for Laughs. Being kind of a geek, Dirk frequently, and enthusiastically, brings up various fantasy tropes to describe what "should" happen in the storyline. Unfortunately, his ideas rarely work out simply because this is much stranger than your typical fantasy story.

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