Acorna, now a young adult desperately needing questions answered about her heritage, embarks on a search for her ancestry. Accompanied by one of the miners who raised her, she begins a journey across the universe. Her trek temporarily aborts when her ship malfunctions, forcing her to land on Rushima. There she finds the populace starving. Even as Acorna is caught up in their plight, a strange people with telepathic powers appear in the sector who are seeking the whereabouts of a missing person lost as an infant several years ago.
Introduced in McCaffrey and Ball's Acorna: The Unicorn Girl (1997), the eponymous unicorn-horned girl of mysterious origins was found in a jettisoned spaceship's escape pod by kindly asteroid miners, and raised to young adulthood in secret in order to keep unsavory space businessmen from exploiting her superior intelligence and psychic abilities. This second book in the series finds Acorna determined to escape the protective bubble her friends have built around her and to set off across space in search of her people. Her trip stalls early on, however, when trouble with her ship forces her and her space-pilot partner, Calum, to land on Rushima. There they find starving colonists, victims of a nefarious band of Starfarers who used stolen meteorological technology to wreck Rushima's weather when the colonists wouldn't submit to their extortion plot. Acorna and Calum are captured by these Starfarers, then rescued by rebel Starfarers and caught up in a small-scale civil war. Meanwhile, Acorna's people, the Linyaari, are seeking allies in their war against the evil, insectiod Khlevii who just happen to be headed toward Rushima. Despite brief moments of mild humor, the novel struggles under the weight of stereotypical characters, a predictable plot and an excess of backstory. Only faithful McCaffrey (the Dragonriders of Pern series) fans are likely to enjoy this weak series entry. (July) -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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July 01, 1999
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Excerpt from Acorna's Quest by Margaret Ball
Maganos, Unified Federation Date 334.05.11
Acorna's office in the Dehoney facility onMaganos Moon Base was far too full forher comfort, and the meeting had beengoing on so long that she was developing an alluring fantasy about escaping the comfort of the basefor the freedom of a good planetside gallop -- anyplanet, anywhere, just so it offered her clean firmearth to run on and a horizon very far away. Theneed for earth and sky and open space was becoming almost an obsession for her as the meetingdragged on -- just as dreaming up all these newways to stop her and Calum from starting on theirmission to find her species' home world had becomean obsession for Pal.
She tried to compose herself, remembering that it was probably even worse for Calum. He considered finding her home world his first duty to her, even before his love for Mercy. The sooner Acorna could release Calum from that self-imposed quest, the sooner he and Mercy could marry. Acorna understood why some of her friends were reluctant to see the Acadecki depart. Gill and Judit were happily settled now, overseeing the care and education of the bondchildren still arriving to study and work at Maganos; and Rafik was presumably satisfied with his new career as assistant and heir apparent to his uncle Hafiz, the head of House Harakamian. But couldn't they see that Calum needed to complete his quest for her home planet -- and that she needed to find her own people before she could be content anywhere?