Review: Skandar and the Phantom Rider by A. F. Steadman

Skandar and the Phantom Rider by A. F. Steadman cover shows a boy on a unicorn in the foreground with a wave forming into the shape of a unicorn in the background.

Skandar and the Phantom Rider (Skandar #2)
A. F. Steadman
Simon & Schuster
Published May 3, 2023

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Skandar and the Phantom Rider

The Island shall have its revenge . . .

Skandar Smith has achieved his dream to train as a unicorn rider.

But as Skandar and his friends enter their second year at the Eyrie, a new threat arises. Immortal wild unicorns are somehow being killed, a prophecy warns of terrible danger, and elemental destruction begins to ravage the Island. 

Meanwhile, Skandar’s sister, Kenna, longs to join him – and Skandar is determined to help her, no matter what. As the storm gathers, can Skandar discover how to stop the Island tearing itself apart – before it’s too late for them all? 

Skandar and the Phantom Rider on Goodreads

My Review

I think I might have liked this book even better than the first one? I think the writing is stronger in this one, which makes sense. The characters and their friendships, which was one of my favorite parts of the first book, are still strong and still drew me into the story. I thought the conflicts between them and the ways they navigated them were true to their characters and made sense.

We get a lot more of the politics and structure of the island in this book, too, which was really cool. We got to see some of the clashes in leadership, and we learned more about the history behind some of the relationships– and some of the rifts in relationships– on the island, too. I absolutely loved that.

Skandar grows a lot in this book, too. I really liked the way he wrestled with how to use his abilities and how to respond to the prejudice he faced. He also learned who his allies are and how to find places he fit in even with the prejudice that was happening.

The story ends in a great place, too. It left me satisfied but also really excited for the next book in the series. I’m super interested to see where the story goes next.

Skandar and the Phantom Rider on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Skandar’s friend Flo is Black.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
No profanity. A few mentions of passing gas.

Romance/Sexual Content

Spiritual Content
Unicorns have magical abilities based on different elements like wind, fire, water, earth, and spirit. Spirit magic has been illegal, so Skandar and his unicorn are judged, excluded, and blamed for things because of their use of it.

Violent Content
Situations of peril. Some battle scenes. One character is imprisoned against their will.

Drug Content

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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