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Acorna's Triumph: The Further Adventures of the Unicorn Girl    by Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough order for
Acorna's Triumph
by Anne McCaffrey
Order:  USA  Can
Eos, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

How do you keep a series interesting after its chief villains have been thoroughly defeated? Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough employ time travel (with the potential to go back and meet the bad guys again) as a handy plot device in this cozy SF series about the 'unicorn girl'.

I seem to have missed an episode, so was confused by references back to it (this is not an easy series to enter in the middle). Acorna and her lifemate Aari have been separated and she's searching time and space for him. But when he shows up on Vhiliinyar, there's something very strange about him. Apparently his journeys through time with his powerful friend Grimalkin have wiped out Aari's true memories of their time together (as well as his memories of being tortured by the Khleevi), and his dependence on recorded memories affect his interactions with friends, family and his soulmate.

Rafik has problems too - his uncle Hafiz wants to find him a wife, and has imported dancing girls (who use antigrav belts to jazz up their act). Unfortunately they're also thieves and make off with extremely valuable jewels, stones that can be turned into powerful weapons. Attempting to recover the loot, Rafik ends up mistaken for the robber, and has a close (and acidic) encounter with sulfur-based aliens, in the form of sentient 'really ugly yellow trees and scrub brush'. Along the way, he meets his match, fortunately someone of whom Hafiz approves.

In the meantime, another Aari wakes up in a cave back in the time when the vicious Khleevi were 'rending Vhiliinyar into slag' and desperately tries to avoid them and to find a way back to Acorna. And of course she, eventually travels back to the past to attempt his rescue. Grimalkin gets in on the act, causing all kinds of trouble and risking opening up time to the bad guys - but he also brings Acorna a wonderful surprise from her past. So, despite the annihilation of the Khleevi, it looks like Acorna's series will just keep on going.

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