Acorna is also one name for the Acorna Universe series: ten fantasy or science fiction novels by McCaffrey and Ball (the first two) or McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (eight more, 1999 to 2007).
The series focuses primarily on the character, the orphaned Unicorn-girl introduced in the first book. Acorna has special powers including the abilities to heal, make things grow, detect venom, detect chemical imbalances, detect mineral and metal deposits, purify water and air, and communicate telepathically. The first book introduces her as a "youngling" and features her journey of understanding her individualism.
Besides the single horn, situated half way between her brow and her forehead, Acorna can, with the right attires, pass as a tall and graceful young lady. However, a closer look would reveal that she is not human. The following are her distinguishing features:
- A flowing silvery mane from her head down to her back, similar to that of a horse. The same silvery curls are also on her calves.
- Her feet end in cloven hooves similar to those of traditional unicorn media. In cover art her feet are pictured looking as horse hooves.
- Her fingers only have two joints, one at the knuckle and the other in the middle of her fingers. In cover art her hands are pictured as identical to those of humans.
- Her eyes are silvery and her pupils narrow into a silver sliver when she is disappointed or sad.
Acorna is also born more mature than human infants and grows to adulthood within four years. She is unusually intelligent and can learn extremely quickly. Acorna is strictly vegetarian.
When we first meet Acorna, she is still a youngling in her parents' spaceship. They eject her in an escape pod just before blowing up their own spaceship, deliberately killing themselves in order to destroy the pursuing Khleevi. Acorna's pod is found by space miners: Gill, Rafik, and Calum. They end up raising the unusual child as a daughter. The event is chronicled in Acorna: The Unicorn Girl.
Acorna belongs to a race of humanoids called Linyaari. She finds this out in Acorna's Quest when she encounters her aunt and her fellow shipmates. The Linyaari are a peaceful race whose planet, Vhiliinyar, or "Home of the People", was invaded by the insect-like Khleevi, forcing them to move to narhii-Vhiliinyar, or New Home. They flee shortly before the Khleevi invasion, which destroys their home world Vhiliinyar in search of an unknown objective. They are a beautiful race, tall and graceful, with abilities to heal wounds and purify substances such as air and water. They can also communicate telepathically with each other. Descended from what can be considered Unicorns they still have ancestors who are cared for by specific attendants. They are a peace loving people and do not tolerate violence in any of its forms, even going so far as to not have any military or weapons to speak of. The only weapon at all was being developed by Acorna's father and was a form of suicide that destroyed the user's ship and the Khleevi's as well.
In the third book Acorna meets Aari, a Liinyar who was captured and tortured by the Khleevi after the evacuation of the home world. At first she feels only pity for him and he feels first no reason to live, then that she is much too good for him, after time though spent together and a Khleevi nearly killing her they realize the feelings they have for each other. When they make it back to Moon Of Opportunity the children there use holograms to have them admit their feelings. In the next book Aari is kidnapped by an ancient race of time travelers until the last book where they are reunited near the end and have two daughters who are the focus for the second series.
- Acorna: The Unicorn Girl (1997)
- Acorna's Quest (1998)
- Acorna's People (1999)
- Acorna's World (2000)
- Acorna's Search (2001)
- Acorna's Rebels (2003)
- Acorna's Triumph (2004)
- Acorna's Children