After defeating an Old One, of an interdimensional alien race with intentions to reclaim the Earth, Nikola Kross is lucky to be alive — and to be one of the few people to not go insane after looking at an Old One in her true form.
However, the Old Ones had kidnapped her father before attempting to kidnap her, and she still has no idea where he is. She’s trying to focus on her classes and spend time with her human and parahuman friends (“parahumans” are another alien species related to Old Ones, but much more human and benevolent) and generally just have a “normal” life, but she can’t stop worrying about her father.
To make matters worse, Mrs. Botfly — possibly the craziest teacher at the School — is holding random “pop quizzes” on what to do if an Old One attacks the school.
“The Unspeakable Unknown” by Eliot Sappingfield is the sequel to his first novel, “A Problematic Paradox”, which introduced Nikola and the alien species she has to put up with.
One day, Mrs. Botfly decides to hold a field trip to northern Arkansas to try to find an elusive creature who she thinks is an isolated parahuman. But when Nikola and her friends arrive at the parahuman’s house, Nikola discovers that she’s actually an Old One.
The Old One, who calls herself Darleeen, is different from all the others that Nikola has seen: her human disguise is perfect, she smells like baking bread, and — possibly the most surprising thing of all — she doesn’t want to hurt humans.
Despite making a deal with Darleen, promising that she won’t tell anyone about her, Nikola can’t help but inform the principal, Dr. Plaskington, about her when she gets back to the School. Dr. Plaskington doesn’t believe Nikola when she says that the Old One was harmless, so Plaskington proceeds to bomb Darleen’s home (evidently, this is a common response when Old Ones are discovered).
Fortunately, Darleeen survives, but now both she and Nikola are being hunted down by Jakki, the queen of the Old Ones (Jakki doesn’t like harmless Old Ones, which is why Darleen was on her own in the first place). When she’s finally able to kidnap Nikola and some of her friends, Nikola still isn’t entirely defeated. Imprisoned in the the Old Ones’ lair and eating horrible food, Nikola still hopes to find her father amidst all the random, often brainwashed inmates around her.
“The Unspeakable Unknown” is all-around a very good book, with a mix of action, science fiction, and comedy. It does explain some background from the first book, but I think that it’s better to read “A Problematic Paradox” first so that you have a better idea of what’s going on in this one.