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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
The Unicorn Sonata by Peter S. Beagle 
16th-May-2006 06:11 pm
*groans* I need GOOD fantasy RIGHT NOW to take me away from pain I'd much rather not be feeling, but I don't know what I should be reading... T_T

Beagle, Peter S. The Unicorn Sonata. Atlanta: Turner, 1996.
Summary: With illustrations by Robert Rodriguez. While working in a music store one day, Joey meets a boy named Indigo who is trying to sell a miraculous musical horn who turns out to be a unicorn and finds herself transported to Shei'rah, a world where mythical creatures are real. All is not well, however, because the Eldest--unicorns--have been blinded, and eventually it is up to Joey and her grandmother to come up with a cure.
Comments: Okay, so the plot is pretty thin--no big surprise, to say the least, that Joey's Abuelita ends up visiting and then deciding to stay permanently in Shei'rah. I thought that the whole unicorns-doing-music hook to be incredibly wonky...but not nearly as wonky as Indigo's "disordered" selfishness in trying to sell his horn for his own personal edification and desires as the reason for the blindness of Eldest. If there's supposed to be some sort of moral here to take away, I'm totally missing it. About the best thing this novel has going for it is its sumptuous fantasy descriptions of flora and fauna. In fact, Rodriguez's full-color artwork makes it all even better, and if you're going to buy this book, the artwork alone might be worth the price of entry. Otherwise, this is, like all of the novels by Beagle that I've read, something that should appeal to readers of all ages; it's just complex enough to keep adults reasonably entertained, and there's nothing even remotely reprehensible that's going to "pollute" innocent minds. Heck, even though the satyrs "reek," they've been divested of any classic libido.
Notes: hardcover, 1st edition, out-of-print
Rating: 5.5/10 - Beagle and fantasy fans will love it; otherwise, prepare to be only somewhat amused.
16th-May-2006 11:24 pm (UTC)
I thought that the whole unicorns-doing-music hook to be incredibly wonky

Have you ever read Piers Anthony's Phaze books? Mwahaha!...ahem. More with the musical unicorns, whose horns can make the sounds of all different kinds of musical instruments, and they can play in concert and dance and stuff. Except they can turn into humans, too, so the nubile young unicorn maiden can have sex with Our Hero! I read them at an impressionable age, so I have kind of a soft spot for them. But still. Unicorn horns sounding like cellos and xylophones is just weird. ^_^
16th-May-2006 11:54 pm (UTC)
Have you ever read Piers Anthony's Phaze books?

Nope. ^^; I deliberately stayed away from him in my younger days when I saw that he was doing a fantasy version of Florida...

Except they can turn into humans, too

The unicorns in Beagle's book could shapeshift into humans (and only humans) too. And then play their horns like clarinets. >_< No sex, though, which I suppose is a small blessing.
17th-May-2006 04:44 am (UTC)
The edition you read is not (for various reasons) the version that Peter wanted to write. It has been out of real circulation since a month or two after it was published, and is never going to be reprinted. Indeed, it is being entirely scrapped. Peter will be rewriting the book from scratch as the first volume in a four-volume series, and the new version will have VERY little in common with the old one.

-- Connor Cochran
Business Manager for Peter S. Beagle
17th-May-2006 01:05 pm (UTC)
I just purchased this book at random at a recent library sale, so I did not know any of this. Thank you very much for letting me know.
31st-May-2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
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