Written by: Steven R. Boyett
Genre: Urban/Futuristic Fantasy
Pages: 435 (Mass Market Paperback)
The premise: Since the Change, nothing that's technological works properly, and suddenly, the new rules of physics revolve around magic. There's mythical beasts in the world now, and Pete Garey encounters an injured unicorn during his travels. They strike up an unlikely friendship and so travel this semi-apocalyptic world together. However, unicorns are rare even in THIS world, and are known for their powerful magic. A necromancer from New York City will do ANYTHING to capture Ariel's power, so Pete and Ariel must travel there to stop him, no matter what happens.
Worth the Cash: but it's close to "Give it Away." Honestly, I do believe (and the author does too!) that this book is better enjoyed by those in their teens (just note there is profanity, some graphic violence and detailed sexy images), and those reading this book as adults are more apt to find problems. I'm not one of these who read the book when it was first released, so I'm not reading it for nostalgia's sake. I was rather impressed by the writing, considering the author's age at the time (it was published when he was twenty or twenty-one), but it's pretty solid and tells a good story. The prose isn't perfect, and there are time when scenes are a little melodramatic, but the prose isn't dated at all (though some of the pop culture references are, which is actually fun), and that was surprising. The book's ending, while a little contrived, made sense. Certain things HAVE to happen in order for this book to have any kind of resolution, and I certain didn't go into this book expecting a happily-ever-after ending. It's not a sad ending either, but rather a human one, so that's important to note if endings are something that worry you. I liked the cast for the most part, though the characters weren't fully three-dimensional and some of the supporting cast often fell into types. Still, it's a fast, enjoyable read that will REALLY MAKE YOU THINK if you look past the trappings of the story itself. Me, I might check out the sequel, Elegy Beach, when it's released as a mass market paperback, which will be next year. It's coming out in hardcover THIS year, and while I'm sure Boyett's crafted has evolved and changed since he wrote Ariel, I'm in no hurry to read the next book in line.
Review style: Review? What review? If I had the chance, I'd write a freaking RESEARCH PAPER on this book, but since that's a little much for a blog, so I'll stick to analysis. Yes, analysis, because there's too much that's worth chewing on aside from the story itself. Spoilers? You bet. If you're not interested in any of that, then there's no need to click the cut. If you are, the cut leads to my LJ, and as always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)
REVIEW: Steven R. Boyett's ARIEL
ALSO: I've started a monthly book challenge at my LJ. September's theme is fantasy that takes place in an urban setting, which is not to be confused with the butt-kicking heroine Buffy-lit that's so popular right now. The book my readers chose was Emma Bull's War for the Oaks (1987), so if you're interested in participating, just click here for details!