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The Unicorn Sonata

The Unicorn Sonata
by Peter S. Beagle
Cover illustration and interior illustrations by Robert Rodriguez
Published by Headline, Turner Publishing

First and foremost, let me just get this out of the way:

This is not a sequel to The Last Unicorn! It has nothing to do with it! They're not even the same type of unicorns! (There is just way too much misinformation out there.)

The Unicorn Sonata is the story of Josephine "Joey" Rivera, a thirteen year old natural musician growing up in modern-day Los Angeles. One day, she hears a distant and beguiling melody, and follows it down the street and accidentally crosses the divide between our world and another, a mystical place called Shei'rah. Amongst the many creatures Joey encounters in Shei'rah, none are more intriguing than the Old Ones - the unicorns whose music is the lifeblood of their world. However, as Joey soon discovers, the Old Ones are being weakened by a strange disease which is stealing their sight.

Joey learns to cross between the two worlds, working furiously to transcribe the Old Ones' music before it can be lost, and at the same time trying to save her Grandmother from the loneliness of her retirement home, while learning some lessons about life along the way.

Unicorn Sonata is not one of my favorite Beagle books. It's geared more for the teenaged audience, and IMHO lacks the richness and mystery that his other, earlier works have in such abundance. Plus, the storyline is a bit of a downer. Beagle himself admits that the book was written to pay the bills, even though he did eventually warm up to the characters. I'd say give it to your 13 year old niece who's as unicorn-crazy as only a 13 year old girl can be, but it's probably not the best book for an adult who's looking for an engrossing novel.





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