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review 2020-06-06 14:54
The Unicorn Anthology
The Unicorn Anthology - Henrnandez,Coville Bruce,Sara A. Mueller,A.C. Wise,Marina Fitch,Peter S. Beagle,Dave Smeds,David Levine,Carrie Vaughn,Karen Joy Fowler,Garth Nix,Patricia A. McKillip

by Peter S. Beagle, Garth Nix, Carrie Vaughn, Patricia A. McKillip, Bruce Coville, Carlos Hernandez, Karen Joy Fowler, Jane Yolen, Nancy Springer, Cailtin R. Kiernan, Margo Lanagan


How could I resist a collection of stories about unicorns, especially when I've actually heard of some of the authors!


A couple of stories were written in present tense but the one by Carlos Hernandez had a very interesting premise; unicorn poaching for their horns! Imagine, Americans not realising we've still got unicorns in England. *shakes head*


As you would expect with a themed anthology, there was a variety of takes on the subject. We had a unicorn rodeo and of course you have to be a virgin to handle one of the creatures! Unicorn hunters of various kinds, unicorns mating with human women and the subsequent offspring, unicorn magic and mythology that may or may not come from actual legends.


The stand out stories for me were Falling Off the Unicorn by David D. Levine and Sara A. Mueller, A Hunter's Ode to His Bait by Carrie Vaughn, A Thousand Flowers by Margo Lanagan and My Son Heydari and the Karkadann by Peter S. Beagle, which had some excellent stoytelling.


I liked some of the others fairly well and only found myself skimming a couple of them. The compilation wraps up with some poetry, which feels natural for this particular theme. Not a bad collection as anthologies go.

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review 2020-05-10 03:36
Capturing a Unicorn - Eve Langlais Capturing a Unicorn - Eve Langlais

Perhaps this series would have been better wrapped up with the previous book. After all, once you've written the story about the central character, what's the point of continuing? And too, the purpose for this one feels more like a way of tying up loose ends, but it's done haphazardly.

The H... I kept picturing the reporter in Tim Burton's Batman (not Vickie Vale; the other one). He spends the first half of the book being an arse because mutants. We see a turnaround, but I'm not sure I believe it really.

The h... eh.

The background noise AKA the overarching plot is a conclusion on the whole "who's hunting them?" bit. Sortof. Because the people hunting them in the previous books aren't the ones hunting them now, but instead they're the H's mom's goons. Because of course. And of course, what better way to underscore that arsehole's initial attitude is wrong than to have mommy dearest give him the same treatment?

The real issue I had with this series in general is that it was all released over the course of a year or so, which means all the books were written entirely too close together for plot inconsistencies to occur. Book one had the H becoming a dick and getting locked away because he realized he had no freedom. Book two had the ones who went feral being hidden in a cage in a secret lab (even the secret lab has secret labs) and being "iced" if they went truly feral. Book 3 had the h with complete freedom to be a mercenary even though she's one of the experiments, and the ferals locked in cages on the level the H in book one was in, Book 4 was the outlier in that at the end of book 3, the lab was blown up so it took place at a house in the woods. Book five indicated that well, only the upper levels of the lab blew, and that a lot were left behind, locked in their cages to die. Strangely enough, that was never addressed after the H/h were collected and taken to that relic of a hotel the gang was hiding in.

And of course there's the bit where we have everyone being injected with all sorts of "natural" DNA, which explains one with wolf characteristics, one with lion characteristics, and one hyena. One could even sort of explain a mermaid - fish exist after all. But how do you get a phoenix? How do you get a unicorn? Demon/vampire/something or other? You kinda need an explanation there; things like that don't just appear out of nowhere.

And IS it over? It says "the end" at the end, but the tied ends are rather loose.

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review 2020-01-20 23:06
a bit heavy handed
Lilly and Her Unicorn Doll: The Importance of Learning - Aaron Chandler

It's a bit heavy handed with the message, but it is sweet and the illustrations are nice.

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review 2020-01-19 05:37
You Don’t Want a Unicorn
You Don't Want a Unicorn! - Ame Dyckman,Liz Climo

I Picked Up This Book Because: Liz Climo binge

The Story:

Super cute illustrations and a funny, entertaining story. Love it.

The Random Thoughts:


The Score Card:

5 Stars
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review 2019-12-28 05:31
A Beautifully Written Fairy Tale that Really Didn't Do Anything For Me
The Last Unicorn - Peter S. Beagle
The true secret in being a hero lies in knowing the order of things. The swineherd cannot already be wed to the princess when he embarks on his adventures, nor can the boy knock on the witch's door when she is already away on vacation. The wicked uncle cannot be found out and foiled before he does something wicked. Things must happen when it is time for them to happen. Quests may not simply be abandoned; prophecies may not be left to rot like unpicked fruit; unicorns may go unrescued for a very long time, but not forever. The happy ending cannot come in the middle of the story.

This is the tale of a Unicorn—quite possibly the last in the world (hence the title). On some random day, she discovers that she might be the last of her kind, and so leaves her forest to go throughout the world, searching for others of her kind.


She falls into some trouble after a while, and is helped out by a magician she comes across who ends up traveling with her, as well as a woman associated with a band of outlaws who is looking to get away from them. They travel until they find the cause of the disappearing unicorns and seek to return them to the world.


This is some of the best prose that I read this year. The language is just beautiful. There were several times I had to stop and reread a sentence/paragraph/passage three or four times because it was so good. More than once, I had to force myself to move on or I'd never have made any progress in the book.


That little quotation at the beginning is just a taste of the meta-commentary on fairy tales (specifically) or story (in general) scattered throughout the book. I laughed a lot at some of them, and thought all were very thought-provoking. It's like a more ambitious The Princess Bride in this regard (probably others, too, now that I say it, but I don't have time to tease this idea out).


I dug the characters—Schmendrick the Magician (the world's worst) was wonderful. Molly Grue is an inspired creation, and the kind of character more people need to write. And, of course, the Unicorn herself...


There were several scenes that were just delightful—unique, entertaining. When not unique, Beagle is playing with, twisting, riffing on fantasy/fairy tale mainstays.


But when you put them all together . . . I just didn't see the point. A combination of these characters, these scenes, and the meta material alone should've been a home-run for me. Throw in that language? I should be making plans to re-read it regularly. But somehow, the whole ended up less than the sum of its parts. I just didn't care about any of it, it never connected to me. I spent so much time trying to figure out why that was the case—and I got nowhere. I'm going to have to try in a couple of years again, see if it was just bad timing or something.


This is one of those books that everyone loves—and as far as I can tell, there's plenty of reason to love it. Sadly, I didn't. If you haven't read this yet, you probably should—I just hope it works out better for you.

✔ A classic you’ve been meaning to get to
Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2019/12/27/the-last-unicorn-by-peter-s-beagle-a-beautifully-written-fairy-tale-that-really-didnt-do-anything-for-me
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