The Unicorn Sonata

( 2 )

Overview

On a hot summer day in Los Angeles, thirteen-year-old Josephine "Joey" Rivera - a misfit in junior high school but a born musician - meets a disquieting young man named Indigo who plays ghostly, haunting music on a horn the hue of a conch shell. The sound of his music stays with her, distant and beguiling, until she follows it down an ordinary street and across an unseen border into a magical world called Shei'rah. There, satyrs, water nymphs, and six-inch-long dragons live side by side with phoenixes and ...
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Overview

On a hot summer day in Los Angeles, thirteen-year-old Josephine "Joey" Rivera - a misfit in junior high school but a born musician - meets a disquieting young man named Indigo who plays ghostly, haunting music on a horn the hue of a conch shell. The sound of his music stays with her, distant and beguiling, until she follows it down an ordinary street and across an unseen border into a magical world called Shei'rah. There, satyrs, water nymphs, and six-inch-long dragons live side by side with phoenixes and two-headed serpents and the Eldest - the unicorns whose music is the soul of Shei'rah. There are dangers, too - from swarms of tiny, terrible flying creatures called perytons, and from a strange disease that is blinding the Eldest. To Joey, Shei'rah feels like home - but she already has a home across the Border, in our world. She has school and a family and a feisty, beloved grandmother, Abuelita, whom she visits every Sunday in a nursing home. There's also gruff old John Papas, whose dusty instrument-repair shop Joey cleans in exchange for music lessons, and who may know something about the Eldest himself. Within these two worlds whose borders merge mysteriously, Peter S. Beagle spins a tale of one girl who can make a difference. The Unicorn Sonata also tells us that our true home is often right around the corner, if we'd only open our eyes - and our ears - to find it.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A quarter century after the publication of his bestselling novel The Last Unicorn, Beagle (The Innkeeper's Song) returns to his fabled beasts for a charming fantasy initially set in contemporary Los Angeles. A misfit 13-year-old girl, Joey Rivera, hears mysterious music and encounters an even more mysterious boy who calls himself Indigo. Thus begins a quest that leads Joey to the faerie land of Shei'rah, source of the music and home of the Old Ones, unicorns who are menaced by blindness. Indigo is a unicorn who has preferred to remain in our world in human form, but he helps Josephine to take her grandmother to Shei'rah and to cure the plague of blindness. The story is slight, but the characterizations are grand, enhanced by graceful prose laced with exquisite detail, and through both literary creativity and folkloric expertise where unicorns are concerned. The return to unicorns and the massive promotional effort behind the novel should put Beagle's name before the public in a way that it has deserved to be for many years. Eleven full-color illustrations by Robert Rodriguez, not seen by PW. $100,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Beagle's best-selling The Last Unicorn (1968) spawned a host of (mostly wretched) unicorn novels. This follow-up features a misunderstood teenager who enters a magical land.
Kirkus Reviews
Familiar territory for the author of The Innkeeper's Song (1993), etc. In Woodmont, Los Angeles, young Josephina "Joey" Rivera spends much of her spare time helping out in old John Papas's dusty music shop. One day, in steps a striking young man, Indigo, with an unusual horn he hopes to sell for gold—more gold, indeed, than Papas can readily lay his hands on. On the horn Indigo plays a strange, haunting music that, even when he leaves, Joey can still hear; following the music, she unwittingly steps into another world, Shei'rah, where the Eldest—unicorns—live. Joey is befriended by Ko, a shaggy, lovable satyr, and by eager young unicorn Touriq; sadly, she learns from Lord Sinti that all the Eldest are going blind, for reasons none can fathom. Returning home, Joey finds that Indigo (another Eldest) prefers to live on Earth in human form; selling his horn will enable him to live comfortably, though without it he cannot return to Shei'rah. On her next visit to Shei'rah, Joey brings along her beloved, wise grandmother, Abuelita, who remembers an old folk remedy for blindness whose chief ingredient is—gold! So Indigo must relinquish his gains in order to save the Eldest, whose blindness he caused in the first place with his greed for gold.

This slight, insubstantial fable has lyrical intentions, but ends up just self-consciously picturesque; though the strained, flimsy plotting and blurry details don't help, Beagle's deserved renown as a leading unicornologist might carry readers along.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780733609572
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton, Ltd.
  • Pages: 154

Meet the Author

Peter S. Beagle
Peter S. Beagle
PETER S. BEAGLE is one of the world's best-loved fantasy authors. His works include the novels A Fine and Private Place and The Folk of the Air, as well as nonfiction books and the screenplay for the animated film version of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. He lives in Davis, California.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2001

    Indigo rules!

    This was a really good book. It was very descriptive and i had a good picture in my head the whole time. It also kept me wanting to read all the time. I like books that do that.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2001

    Awesome just like everything peter beagle writes 8*)

    A very good read. I suppose I am biased though since I love everything that peter beagle writes. Other reads that I love are the last unicorn, the immortal unicorn, and many others by him.

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