Ariel by Steven R. Boyett

Posted on: April 26, 2010

That cover right there caught my eye at a local Borders store a few months ago. I thought to myself, That right there is a book I just gotta have! I wish I could tell you the story lived up to the promise of that cover, but for me it didn’t.

Five years ago, a Change happened throughout the world. Magic became real and science ceased to work (for the most part). All machines and technology became worthless. Creatures from myth and folklore suddenly appeared. Peter Garey has wandered the countryside since that time. Along the way, he meets and befriends a young unicorn named Ariel. She is smart, can talk, and Peter teaches her the ways of this world. He is able to touch her because he is still a virgin. See, unicorns are pure beings and only others who are also pure can make contact with her without being hurt.

Um, yeah.

In their travels, they meet and become allies with Malachai Lee, an expert in martial arts, particularly the use of the samurai sword. Lee teaches Garey quite a bit of sword tactics, as well as gifting him a valuable katana. Up until this point, Garey’s primary weapon for defense was a blow gun.

Um, yeah again.

We soon learn there is a necromancer in what remains of New York City who wishes to capture Ariel and make use of her magic horn. I’m not giving much away by saying there is a massive battle and rescue operation in the latter part of the book.

I’m also not giving much away by saying there is some disturbing sexual tension between Garey and Ariel. Disturbing because, well, Garey is a human being and Ariel is a unicorn.

Now, there are some good points to this book. The fight scenes are well thought out and presented in such a way that they are easy to follow and somewhat believable. Well, if you can believe a dart from a blow gun has enough velocity to knock a man over when hit by the dart, that is.

(Boyett, in his Afterword, does admit he overlooked some details like that when he first wrote the book. It was first published back in 1983, recently re-released because the sequel, Elegy Beach, was coming out. Rather than make corrections to the story, Boyett felt it was better to let the story stand as it is, warts and all. I respect him for that.)

There is also a fair amount of interesting description and detail about the world after the Change. How folks go about finding food, gathering supplies, and just in general how society has changed. People trade tips on what stores still have a few pair of shoes like people today trade tips on good restaurants.

Overall, it isn’t a truly bad book. Rather, just not entirely to my liking. But, if you like your post-apocalypse stories with a liberal dose of fantastical creatures, this is probably right up your alley.

2 thoughts on “Ariel by Steven R. Boyett

  1. Karen, to clarify, it isn’t like the donkey show in Clerks II. Rather, it is more like an interspecies bromance, where one of the bros is a female unicorn.

    Um, yeah, that didn’t make it sound any better, did it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *