Reviews of Ariel (1983)
Review by spiphany (2005-07-13)
Readers who enjoyed Peter S. Beagle's "The Last Unicorn" would probably find it worthwhile to look this up. Set in an undefined future time when lights and automobiles and machines have suddenly stopped working and civilization has fallen apart, the story follows young Pete and Ariel, the unicorn he has bonded with, as they travel through this dangerous world on the trail of a dark sorcerer. Boyett manages a nice mix of the contemporary and the magical, and he captures much of the mystery and elusiveness of unicorns while still making Ariel very real and down-to-earth. (She's fond of peppermints and disapproves of Pete smoking, on occasion causing his packs of cigarrettes to disappear.) There's a fair amount of humor in the book, and little details make the characters come to life.
Because Pete's relationship with the unicorn depends on his virginity, the conclusion of the book is inevitable, but the manner it happens is rather tragic, and the ending is definitely bittersweet. In some ways this is a story about growing up, and loss of innocence--a threshold once crossed which can never be regained.