Ariel - Change, Bk 1 Author:Steven R. Boyett It had been five years since the change... five years since the lights went out, cars stopped in the streets, and magical creatures began roaming the towns and countrysides of Earth. — Pete Garey, a young loner who survived the Change and the madness that followed, spent two years wandering and scavenging the near-deserted cities and towns. Then,... more » one day, Ariel walked out of the unpredictable wilderness: a unicorn whose dazzling beauty and purity captured his heart. She brought new meaning to Pete's life, and set him on the road to adventure.« less
This book looked really interesting and I have read good things about it so I decided to give it a go. It was an enjoyable read, although there are a few things in the book which irked me a bit. This book was originally released in the early 80's and this is a re-release of it.
This story takes place in the post-Change world of the United States. The Change happened one day and suddenly all electricity/technology stopped working and magical creatures began roaming the earth. Humanity was left to survive in any manner possible in this post-apocalyptic type of world. Pete is living day to day when he stumbles upon a unicorn with a broken leg. He takes the time to fix her leg and dubs her Ariel. A year later Pete and Ariel are still traveling together; only someone is after Ariel's power and Pete and Ariel only have one choice...to destroy the necromancer that wants to hold Ariel captive.
This book moves at a fairly brisk and kept my interest. The relationship Pete and Ariel have, as well as the relationship of other characters with their familiars, is very interesting and much of the story pays attention to this. I also found it interesting that there is so much focus on Pete struggling with keeping his virginity, if he loses it then him and Ariel can no longer be companions. Enter a young woman (Saughnessy) who tempts Pete more than she should.
While Pete and Ariel are very well-developed characters, the characters surrounding them could use some work. The evil necromancer is fairly faceless and we never get to learn his thoughts on anything. Even the young woman that travels with Pete is rather 2-dimensional; you never get to understand her or hear why she wants to travel with Pete or Ariel.
There is a lot of unfettered violence and a lot of action in this book. Those with a weak stomach might want to skip it; to be far I don't think that the violence was made unreasonably gory...Boyett tries to stay true to what the resulting gore would actually be given that people's limbs are removed with swords quite often. I enjoyed the inclusion of the Japanese mentality to fighting with all the samurai sword action, those scenes were a lot of fun.
The ending of the book left me disappointed. I thought the choices that Pete made were kind of sudden and un-called for; but I will not mention any more to prevent spoilers.
There were a few things that bothered me about this book. The first was Pete's use of a blowgun to drop enemies immediately; it just isn't very realistic. In the Afterward Boyett says that he now realizes this. The second thing that bothered me was the lack of people. Pete travels through vast quantities of land without barely seeing anyone, which could happen. But then he goes through big cities without seeing many people. I realize if electricity/technology stopped some people would be killed in car accidents, plane crashes, etc...but a vast majority of humanity would probably be okay. I am wondering were they all went. Also since it has been six years since the Change, wouldn't you think humanity would be re-forming organizations and communities? There is a small community (300 people) talked about in New York, but other than that there doesn't seem to be much organization at all. I just found these aspects to very unbelievable and this lowered my opinion of the story, because it was so fundamental to the story.
Overall I enjoyed the story. It is a bit long and some parts are hard to find believable, but it is well written with some awesome action scenes. Boyett's idea of a post-apocalyptic world forced by a fundamental change in the laws of physics is interesting, but flawed at points. Will I be reading "Elergy Beach", the sequel to Ariel? Probably not. I just didn't love the world enough to continue reading about it.
Five years ago, the Earth went through the Change - technology stopped working and magic suddenly became reality. Pete Garey, a young boy who survived the upheaval of the Change, becomes a loner and wandering scavenger, warily defending himself against the lawless who abound in a world of anarchy. Then he meets an injured unicorn and an unlikely friendship is formed. But a necromancer discovers her existence and is determined to take her horn for its magical powers, and Pete must find a way to stop him.
Originally published in 1983 and newly reprinted, this novel reflects the time in which it was written (the Twin Towers still exist), as well as the youth of the author, who wrote it at 19 and eventually got it published at 21. It requires a hefty dose of suspension of disbelief, and readers must also ignore inconsistencies in the Changed world, but once over those roadblocks the story is ok. I found it a bit of a ramble, and while it had a plot there were several instances that did not seem to have a point. Still, the post-apocalyptic world is interesting, the magic not too overblown and the character-building satisfactory if a little over-simplified, with a touch of corn here and there. It would be more suited to older youths.
Overall I really did enjoy this book. The idea of a post-apocolyptic story line regardless of what causes it always makes for an interesting book. Add unicorns, magic, and swords and you got yourself a pretty awesome novel. It was a very easy read and only took me a few days to burn through the book. The ending was less than fulfilling however, and made me think the author was rushed to end the story. I do recommend this book and I look forward to reading the sequel.
Books set in the future are not my forte. I don't like the mix of modern society with medieval fantasy creatures - feels like an insult to them.
A friend recommended this book - and I wasn't able to put it down. It was amusing to have a uncharacteristic unicorn and her young human male friend roam through a 'Changed' city where no modern technology works and fantasy creatures trot around like they never left the Earth.
Good, quick read. The story flowed and moved through nicely. I wont give it away, because I have a feeling the book is about 'growing, ect.' and normally this ending should have been a good one, but it pissed me off. More correctly - made me angry at the character for what he did. Once you read, you'll know why. :)