Steven R Boyett
Ace, Aug 2009, $7.99
Like everyone else who was there when the machines stopped working and the mythological creatures appeared, Pete Garey can tell you what he was doing at the precise moment, 4:30 to be exact when the lights went out as the Change occurred. A high school student at the time of the Change, he survived by scavenging what was taken for granted before the Change.
Pete was washing himself in waters that before the Change would go on fire when he sees the unicorn with her broken leg. He sets the leg with splints and they become traveling companions with Pete scavenging for food especially the impossible to find peppermints that Ariel loves. They meet Russ Chafney in the library in Atlanta and he takes them to Malachi Lee who teaches Pete to use a sword in a dangerous world in which guns being machines fail to work. However, a dangerous necromancer has learned of the unicorn and sent his minion led by the Griffin rider to either capture the beast or steal the horn. Malachi insists he will fight the necromancer alone in the evil one’s stronghold in Manhattan. However, Pete and Ariel follow him to New York City as he is their brother in arms.
This reprint of a strong post-apocalyptic fantasy is an engaging tale as good and evil center on a struggle to either befriend and protect; or incarcerate or kill the unicorn. The story is fast-paced especially once the lead couple reaches Atlanta, DC and NYC. Pete is a terrific as he must stay virgin pure to remain Ariel’s companion while the unicorn brings a coming of age (some not realistic) feel to the plot. Although the audience needs to ignore the reasons why the Change occurred as they are not forthcoming, ARIEL is a super tale with wry humor that asks whether a return to nature is the only way to save the planet from humanity.