Friday, February 17, 2017
FFB: Elegy Beach -- Stephen Boyett
This is as close as it comes to Evil Children in my reading this year. The villain, while not a child, is at least a young man with childlike delusions of changing the world and a very dangerous guy.
A long time ago I read Stephen Boyett's Ariel and liked it a lot. Twenty-five years after writing that one, Boyett wrote a sequel, Elegy Beach. I hoped to find some of the same kind of magic in it that I'd found in Ariel, but it wasn't there for me. Maybe it's not the book. Maybe I've changed.
The setting of both books is a changed world. For whatever reason, technology no longer works. Magic does. There are strange creatures and dangers. There are unicorns. Ariel is one of them, and in the first book the unicorn teams up with Pete Garey in a quest/coming of age story. In Elegy Beach, Pete's in his 40s, living in California, and dealing with his difficult son, Fred, who, with his friend Yan, is trying to learn to control magic, to make it into a kind of technology that will help people get their world back in order. As it turns out, Yan wants to do even more, and he becomes the villain of the piece. Fred, Pete, and Yan's father go after him to stop him before he unmakes the world, and the book becomes another quest, which Ariel shows up and joins.
The tone of this one's a lot darker than Ariel, and I thought it was too long with some of the set pieces extended way beyond their limits. I did like the climactic scenes in the remains of the Hearst Castle, but again I thought they went on a bit too long. I wasn't disappointed in the book, but I didn't like it as much as I wanted to.