Book Spotlight: Enemy Mine by Barry Longyear & David Gerrold

***Reviewed by Kelsey J. Mills and originally posted on The Bearded Scribe on September 26, 2012.***

Book Spotlight: Enemy Mine by Barry Longyear & David Gerrold

GUTEN TAG, Beardies!

My name is Kelsey J. Mills, and I come to you all the way from Canada. I am The Bearded Scribe‘s youngest Scribe—a Science Fiction reader and writer, a sucker for aliens or robots, and a lover of social commentary. I’m so honoured to be here on The Bearded Scribe, and I hope that I manage to entertain you.

The book—technically novella—I will be spotlighting today is Enemy Mine by Barry B. Longyear and David Gerrold. Please note that this is not the original version—the copy that I have was based on the screen play written by Edward Khmara, which was based on the story written by Barry B. Longyear. Also note that I have not yet seen the movie for which the aforementioned screenplay was written.

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{—PREMISE—}

EARTH and the Dracon Empire are locked in an interstellar war based on mutual hatred and ignorance. The only thing as hostile as the Dracs and humans are to each other is Fyrine IV, the planet where a Drac and human pilot crash during a heated battle. But the human, Willy Davidge, and the Drac, Jeriba Shigan, face an even greater battle on Fyrine IV than the rough terrain: overcoming their hatred of each other, as it quickly becomes clear that the two enemies need each other to stay alive. As the two work to overcome their differences, a friendship forms that will change both of their lives, and possibly the way the humans and the Dracs see each other. Forever.

{—GEMS FOR WRITERS—}

1. CHARACTERIZATION...

IN a novella with only two characters for the majority of the story, the characterization had better be bang on—and Enemy Mine delivers. Both Willy and Jeriba (nick-named “Jerry” by Willy) are real, living, breathing people that come off the page and engage the audience. Willy, the human and POV character, is an especially good example. At first glance, he seems to be the typical space cowboy: not too bright, but full of piss and vinegar; a manly man who seems to personify humanity’s arrogance and offensiveness throughout the beginning of the book. However, as the story goes on and he interacts more with Jerry, his true personality is revealed; Jerry’s personality, too, is shown through his interactions with Willy. The characters’ interactions with each other become less guarded, playing off each other beautifully.

That’s what makes this story work, and what makes it worth reading. My personal favourite example of both the uniqueness of Willy and the way the characters play off of each other is a scene where Willy is explaining the teachings of the Mickey Mouse (the Dracs are under the impression that dear old Mickey is a great spiritual leader). This scene is driven by Willy and Jerry reading and responding to each other. Willy shows his uniqueness through his ability to analyse the role of Mickey Mouse in human popular culture, and the ideals and messages Mickey portrays. Jerry, who up to this point has been teaching Willy about his culture, and being a bit of a jerk about it sometimes, takes the role of a student. This shows his humility and his eagerness to learn previously alien concepts. If nothing else, it makes you appreciate Mickey a whole lot more.

The author’s characterization of the races themselves was also refreshing. It wasn’t like other popular alien films and books (Avatar, Starship Troopers), where cut and dry stereotypes of “humans are bad” and “aliens are good” or vice versa are used. Both races have their not-so-pleasant sides, but there are redeeming factors to both of them; both races are equally flawed, and this makes the friendship between Jerry and Willy even more lovely and profound, especially after key events in the story.

2. MIRROR, MIRROR...

THIS story’s main strength is in its social commentary. It does what Science Fiction is best at: holding a mirror up to humanity and forcing us to see things a different way, from the point of view of another. This can often be painful because it’s hard to show humans how much we suck without whacking us over the head with how much we suck. The author shows us our ugly tendency to discriminate and hate those we don’t understand through the characters’ dialogues about their respective cultures.

Most of the first part of the story is Jerry and Willy learning each other’s language. Willy learns Drac from the teachings of Shizumaat, a religious book that Jerry keeps around his neck. This gives the author the chance to explore the cultural differences without preaching to the reader. It makes sense that Willy would have questions about the things he is reading, and it also makes sense that Jerry and Willy would have to explain their turns of phrase to each other. This gives the author a chance to insert comments on our society through comparison with the Dracs. One example is when, during a discussion about food, Jerry calls Willy a “slave eater” because of the way humans eat. Willy is confused about this, and Jerry explains to him that, during the history of the Dracs, there was a war in which the victors took slaves—and, well, ate them. Willy compares the Dracon events to the Holocaust on Earth, yet another example of how being different doesn’t necessarily equate with not being alike.

The biggest mirror held up to us, however, is in the overall theme of the novel: that one’s enemies are often just like us, even if they appear to be vastly different. Even though this story was written in the 1970’s, I thought it was an interesting parallel to the conflicts that the United States are having with Muslim countries, religious discrimination in the States and in my own country of Canada, and the conflicts between Israel and Palestine. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but the religious book that Jerry gives to Willy to learn Drac is called the Talman, which sounds similar to Torrah, Talmud, and Qu’uran combined. I also found it interesting that, like Christianity in North America and Islam in the Middle East, both of the characters’ belief systems hold the same tenants, namely “love thy neighbour.” The social comment in this book was truly ahead of its time. What writers can take away from this is that commenting on complex—yet broad—issues can make your story timeless, and it will give the reader the ability to insert their own cultural context into the comment you are trying to make.

{—RATING—}

{—CONCLUSION—}

THIS is the book to read if you like stories about the power of friendship. It provides writers with insight on how to use the dynamic relationship of only two characters to create a powerful and meaningful story, and how to comment on society in a timeless way without being too preachy about it. This all combines into one moving story. This story will tug your heartstrings and make you think. If you can’t already tell, I love this story. I think you will, too.

***Enemy Mine (1985) by Barry B. Longyear and David Gerrold, published by and copyright Charter Books (Berkley Publishing Group).

Book Spotlight: The Alchemyst (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 1) by Michael Scott

***Originally posted on The Bearded Scribe on September 17th, 2012.***

Book Spotlight: The Alchemyst (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 1) by Michael Scott

GOOD Evening, Beardies,

Back in May, we did an Author Spotlight and giveaway with Michael Scott, author of the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series. The contest, and his subsequent interview, were very successful, so it didn’t take us long to decide to do a collaborative series of Book Spotlights featuring each of the Michael Scott, author of the Flamel books. Unfortunately, finding time to collaboratively write the posts took much longer, but we finally did, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring you the first in this series of Book Spotlights.

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{—PREMISE—}

FAMOUS alchemist Nicholas Flamel died in 1418—at least that’s what the records say. There’s only one problem: his tomb lies empty, a suspicious coincidence for someone who supposedly discovered the secrets of immortality.

While their parents are on an archaeology dig in Utah, twins Josh and Sophie Newman are forced to stay in San Francisco with their Aunt Agnes for the summer. Both quickly find jobs in order to save up money for a car. Josh’s boss, Nick Fleming, seems like a great person, but a strange turn of events reveals that “Nick Fleming” isn’t who he seems, and Josh and Sophie find themselves on a journey in which they discover that they may have legendary powers of their own.

{—GEMS FOR WRITERS—}

1. MYTHOLOGY...

AS we were reading this book, we were astounded by how many of the world’s mythologies were seamlessly united in the story, but in his interview, Mr. Scott enlightened us about his inspiration for this:

"The original idea was to create a series that unified all the world's mythology, based on the simple premise that at the heart of every story is a grain of truth. As I research folklore all over the world, it has become clear to me that so many of the world's myths and legends are incredibly similar, and some are almost identical. So I came up with the idea that I would feature as many of the world's folklore and myths in one story, and populate my world with immortal human characters. The only created characters in the series are Sophie and Josh."

THE premise of a unified world of mythology, wherein the truths of one legend are retold in each of the others, is masterfully set in The Alchemyst. We are intrigued by this premise, eager to continue our joined efforts, and curious what Mr. Scott has in store with the other five books of the series.

2. USE OF HISTORICAL FIGURES...

MICHAEL SCOTT seamlessly weaves many real historical figures into his story, and manages to preserve their integrity while using them in creative, yet believable ways. This blurs the line between fantasy and reality, making it even easier for the reader to slip into the fictional world. It would take ages to list the whole cast of historical characters in this book, but here are a few:

  • Nicholas Flamel (1330-1418) worked as a bookseller and scrivener in Paris. After his death, he developed a reputation as an alchemist because of his work on the philosopher’s stone and his quest to understand an alchemical tome called The Book of Abramelin the Mage. Flamel’s wife, Perenelle (1320-1412) served as his assistant and became known as a sorceress and alchemist in her own right. The Flamels were known as great philanthropists in their lifetime and both have streets in Paris that bear their names. They were buried in Paris, but their grave is empty, paving the way for further speculation about their immortality—and for Michael Scott to set them down in a twenty-first century bookstore under the assumed names of Nick and Perry Fleming.
  • Dr. John Dee (1527-1609) was a noted mathematician, occultist, astrologer, and served as an advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. He developed a plan for the British Navy, determined the coronation date of Elizabeth I through an astrological reading, was imprisoned for treason for reading the horoscopes of Elizabeth I and her sister Mary, and is rumored to have hexed the Spanish Armada. He is also said to have been the inspiration for the Shakespearean characters of Prospero and King Lear. He is the villain-in-chief of the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series and has been chasing the Flamels for centuries. According to Scott, Dee’s relentless pursuit of the Flamels is to blame for many disasters, including the Great Fire of London in 1666.
  • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) was the daughter of an anarchist and an acclaimed feminist. At the age of eighteen, she conceived the idea for her best-known novel, Frankenstein, on a dare while staying in a summer home in Switzerland with her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and her husband’s friend Lord Byron. The trio had been reading ghost stories and had a contest to see who could write the scariest story. In The Alchemyst, Shelley is said to have based her novel on a story she heard from Dr. John Dee.

3. WORLD BUILDING...

WITH the above-mentioned use of actual Historical figures and integration of Mythology from several different cultures, Elizabeth and I agreed that Michael Scott‘s pile of notes must have been extensive. He is, indeed, nothing short of a master when it comes to world-building. His blending of ancient and modern, of legend and truth, and—most amazingly—of fantasy layered within an urban reality are all done seamlessly and with delicate precision. Specifically, within the area of world-building, the following areas need spotlighting.

  • Magic. Scott’s system of magic is one of the most unique we’ve encountered. His use of Auras is a blend of the existing belief that auras can be perceived as colors, and the introduction of his own creation—that they also have an aroma unique to their owner.
  • Shadowrealms. In The Alchemyst, we are only privy to view one Shadowrealm—a separate dimension created by an Elder upon banishment from the Earthly realm—but we are told that there are many. By introducing us to Hekate‘s Shadowrealm, Scott is able to set aside his Earthly setting for one that doesn’t conform to its limitations. Within this Shadowrealm we are introduced to several fantastical creatures—both of legend or otherwise—and we are also reminded of Scott’s love affair with mythology with his inclusion of Yggdrasil.
  • Landmarks. We know from reading other reviews that Mr. Scott uses several landmarks around the world within the Flamel series, but it’s his exceptional ability to describe said landmarks—such as Alcatraz—with great detail that blows our minds. Again, just thinking about the size of his research notes humbles us. Given the size of the research notes for our own respective writing endeavors, we can only imagine!

{—RATING—}

{—CONCLUSION—}

The Alchemyst pulled us in with its stellar world-building, creating a unique magical system and using real historical figures and pinpoint descriptions of real-world landmarks to make a solid, believable world. On top of being an exceptional writer, Mr. Scott was gracious enough to allow us to pick his brain about his inspirations and creative process in a fantastic interview. We are, and will continue to be, huge fans of Michael Scott and the Flamel series; stay tuned for our collaborative Spotlights on the next five books.

Happy Reading & Happy Scribing,

***The Alchemyst (2007) by Michael Scott is published by and copyright Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.

Book Spotlight: Wild Cards I, Expanded Edition by George R. R. Martin (et al)

***Reviewed by Court Ellyn and originally posted on The Bearded Scribe on July 31, 2012.***

Book Spotlight: Wild Cards I, Expanded Edition by George R. R. Martin (et al)

WELCOME back, Beardies!

After being out of print for a decade, the first volume of George RR Martin’s Wild Cards series is back—expanded with new, original material.

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{—PREMISE—}

THERE is a secret history of the world—a history in which an alien virus struck the Earth in the aftermath of World War II, endowing a handful of survivors with extraordinary powers. Some were called Aces—those with superhuman mental and physical abilities. Others were termed Jokers—cursed with bizarre mental or physical disabilities. Some turned their talents to the service of humanity. Others used their powers for evil. Wild Cards is their story. {Source: Goodreads}

{—GEMS FOR WRITERS—}

1. COLLABORATIVE WRITING...

THIRTEEN writers, including George R.R. Martin, Roger Zelazny, Melinda M. Snodgrass, and Carrie Vaughn, contribute thirteen tales and five interludes that tell the story of two generations of humanity who suffer the effects of the xenovirus, spanning forty years of cultural history. Choreographing and writing this book must have been an enormous undertaking. Each author had his or her era on the timeline to illustrate through the eyes of those changed forever by the virus. The characters they created for one story might later crop up later in someone else’s. The most colorful of these is Dr. Tachyon, the alien who tried to stop the virus’s release and failed. In “Degradation Rites,” Snodgrass writes of his initial attempts to treat the virus’s victims and his persecution under McCarthy’s trials in the 50s. Martin later explores his deep depression after years of believing himself a failure in “Shell Games.” The doctor’s recovery is seen intertwined in later stories, from his founding a hospital for the virus’s victims to his reputation as a dashing celebrity during the glittering “glam” era of the 70s.

2. ALTERNATE HISTORY...

WHEN the xenovirus is released over Manhattan in September 1946, everything changes. The course of events we read about in our history books has been altered, subtly or enormously. In “The Witness,” aces, with their stunning abilities, are initially viewed as superheroes who employ their abilities to remedy crises and shape revolutions around the world, but their efforts backfire. While slums for deformed jokers crop up, McCarthy hunts down aces as well as suspected Communists. The resulting scare echoes throughout the glamorous Hollywood of the 1950s in “Captain Cathode and the Secret Ace.” But a changing generation protests the government’s way of drafting jokers for the front lines in Vietnam and finds heroes again in aces as the Lizard King rocks the psychedelic scene of the 60s in “Transfiguations.” Then, by the 1980s club scene, explored in “Ghost Girl Takes Manhattan,” the new thrill is to sneak into Jokertown where glitter and danger walk hand in hand.

{—RATING—}

{—CONCLUSION—}

A thought-provoking and entertaining read, Wild Cards I may be most accessible to readers who are familiar with events and culture during the last half of the 20th Century. Even so, the bizarre elements in this book should be enough to intrigue a good many sci-fi readers and capture another generation of Wild Cards fans.

Thanks for stopping by, Beardies! Until next time, read, write, live, love!

***Wild Cards I: Expanded Edition (2010) edited by George R. R. Martin, published by and copyright Tor Books (Tom Doherty Associates, LLC).

Editors Note: Please check out an alternate version of this review on Court’s Blog!

Movie Spotlight: Brave

***Originally posted on The Bearded Scribe on July 16th, 2012.***

Movie Spotlight: Brave

HELLO Beardies,

Hang around The Bearded Scribe long enough, and you will inevitably catch a glimpse of Scottish pride amidst its contributors. Elizabeth is a direct descendant of Clan Ross, the first named clan, designated by King Malcolm IV of Scotland in the twelfth century; and Joshua has a bit of all the British Isles in him from his mother’s side… If genealogical reasons of pride weren’t enough, Joshua and Elizabeth met when they were all students at Alma College, home of the Scots. (The city of Alma is nicknamed Scotland USA.)

ALMA College has its own registered tartan, which both the marching band and the pipe and drum corps wear for every performance; every convocation starts with the bagpipes; the Choir can often be heard in the Chapel (or, on occasion, in secluded churches in Scotland!) singing tunes such as “Loch Lomond” and “Highland Mary;” and at the end of Spring Term, the students must vacate the dorms to make way for the Highland Festival, a huge gathering including traditional Highland music and dance, a nearly-frightening number of men in kilts, and Highland games.

Alma College Tartan

Alma College Choir in Scotland performing "Loch Lomond."

IT is because of this Scottish pride that The Bearded Scribe excitedly brings you its first ever Movie Spotlight on Disney/Pixar’s latest film, Brave. And to top it all off, it is the first ever post to appear on the blog with two contributors! (We’re sure it won’t be the last!)

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{—PREMISE—}

A born tomboy and expert archer, Merida is not your average girl, but, as her mother often reminds her, she’s a princess, and with that comes expectations. The clans are about to gather, bringing their suitors to compete for Merida’s hand, and of course, Merida wants nothing to do with it—especially after she sees just who these potential suitors are. She devises a way to compete herself so as not to have to get married, but it causes her worst fight yet with her mother and Merida runs away. Deep in the woods, she follows will-o’-the-wisps to a witch’s cottage. The witch gives her a spell to change her fate, but when the spell backfires, trapping her mother in the form of a bear, Merida must use all her wits and skills—princess-like and otherwise—to save both her independence and her family.

{—GEMS FOR WRITERS—}

1. The Land...

ONE of the greatest aspects of Brave is the film’s unforgettable landscape, beautifully portrayed through superb animation. The entire “world” built by the film is complete, and the landscape alone is merely one of its facets. In addition to the lush, green rolling hills, the crags and high cliffs, and the architecture of monuments and buildings, the film includes key elements to the traditional, Celtic culture. Intricate knotwork is carved on wood and stone throughout—including Merida’s bow. Nary a scene exists without a man in a kilt or some display of tartan (ever wonder what the Scotsmen wear under those kilts… watch this film and you will no longer), a few of its characters adorned in woad paint (a tip of the hat to Braveheart, perhaps?), and fanciful tapestries line many a wall.

Many of the Scottish traditions outlined in our intro are beautifully and respectfully reflected in Brave, one of them specifically is that of the Highland Games. According to tradition, each clan presents its most desirable suitor for the hand of the Princess, and the winner is determined through a test of her choosing. Brave’s focus is not mainly on romance; rather, in a stroke of unconventional plotting, the games serve as an impetus for the main conflict between Merida and her mother, and between Merida and the conventions of her society.

Another aspect we loved about Brave is the wonderful music contained in its soundtrack. As we are both vocalists and lovers of music, this was one aspect, in our humble opinion, the film had no room to get wrong. They didn’t. The composer of the film’s musical score, Patrick Doyle—also the composer of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire—used traditional Scottish instruments such as the bagpipes, a solo fiddle, Celtic harps, and the bodhrán, just to name a few. Doyle was quoted as saying, “I employed many classic Scottish dance rhythms such as reels, jigs, and strathspeys, which not only serve the action but keep it authentic.”

The only issues we found with the world-building of the film were anachronisms. Given the film was fictionally set in 10th Century Scotland, the use of plaid (15th-16th Century), kilts (18th century); forks (16th century); Shire horse (breed developed in the mid-17th century) and fighting the Romans (1st-5th century) all fit the bill. Because we love all things Scottish, we happily forgive them.

2. The Legend...

IF there is something that must be mentioned, it is the way elements of folklore and mythology are interwoven throughout the entire film. While there is no precedence for the actual legend of the plot, other elements from Celtic lore are used ingeniously to drive home the “fairytale” aspect. From its very start, we are introduced to will-o’-the-wisps—colloquially referred to as “wisps”—which Merida is told (by her mother) are said to lead a person to their fate. The “wisps” vanish when approached, just as the actual lore states; ironically, however, in most Celtic lore a “wisp” (or ignis fatuus) is said to lead travelers away from the safety of the path (into bogs and other treacherous destinations). Continuing with the “fairytale” notes is the sacred henge in which the final showdown takes place. It represents not only the sacred rock formations that speckle the British Isles, such as Stonehenge—which are placed on sacred sites filled with the natural energies from the Earth—but also the smaller-scale formations referred to as “faerie rings.” These sites were said to be portals to the land of the Sidhe, and were to never be entered. Merida’s horse, Angus, obeys this superstition by stopping suddenly at its edge, meanwhile throwing Merida into its center. The fact that the wisps appear from this site to lead Merida to witch’s cottage is another allusion to the Faefolk they are meant to represent.

ANOTHER mythological element which is prevalent—if not pervasive—is that of the bear. While researching for this post, we discovered a possible connection between Queen Elinor and the Celtic Bear Goddess, Artio, often referred to as “Mother Bear.” We even uncovered an ancient statue of said goddess that appears strikingly similar to one that may or may not have made an appearance in the witch’s wood-carving shop. The legends and myths that appear throughout the film and its landscape are like the tapestry in the film; they are tightly woven, never to be torn from one another. The mistakes and stories of the past—however far-fetched and magical they might seem—are there to educate generations of the future. We must take heed and not dismiss them so quickly, which echoes Queen Elinor’s line in the movie: “Legends are lessons, and they ring with truths!”

3. The Lessons Learned...

AS firm believers that no woman should need a man to make her complete, we really enjoyed seeing a Disney/Pixar film wherein romance is present without being the main focus of the plot. We’re not anti-love by any means, and both agreed that the romance between the Queen Elinor and King Fergus is sweet. Love, after all, makes life sweeter, but love comes in more forms than just romance. Merida is a tenth-century girl with a twenty-first century mindset, and her independence and determination is refreshing. She knows she can do better than any of the suitors she is offered, and she’s not willing to compromise or settle—a position we totally support.

Unless you’ve been living under a menhir somewhere—or trapped under one—you’ve most likely heard the expression: “Be careful what you wish for.” The main theme of Brave is exactly this, and it is an expression Princess Merida already knows all too well. Despite this, she wishes for her mom to change, and when the Queen is transformed into a bear, Merida must deal with the consequences. Afraid for her mother’s life—due to her father’s understandable hatred of bears—Merida and the Queen flee the family’s castle in search of the witch or the wisps that led her to her fate. While helping Merida with trying to find a way to reverse the spell, Queen Elinor gains respect for her daughter’s strength and wilder side; Merida, too, finds a deeper respect for her mother when faced with the prospect of losing her forever. Also, they discover that Merida is not the first to wish for a change of fate, and by repairing the mistakes she made, she has the opportunity to correct the wrongdoings of the past.

{—RATING—}

{—CONCLUSION—}

GIVEN our love affair with all things Scottish, we had high hopes for Brave, and we weren’t disappointed. Add in a strong female lead, stirring soundtrack, and beautiful scenery and animation, and our separate trips to see this film were time well spent. As a bonus, it gave us a chance to truly collaborate for the first time, a practice we hope to keep up in the future!

Gus an coinnich sinn a’rithist,

Book Spotlight: The Last Unicorn (The Graphic Novel) by Peter S. Beagle

***Reviewed by Court Ellyn and originally posted on The Bearded Scribe on June 22, 2012.***

Book Spotlight: The Last Unicorn (The Graphic Novel) by Peter S. Beagle

GOOD DAY to you, Beardies, and welcome back!

It is my great pleasure to present my first post for The Bearded Scribe. First, a huge thanks to Joshua and the rest of the crew for having me, and to all you Beardies for taking the time to follow the blog. Second, on to the goodies:

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{—PREMISE—}

WHIMSICAL. Lyrical. Poignant. Deeply moving. Adapted for the first time from the acclaimed and beloved novel by Peter S Beagle, The Last Unicorn is a tale for any age about the wonders of magic, the power of love, and the tragedy of loss. A unicorn, alone in her enchanted wood, discovers that she may be the last of her kind. Reluctant at first, she sets out on a journey to find her fellow unicorns, even if it means facing the terrifying anger of the Red Bull and malignant evil of the king who wields the Bull’s power.

{—REVIEW—}

FOR my first foray into the realm of graphic novels, I settled on a winner. Having grown up terrified, yet allured, by the Rankin and Bass animated production of The Last Unicorn, I steered clear of the novel, not sure what to expect, until the 40th Anniversary Edition was released by Roc in 2008. I discovered that I had been missing out on an exquisite tale, but that’s another review for another day. Suffice it to say that the graphic version, published in 2011 by IDW Publishing, is as lush and beautiful as the original story. The artists Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon worked wonders translating the poetic beauty and depth of emotion of Beagle’s prose into each panel and page of their artwork.

BEING a reluctant fan of the animated production, I was pleased that many of the characters and flavor of the backgrounds often closely echoed the artwork featured in the film. At the same time, the illustrations remained different and original enough to keep me from feeling cheated. While I might have finished this book in a few hours, it took me several weeks because I found myself lingering on the panels, soaking up each delicious detail. Artwork of this caliber is not something to be rushed through, after all. The eye wants to dive into the layers of imagery and savor for a while.

JUST as impressive is how Peter B. Gillis managed to select the phrases, both exposition and dialog, from the original novel that best enhanced the artwork and managed to move the story along in a clear fashion, without sacrificing Beagle’s poetry of language. The story’s allegorical symbolism and wry humor remain intact as well. Even small details from the novel, those jewels glittering darkly at the periphery, like a spider weeping over reality, are faithfully captured here.

Fans of the classic fantasy novel will be hard-pressed not to find enjoyment in this delight for the eyes, this feast for the imagination.

{—RATING—}

{—CONCLUSION—}

AND so, Beardies, we reach the end of another Book Spotlight. I hope you’ll take the time to check out this fabulous read! I know I can’t wait for the sequel, Dark Triumph, which is currently slated for publication in 2013!

***The Last Unicorn (2011) by Peter S Beagle, adapted by Peter B. Gillis; illustrated by Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon; published by and copyright IDW Publishing.