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Elegy Beach Mass Market Paperback – Oct 26 2010

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (Oct. 26 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441019439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441019434
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 3 x 17.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #804,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

STEVEN R. BOYETT sold his first novel at 21 and went on to publish novels, short stories, feature screenplays, and comic books. In 1999 he took some time off from writing, and during this period he learned to play the didgeridoo, a unique Australian wind instrument. This led him to learn about digital recording, which led to composing electronica, which led to DJing. He produces three of the world's most popular music podcasts: the groundbreaking Podrunner and Podrunner: Intervals (workout music mixes), and Groovelectric (dance music mixes of what he calls New Old Funk).

Steve has played clubs in Hollywood, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Reno, as well as Burning Man. He has been a martial arts instructor, professional paper marbler, advertising copywriter, legal proofreader, writing teacher, website editor, chapbook publisher, and composer. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two frighteningly intelligent parrots.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 37 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
After the Change indeed Nov. 24 2009
By J. Reed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Ariel and so I was really excited to hear about a sequel in the works. Elegy Beach takes place in the same world as Ariel, but it seems as different from the setting of Ariel as Ariel's world seemed from the pre-Change world.

Learning about this new world was a lot of fun, as was meeting the characters along the way, thanks to Boyett's dry wit. He is not satisfied with using standard fantasy elements, which would be fine with many readers; he breathes life into what could have been clichés by giving plausible explanations for why things are the way they are. It makes for a very rich and robust story.

A rich read that's a page-turner at the same time - I know that any lover of fantastic journeys would love this book.

I think this book could stand on its own, but I am such a huge fan of Ariel that I have to suggest reading that one first. Both are special in their own way.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A long awaited sequel, a treat for urban fantasy fans! Nov. 4 2009
By KindlePad - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Really enjoyable book, I thought it was a great follow up to Ariel. There was a talk about the author set of resetting the "tech" as to when the old world died, as Ariel was written in the 80's. Having only recently read Ariel, I honestly didn't find it dated at all. Maybe as due to growing up in the 80's?

The characters in this book are different from Ariel, but I think that's ok - its great to bring out new characters. They are the descendants from the first book and they are attempting to understand, control and I guess you would say... organize or bring structure to the new "magic" that inhabits the world now. Sort of like scientists have done with physics in our own past. Very clever. I don't want to say too much more or give spoilers. Suffice to say if you liked Ariel, you will enjoy this greatly.

The author's writing is fresh & enjoyable, a really great read!
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Beware of Sequels Aug. 7 2012
By Stephen Dyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"Ariel" was and will always remain one of my all-time favorite works of fiction. As such, I had always hoped that the author would one day write a sequel and continue the adventures of the main protagonists in the Changed world, a world itself that deserved more study outside of the main and supporting characters. However given the terrible (albeit brilliantly heart wrenching) ending, a sequel would have been to say the least....problematic. The author seemed to agree back in the 90's IIRC from past musings snipped from the [then] early Internet. Ariel....done and finished.....time for new frontiers. I was moved enough to write the author many years later to tell him how much I loved and hated him for bringing such a wonderful tale to print only to then rip the still beating heart of the reader out at the very end of "Ariel." :-) Now 20 some years later, a sequel is announced. I should have been ecstatic. Yet instead I found myself feeling oddly skeptical. Old age I guess. Happens to the best of us. :-)

This all leads to the main point regarding "Elegy Beach." There are a number of problems with this book, most of which have been touched on by other reviewers so I will concentrate on the two biggest issues from my viewpoint:

(warning: partial spoilers)

1) Unlikeable Characters

In "Ariel", the characters were likable and sympathetic. You felt for the protagonists, Pete and Ariel as they fought to preserve what they had while striving to etch out a living in a post-apocalyptic world. You rooted for them during their battles, you shared their frustration when the bad guys scored a point. One had to admire Pete's strength of character and optimism in a Dog-Eat-Dog world. Ariel, the displaced mythical creature....she could be harsh at times but underneath it there was a sympathy for others one would naturally associate with unicorns. She wasn't perfect, she made mistakes (one huge one in the first book), but in the end she made things right and atoned, growing stronger in the process. You felt as drawn to her as Pete and the surrounding characters were. When she discovered that her one great love in the world had in effect, betrayed her, severing their precious link....only a sociopath wouldn't find their heartstrings pulled just a little.

None of this is present in "Elegy Beach." The characters....ALL of them, are simply unlikeable and elicit little to no sympathy. Pete is portrayed as a beaten down old man, a shadow of his former self. Optimism and zest for life have been replaced by cynicism and a dull my fate is sealed stoicism. He feels his best years are behind him and sees little to hope or live for. Worse, he harbors resentment at his only son (predictably named "Fred") because he secretly blames the death of his wife on him from a period of time in between "Ariel" and "EB". By mid book his continual bouts of self pity and whining make you want to reach out and head slap him.

Worse is Ariel herself. What had been a gentle, innocent, and somewhat other-worldly presence in the first book has been replaced by creature that shares a similar sense of cynicism for the world at large and worse, abject selfishness. Even at the end when there will be a new and permanent parting of the ways with Pete, she displays little emotion, such is her separation from humanity now as she comes to terms with her potential immortality. One gets the impression that she sees Pete as just another bug in a jar in front of a microscope. I found this creature to be utterly alien to the unicorn known as Ariel in the first book, and as with Pete Garey, elicited no empathy or sympathy from me by book's end. Opposite. I was hoping a Centaur would give HER a swift kick in the posterior. Get in line characters.....you ALL need a bitch slap.

As for the other main and supporting characters....same issue. None are likable. Fred (actually the central Main Character and focus of the book) comes off as a spoiled child mad at the world, his father and life at large. The author tries too hard here to elicit a sense of "teen angst" which only results in the most contrived outburst halfway through the book. It comes off as entirely phoney. Two head slaps for him. :-)

2) Why Explain a Thing?

The 2nd issue is a common one that many authors and writers have fallen prey too: The incessant urge to explain things.

Part of what made the first book so wondrous was that The Change itself was never explained beyond little hints and theories. How could such a thing happen? Who was responsible? Was it permanent? Did it encompass just the Earth or did the entire Universe suddenly "Change?" There are no definitive answers in "Ariel" leaving the reader to just sit and wonder....and marvel at the scale and complexity of it all.

In trying to explain "The Change" the author falls into the same pitfall of other great 'reveals.' It takes away from the mystique, and replaces it with something far less satisfying. It also takes away the reader's own attempts to envision how and why something like it could have happened. Worse, the official "explanation" ends up suffering from the same dreary "dullness" that infects the entire book. This problem is exacerbated by the author's attempt to portray "The Change" as simply "a new form of science." Why can't magik simply be left as "magik?" One has plenty of everyday Science in the Real World. It would have been better to have just left the question alone or at most, dangle a few more clues and teasers, allowing the reader to continue theorizing.

If you've read and loved "Ariel".....be warned. "Elegy Beach" is a very different kettle of Kraken. It was overall a hard, depressing and unhappy read. Best to stick with "Ariel", the now aged, dog-eared first edition paperback I still own, or the unfinished "Architect of Sleep" which was an enjoyable read and proof that the author was no "one hit wonder."
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Software meets magic Jan. 14 2010
By R. Garcia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Excellent follow-up to Ariel, a post-Apocalyptic novel where the Change has rendered modern devices obsolete and fantasy creatures roam the land. This takes place about 30 years later and the underlying Change has also changed. In Ariel the world Changed in the early 80s. Now the Change took place a few years in the future (there's a discussion of solar-powered iPods). But this ties up a lot of loose ends from Ariel and also has some fun with magic as a sort of software written on the operating system of the universe. The author admits this is what inspired him to write the book, but it's quickly lost as he catches up with the characters from Ariel. Still, a great follow-up from a much more mature author.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I think it was worth the wait. Sept. 11 2010
By MEGATØN - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In 1984, Steven R Boyett released his first novel, Ariel, and introduced us to his vision of a world after The Change, a world where, at 4:30 p.m. one day, magic returned to the land, and the laws of physics were simply rewritten. All technology - gunpowder, electricity, and even complicated machines - no longer functions, 90% of the people simply disappeared, and magical creatures like demons, dragons, and the unicorn, Ariel, appeared in their stead. The story followed Ariel, and her katana-wielding companion, Pete Garey, from Atlanta, to Washington DC, to New York City and an aerial assault on the Empire State Building. It had all the elements of a great post-apocalyptic road trip story, but threw in just enough swords and sorcery to make it even more interesting.

Ariel became a cult classic, and now, 25 years later, Boyett finally returns to the world of The Change with the long-awaited sequel, Elegy Beach.

Elegy Beach picks up about 20 years after the events of Ariel, and shifts to the West Coast, where Pete's son, Fred, is a young man growing up to be a talented caster. He and his best friend, Yan, try to apply scientific principles to the study of the magic that infuses their world, and for Yan, a taste of power only fuels his desire for even more.

The events that unfold next can be summed up in a scene where Fred thinks to himself, "In the air above the mountains in a battered gondola of a wounded airship on my way to confront my former best friend holed up in the ruin of a former castle while he perfects the casting that will reinstate the old world's order I am talking to a unicorn about whether the centaur following us is carrying my captured father. Um, ok..."

It might sound like more of a fantasy novel than a post-apocalyptic one, and in some ways it is, but a key theme here is the disparity between those who lived before The Change, and those who grew up after it, and the differences in their attitudes and world views. There's a great scene that takes place in a bubble of pre-Change space where Pete gets an old iPod to work, and plays some of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony for Fred, and it blows his mind. He has never heard anything approaching recorded music, and with it, he begins to understand the loss that the older generation feels, and starts to realize that there may be lessons from the old world that are worth learning.

And the setting of the book is classic 1st generation post-apocalyptic. Buildings that are not actively maintained are falling apart, forests and overgrowth are starting to reclaim the land, and society is just starting to rebuild, mostly in isolated villages along the coast. They scavenge old stores, re-read 30 year old newspapers, and try to make do with what they have available.

The story of friends becoming enemies has been done before of course, but in this case, the recycled plot doesn't hinder the book. The settings are interesting, events fast paced, and some of the dialog is just damnned funny, particularly because of the the wise and wise-cracking unicorn, Ariel. She is a fantastic character, and is the added element that transforms Elegy Beach from a standard post-apocalyptic story into something more.

I'm sorry it took 25 years to arrive, but better late than never, because it was well worth the wait. It's definitely the kind of book that you can pick up every few years and enjoy again. If you don't mind some fantasy mixed in with your post-apocalypses, I highly recommend it.