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Elegy Beach Hardcover – November 3, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Change Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ariel, a tough-talking unicorn, and her best friend, Peter Garey, reunite in this sporadically charming sequel to 1983's Ariel. Their colorful postapocalyptic world has experienced the Change, in which magic made science obsolete. Now young spellcaster Yanamandra Ramchandani wants to reverse the Change, and Ariel's unicorn mate, Joe, has been murdered. To stop Yan and find the killer, Ariel and Peter recruit Fred Garey, Peter's son and Yan's best friend, as well as Yan's father. Boyett enhances the adventure with tantalizing glimpses of forever-Changed sites like John Wayne Airport, the Goodyear Airship station and San Simeon, but it's marred by fuzzy details (why would magic users eat 30-year-old canned chili instead of conjuring food?) and lacks the original's sparkle. (Nov.)
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From Booklist

This fine sequel to Boyett’s Ariel (1983) plays out in the same post-holocaust world, where years ago what is called the Change suddenly destroyed technology and reduced survivors of the ensuing catastrophe to scavenging in the rubble. Two of those folk have gone beyond scavenging. Fred and Yan have developed spellware, a scientific approach to generating magic. But Yan is fanatical about bringing back the old world, while Fred is more cautious, and unknown menaces are lurking in the shadows of history. Boyett’s Change saga (well, at any rate, trilogy, given that spellware still has a lot of bugs) has a good deal in common with S. M. Stirling’s best-selling saga of the same name, including the basic premise of a sudden, disastrous decivilization event. The resemblance continues with superior characterization and world-building, and literate, sometimes even lyrical, prose. Fortunately, probably more than enough readers are and will be pleased by both Change series to keep both Stirling and Boyett fat and happy. --Roland Green
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; First Edition edition (November 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441017959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441017959
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,961,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Reed on November 24, 2009
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.
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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!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I re-read Ariel before reading this sequel. Mr. Boyett learned a lot about writing between his first novel and this one, I was very pleased to see! Elegy Beach is complex and interesting, with questions about meaning and purpose, revering versus letting go of the past, and other things you can either think about or gloss over, as you wish. I quite enjoyed it specifically because nothing is what you assume if you have read a lot of fantasy, and that's fun. You don't have to have read Ariel to enjoy this story, he's covered just enough of that past for you. But if you do, it adds a nice layer to the characters as we see them this much later.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved much of Ariel--most of it, even--but the ending left me cold and angry. Or at least deeply unsatisfied.

Elegy Beach rejoins Pete and Ariel decades later, when they're older, wiser, and a bit more jaded. Interestingly, the story isn't told from their perspective, but from that of Pete's son. It's an inspired choice, one that helps Boyett create a compelling, poignant, beautifully nuanced novel by letting us see these familiar characters through fresh eyes.

Boyett is just as gifted with language as he's ever been, and his well-crafted plot is fairly airtight--no small task for a sci-fi/fantasy book, especially one this long. In fact, I'd argue that his talents have grown over the past 30 years. It may help to (re)read Ariel before tackling Elegy Beach, but it stands on its own, too.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'd read Ariel many years ago, lost the book, and stumbled across it in Kindle form (yay Kindle!). I had no idea that there was even a sequel, but found it thanks to Amazon's suggestions (yay Amazon!).
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The novel picks up 25 or so years after the first story ended. Peter has settled down on the West Coast, has raised a son, lost a wife and is now living out his years in one of the communities which have banded together to survive in the post-Change world. His son, Fred (yes, named after his sword), is learning how to be a caster. He seems to have some skill, but like most young people is looking for shortcuts.

He and his friend, Yan, seem to have "cracked the code" for creating powerful magic. Yan embarks on a quest to magnify and solidify his power, and Peter (along with Yan's father and Peter) are forced to go after him to try to stop what may be yet another doomsday for the world.

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I'd recommend re-reading Ariel. While written 26 years before Elegy Beach, it still holds up well.

I felt that many of the issues and questions which were raised in the first book are, if not resolved, at least discussed. This is not to say we find out what caused the Change itself, but more related to the motivations and actions of the characters who we were introduced to in the first book.

Ariel was a book which I had read a long time ago, but the story and characters had remained with me. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and finishing it I felt a sense of closure. I actually wouldn't mind another installment, to see what Fred ends up doing with his life.

-DA
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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...
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