Two Hearts (Peter S. Beagle Short Story Review)

2387722

Peter S. Beagle’s whimsical fantasy tale The Last Unicorn is a classic. It’s one of my favorite books of all time, so when The Shameful Narcissist recently read and provided a link to a short follow-up to the story, of course I was eager to return to Mr. Beagle’s rich and enchanting world of magicians, unicorns and other mythical beasts.

giphy

The original tale is a clever and spellbinding journey all its own, so I was very hopeful that this newer adventure would be able to capture some of the magic woven in the first book. I was obviously hopeful, but I had to wonder, could Two Hearts manage to match the charm and whimsy of its legendary predecessor? Well, as Captain Cully would say: sit down, have a taco, and let’s talk about Two Hearts.

200

Although this short story features multiple characters we came to love in The Last Unicorn, you may be surprised to learn that the main character is someone new entirely. Sooz, a young girl from a small village plagued by a child-eating griffin, is done waiting for the king to send more knights who all seem to fall prey to the very beast they’ve been sent to slay. She’s decided to take matters into her own hands and runs away from home to seek the king out for herself, to get his help specifically. Young Sooz, you see, has heard all about brave King Lir and the dragons and giants he’s slain, the impossible riddles he’s solved, and the maidens he’s saved.

lastunicorn1

Unfortunately, no matter how noble the hero, the one thing they may never vanquish is time, and the king is now in the later years of his life, his mind often failing him. On her way to seek the king, Sooz befriends the infamous Molly Grue and Schmendrick the magician from the first tale. Although King Lir is frequent to forget and lose himself as he admits to Sooz, the mention of a familiar character always manages to bring him back, if even for only a matter of time.

4Tyc

Lir’s bravery and kindness propel him to agree to help Sooz and her village, but will the best intentions of an aging hero be enough to finally bring an end to the griffin? You’ll have to find that one out for yourself. 😉

I will tell you, however, that Peter S. Beagle definitely captured the enchantment of his original tale once more, much to my delight. Especially in the last third or so of the story. We finally get to see what has become of the characters he introduced us to so many years ago, and he introduces us to a brave young girl who would do anything to protect those she cares for against a hungry monstrous creature. For fans of The Last Unicorn, I would definitely say this one is easily worth the read. I enjoyed it and it made me want to re-read the original book again.

unicornsnow

Advertisements

Stardust

What’s life without a little whimsy?

7ddaa0a8004b31e962af741889f51509

For those of us who spend a considerable amount of time in public with our nose buried deep in a book, there is one question above all others we are accustomed to hearing:   “Hey, whatcha reading?”

So I figured I’d take a moment to stop and share the answer to just that very question.

I tend to rather enjoy books that have a fanciful or odd way of telling their story. It’s one of the many reasons Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn will always hold a special place in my heart.

An author who has always been on my to-read list for this very sort of reason is Neil Gaiman. I wasn’t sure where to begin, but on my best friend and I’s most recent book hunting expedition at our local library I plucked up a copy of Stardust. Seemed as good of a place to start as any.

stardust

Well, Mr. Gaiman, you do not disappoint. I haven’t even quite finished this little delight yet and I already am plotting which of your worlds I shall set up camp in next.

Stardust is proving to be the charming and quirky sort of fairy tale that I admire but simply do not come across as often as I would like. And although the movies almost never measure up to the books, I look forward to watching the film once I’ve finished reading. 🙂