Two Hearts (Peter S. Beagle Short Story Review)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“You’re Not Good Enough” Book Tag

Despite that bleak-sounding title, this tag is actually a lot of fun. 🙂 I saw Birdie Bookworm’s post with it and couldn’t resist giving it a shot. The rules of the game go as such: you pick 30 characters from books you’ve read and write those names down. After that, you randomly select 2 of those names for each of the questions. At this point, you’ll use what you know about each of the characters to pick who you think is the best answer given the specific question presented. Pretty easy, right? Since I like reading graphic novels/comics so much, I’m including characters from those as well as regular novels. Alrighty, now that we’ve sorted out the rules, let the games begin!

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You only have one more spot on your spelling bee team, who would you pick to complete your team?

Sevro au Barca (from the Red Rising trilogy) VS. Zaphod Beeblebrox (from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

Huh, funny how both characters came from science fiction novels. Well, this one is definitely no contest. In a match of intellect I am absolutely going to have to pick Sevro over the outlandish Zaphod Beeblebrox.

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Both characters want to kill you, which one would you kill first so you have a better chance of surviving?

Katniss Everdeen (from The Hunger Games trilogy) VS. The Darkling (from the original Grisha trilogy Shadow and Bone)

Damn, I would prefer not to be on the bad side of either of these characters, but I’d say I’d rather not have to take on the Darkling over Katniss. I’ll take my chance with Katniss and her arrows in this case.

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You’re on the Bachelor/Bachelorette and you’re down to these two characters, which one are you going to give your rose to?

Atticus Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird) VS. Temple (from The Reapers are the Angels)

Yeaaahhh, I’m going to have to say I’ll go with Atticus Finch on this one. I’m not looking to woo any underage girls, no matter how good at killing zombies they might be.

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You’ve been chosen for the Hunger Games, who would most likely volunteer in your place?

Maika Halfwolf (from Monstress) VS. Melanie (from The Girl with All the Gifts)

I would have to say Melanie. She seems way more likely to take one for the team and go into the games willingly to protect someone, especially if she cares about them. Maika on the other hand is a lot more jaded and would probably just let me go into the games to die.

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You’re stranded on an island, which character would you sacrifice to engage in cannibalism?

Esther (from Giant Days) VS. Molly Grue (from The Last Unicorn)

Ew. lol I’m not looking to turn cannibal any time soon, but logistically speaking, Molly is more scrawny and wiry if I’m remembering right, so probably not that great to eat. If you’re going to stoop to eating people to survive, might as well eat someone that is a little more tender like Esther. Sorry, Esther!

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You’re the next DC/Marvel superhero (with your own tv show, of course), who is your sidekick?

Hodor (from A Song of Ice and Fire) VS. Lord Maccon (from Soulless)

Okay, I adore Hodor and all, but I am going to have to say Lord Maccon. How could I pass up having a ruggedly sexy Scottish werewolf for a sidekick? I’m sure his alpha tendencies would cause a power struggle, but I think I’d be okay with that. 😉

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You’re a manager of an avocado admiring company, who would you fire for lack of communication skills?

Coburn (from Double Dead) VS. Angel (from My Life as a White Trash Zombie)

Heh, undead pitted against the undead. What an interesting turn of events. Well, I know that Coburn has one hell of a foul mouth on him and an attitude for days, so I suppose he might not be as great communicating with whatever sorts of customers or clients frequent “avocado admiring companies” overall. “The customer is always right” is sure to not fly with him, especially if the customer is a homicidal idiot like the ones he encounters in his book.

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You’ve just finished a book in which your favorite character dies, which character is most likely to comfort you?

Alice (from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) VS. Luther Strode (from The Strange Talent of Luther Strode)

Mmmkay, so on one hand we have a hulking ultra-violent killing machine, and on the other we have a small little English girl. Oddly enough though, I’m going to have to give this one to the massive beast of a man who can shove his fist straight through your chest. Luther has that sensitive side to him that keeps him from just becoming another ruthless maniac. He’s got heart, so I could see him comforting someone like that. Plus, Alice doesn’t see the point in books without pictures, so yeah, definitely gonna have to give this one up to Luther.

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Ugh, it’s High School. Who would most likely be part of the popular clique?

Isabelle Rossignol (from The Nightingale) VS. Kinsey Locke (from Locke & Key)

I would have to say Isabelle for this one. There’s nothing snooty about her character or anything like that, but she’s a girl that everyone deems to be beautiful and although there is SO much more to her character than just looks, that’s really all it takes for some people to be deemed “popular” in society. Plus, Kinsey’s got too many demons (literally AND metaphorically) to join the ranks of the popular kids at school.

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The day has arrived; you’re finally a year older! Who would have the nerve to forget your birthday?

Bilbo Baggins (from The Hobbit) VS. Jeremy Clovenhoof (from Clovenhoof)

Jeremy Clovenhoof. Without a doubt. The guy is literally the devil, so yeah, gonna have to go with Clovenhoof on this one.

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You’ve just found an upcoming BookTube star. Who would it most likely be?

Emily “with a Y (from The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls) VS. Arya Stark (from A Song of Ice and Fire)

Heh. Just the fact that both of these characters would have no access to the technology needed to become BookTube stars is funny to me. But, pretending that they did in fact have the technology, I would see Emily being more into that sort of thing than Arya. It’s been a long time since Arya had time for things like books.

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Sleepover time! Unfortunately, you can only invite one person. Who would you invite?

Gwen (from Spider-Gwen) VS. Inej (from Six of Crows)

Hmm . . . I think I’d have to go with Inej. I really liked her character in SoC. She seems like a really good friend in the story, too.

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Bam! You’re pregnant! Who’s the other parent?

Dee (from Rat Queens) VS. Marko (from Saga).

Well, that certainly escalated quickly. Both characters are awesome, but I’m gonna have to go with Marko. Added bonus: He’s already got that dad thing down since he’s got a kid. Major drawbacks: He’s got a bounty on his head aaaand I really don’t feel like getting my ass kicked by his wife (and awesome character/his soulmate) Alana.

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You’ve just written a super important text. Who would see it, but not reply?

Karou (from Daughter of Smoke & Bone) VS. Darrow (from Red Rising)

This is a tough one. Neither of them are really jerks or anything, but both of them feel like they have the weight of the world(s) on their shoulders, so I could really go with either or on this question. I think we’ll go with Darrow though since the technology in his story is beyond the point of simple text messages. He’d probably see my archaic form of communication and laugh.

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You’ve just woken up and it’s time for breakfast. Your mom and dad have been replaced by . . . who?!

Tyrion Lannister (from A Song of Ice and Fire) or Atticus O’Sullivan (from The Iron Druid Chronicles)

While it would be beneficial to have a powerful druid for a family member, Atticus is just too swoon-worthy of a character to be a parental figure. So Papa Tyrion it is.

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Like I said, I went ahead and did this tag after seeing Birdie’s awesome post, so if you think it looks fun, have at it! And let me know if you do because I’d love to read your answers. 😀

 

 

Stardust

What’s life without a little whimsy?

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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.

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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. 🙂