Ariel
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Ariel (Change #1)

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,222 ratings  ·  199 reviews
Ariel may've gone out of print after its 1983 debut, but fans haven't let it fade away. For years, used copies have been making the rounds, commanding a premium auction price & making a profit for used book dealers. Now, you can not only get your own fresh, updated version, you can get it as an ebook. Given its theme, the metamorphosis seems particularly ironic.

For two...more
Paperback, 1st Edition, 325 pages
Published December 1st 1983 by Ace
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,282)
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paula
Postapocalypse with unicorn. Ok, I'll bite, especially since I've been hearing about this book from people like Cory Doctorow ever since it was reprinted earlier this year. Apparently little Cory's imagination got rocked by Ariel when he was an adolescent.

And I could see that. Written by a nineteen-year-old boy in 1983 or so, Ariel features a classic love triangle: a beautiful, accomplished, perfect untouchable blonde who for some reason hangs around with our weedy twenty-year-old protagonist; a...more
Indrani
When the apocalypse comes, it will be not with a bang, but a whisper. And it will change everything...

Boyett concerns himself with the world after, and in this story, a boy and his unicorn. It is an adolescent coming-of-age story, and would read well to the 14 - 18 crowd, as its author admits.

What can I say? The ending is as inevitable here as it was in Peter Pan, and in some ways was poorly-handled. While some might suggest that the sex was graphic, having worked with teenaged boys, I can say...more
Jennifer Connolly
If you like SM Stirling's Change novels, you'll probably like Ariel as it seems Stirling cribbed heavily from this book in order to come up with his own "Change".

There are just as many inconsistencies in Boyett's book about how the Change works, but it is mostly easy to ignore. What's nice is it isn't loaded with all of the remarkably favorable coincidences that appear in Stirling's Dies the Fire (and presumably his other Change books in that same series, that I refuse to read).

Boyett's book is...more
N.K. Jemisin
I absolutely loved this book as a teenager. Read it to pieces, then could never find another copy. Fortunately it has been reissued, after far too long! It holds up incredibly well -- there are a few minor Handwavium (tm) moments in the plot that I never noticed before, and I can't help laughing now at all these geeky white guys playing samurai, but everything else is perfect. The characterization, the humor, the dreamy apocalyptic beauty of this Changed world... it's all as wonderful as I remem...more
Arial Burnz
I absolutely adored this novel when I read it back in high school and I'm reading it to my husband now and I still love it. I liked the totally unique take on the post-apocalyptic world Boyett created where magical beings emerged from the shadows and technology ceased to function. The rules had changed...and unicorns could not only talk, Ariel actually cusses! LOL! It's a wonderful story of fantasy, friendship, survival and battling the odds. In fact, I loved this book so much, it's where I got...more
Aryn
I'd recommend this book for mature-ish 15/16 year old boys. It's gory and sex-filled. However, it reads better if you think of Pete as a 16 year old boy rather than a 20 year old. It doesn't quite qualify as Young Adult, but it comes close. Pete is a good Young Adult hero, what doesn't make it Young Adult is the length, sex and gore. The writing style even puts it at borderline Young Adult.

I'm pretty sure I just read a 400 page metaphor for a boy going through puberty; either that or it's a 400...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Interesting little book. It's an odd sort of dated post apocalypse (if you can call it an apocalypse) book. The "Change" took place a few years ago and the story depends on a world where libraries still have card catalogs...smoking is more common..the Trade Towers still stand and a few other things.

I found the story, "okay". It was a little disappointing with lightly drawn characters who often behave in an illogical manner (view spoiler)...more
Alan
Dec 08, 2010 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the mash-up
Recommended to Alan by: I was a teenager, and still unicorn-friendly, the first time; 'nuff said
Just another story of a kid and his foul-mouthed unicorn, at least these days... but when it originally came out back in 1983, Ariel was a small treasure, a groundbreaking step in the reimagining of fantasy tropes that has since become such a major industry, and I loved it. The 2009 edition has only been slightly retconned (retroactively updated for continuity); Boyett explains why that is, in a brief Author's Note and an extensive Afterword (which is, to my mind, a major selling point of this e...more
Cynthisa
Read the "restored" reissue (2009) edition. I found the protagonist, Pete, a compelling character -- a 20-year-old loner wandering post-apocolyptic America-- an honest and original young man finding his way in the big, strange world of adults and serious consequences. (He cries alot, oddly. But that touch of anti-machismo perfectly suits him. So rarely do male authors let their male lead characters just have a good, honest cry!) This should be unsurprising, considering the author wrote this at 1...more
Darcie
Ariel... Oh how I love this book! I picked this book up off of a display at the book store because I liked the cover. I had never heard of it or Steven Boyett. I read what it was about and was interested right away.

Because I usually do not purchase books, I spend about a week trying to find it at our local libraries. I couldn’t wait to read it.

Unicorns are real?!?! WHAT! and magic really exists! I am hooked already. I love the badassness the main character brings. Wielding a Samurai sword, fig...more
Tanya Simon
this book, wow! First, I was horrified by what was happening to us all, then Bam! I am in a love story, so hopeless it breaks your heart, then I was tossed into a quest novel, with a little action, suspense and angst! The book was a roller coaster ride, that haunted me. I re-read books until I need new copies, but I have to space re-readings of Ariel out, because it is so beautifully heartbreaking.
Michael Haydel
I picked up Ariel for about $1 at a local Half Price Books, along with Desolation Road, after hearing about both of them via Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing.

I was really excited to give fiction another go, and I knew that of the two, Ariel sounded more appealing to me. So, I tackled Desolation Road first, and failed. I got about 160 pages in, and just couldn't do it. So, I took a bit of a break from fiction, read two non-fiction books, and then decided to try my hand at Ariel.

It went a lot better.

A...more
Adam
Don't read too much in the number of stars I gave this novel. The fact of the matter is, having finished this almost a week ago, I'm still not quite sure what to think of it.

In fact, I'll go one step further. I could easily justify any number of stars for this book: (*mild spoilers abound, particularly in the poorer reviews*)

5 stars: A brutal, but sympathetic, look at innocence, growing up, friendship, and sex that has the good fortune to sit on top of a rollicking post-apocalyptic action-adve...more
Sarah
“As the author says in his afterward, this is the kind of book that first-time readers of a certain age (teenager/early 20s) will love. I can totally see what he means by that. It's a coming-of-age novel, in a world where dragons and manticores live, where our modern technology has died, and where Pete and his unicorn Ariel fight to survive.

There's a lot here that people could really get into. The fantasy aspect is solid, with sword-and-sorcery popping up everywhere. And there's also a good dea...more
Denis
What a huge disappointment. It got high praise from several authors whose taste I generally respect, but their judgment must have been clouded by nostalgia. If I was reading this at age 14 I might have loved it just for the strong action scenes and interesting concept, but reading it as an adult I can't get over how poorly written it is. It's a teenage writer's first novel, and it reads like the work of an amateur. I couldn't help laughing at the author's comment in the afterword that he's "big...more
Lars J. Nilsson
This is by no means a bad book. Only, I probably approached it incorrectly. The author does mention himself, in the edition I have, that it is probably best suited for 13-18 year olds. And that makes sense, it reads like a teenage book. A teenage book with quite a lot of violence and sex though.

So the fact that it is fairly easy to figure out how it going to end, that the setup is largely cliche might not mean so much in the end.

I did like some of the characters, and some of the pacing. Also, he...more
Elizabeth
I thought this book was horrible. The ending is pretty good but everything up to the last 20 pages is awful. The main character makes bad choice after bad choice.

I'm not into the apocolyptic everyone that survives is evil thing anyway. Every civilization started some where but they all became civilizations not anarchies.

Just exactly why had the residents of his little neighborhood become marauding bandits within 4 hours of a power outage anyway? Mabye in the author's mind he explained this but i...more
Karissa
This book looked really interesting and I have read good things about it so I decided to give it a go. It was an enjoyable read, although there are a few things in the book which irked me a bit. This book was originally released in the early 80's and this is a re-release of it.

This story takes place in the post-Change world of the United States. The Change happened one day and suddenly all electricity/technology stopped working and magical creatures began roaming the earth. Humanity was left to...more
Lis
Okay...this book was...different. First off, I absolutely, totally adore end-of-civilization-type novels where most of humanity is killed off in some sort of plague/disaster, and the survivors wander the desolated streets, trying to scavenge supplies. I don't know why this scenario hits such a chord with me, but there really is no other type of fiction I find so...appealing. Ariel has lots of this. Unfortunately, civilization is destroyed in a completely illogical way that makes no sense. Everyt...more
Aaron Delay
Wow. I had never heard of this book until I stumbled onto it's sequel "Elegy Beach" in the library and suddenly I was in a world of unicorns and magic. The idea of "Ariel" is that for whatever reason (it's never really explained which I love) the world suddenly stopped being real. Technology, weapons, electricity and just about everything man created that moved, whistled and beeped no longer works.

Guns don't work. You can load it and fire it. Nothing happens. The titular character of this book...more
Erin
Part fantasy epic, part post-apocolyptic science fiction, part bildungsroman, part American road trip. A cross between The Last Unicorn, The Neverending Story, and The Stand. The protagonist's voice didn't ring true to me at first, but I was hooked by his relationship with the unicorn Ariel. Maybe I should have put bildungsroman first, actually; Pete goes from "annoying little shit" to "person I would probably tolerate", but despite my personal dislike for him, I enjoyed reading about his growth...more
Wayne
May 02, 2009 Wayne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sci Fi/Fantasy
What I love most about this book is the interaction Steven Boyette creates between the main characters Ariel and Pete Garey. These two banter about as life long companion while the world around them are in awe he travels with a unicorn. It still pains me in the end when Garey loses Ariel, though I no longer curse the woman who took away this privilege.
I also like books in which the mythical/mystical somehow affect the real world, I guess this stems from my D&D days as a kid.
There are two...more
Lurple
Ariel was one of my very favorite books as a young teen. I'd borrowed it from a friend, and after giving it back I searched for it for years (many years) until I finally found a used copy.

The good news is that it's finally been reprinted (and apparently has some new material that was omitted from the original), and you can purchase it fairly inexpensively in paperback or ebook formats. The reprint happened because the author finally wrote a sequel, almost 20 years later.

The book stands the test...more
Karlo
Sep 02, 2009 Karlo rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dave
I really liked this book even though it has some problems. For example, a lot of the combat scenes in the book seem unrealistic and no one ever tries to explain what happened to cause guns and cars and most modern-day technology to stop working and why magic does. Pollution disappears miraculously after six years without polluters (I'm thinkin' "uh-uh.") But I knowingly picked up a book about a dude walking around with a unicorn and I'm bitchin' about details like realism? It's a good, mostly we...more
S J Blake
This is the book (or at least the most modern one in its tradition) that really 'got' the post-apocalyptic survivalist genre and nailed it. A Change renders all modern technology obsolete, forcing the survivors to...well, survive. Sounds familiar? That's right. This is the pappy whose bastard children are now all grown up in a genre-garden of their very own. S.M. Stirling, Eric Flint, et al, salaam thy sire! The reason I post this now is because I've just learned that Steven R. Boyett has (final...more
Rosalynde
Apocalyptic fiction meets fantasy. The protagonist journeys up the Eastern Coast of a changed United States. No guns, no electricity since "The Change" happened five years prior. Oh, and also magical creatures are the norm in this new world . . . but not _that_ much of the norm, because our hero has a unicorn friend named Ariel and the baddies want to get their hands on her power (the horn, guys, its magical).

Obviously I HAD to read this book. But it is rather juvenile, I am afraid. And sexist...more
Carlos
This book was a chore to complete. The author had an interesting idea for this stroy, however; he was unable to pull it off. This is a world were technology no longer works and magic is now the norm. However, the author did not create a viable set of rules, for example, why do wind-up watches work but bikes cannot. The characters are very one dimensional and there were very little surprises in the story. I do not recommend this book to anyone.
Laura Tryphonopoulos
I reread this book after several years (I was 12/13). I'm sorry but who can't resist a unicorn? It has adventure, a little sci-fi, a little fantasy based on reality (it takes place on a real location - it's rooted in reality). It brings back good memories from a family vacation when I was little. A great fun read. Timeless. I'm glad it reprinted. I wouldn't have even known had I not checked out podrunner app! A happy coincidence.
Juushika
A young man and his Familiar, a unicorn, are interrupted in their journeys across post-apocalyptic America by a necromancer who has his sights set on Ariel's horn. With a unicorn and magical apocalypse, Ariel is an interesting book in part and in theory; the world has potential, and the companion animal trope is particularly id-driven and surprisingly explicit as an examination purity and intimacy. But Boyett caves to the perceived need for an antagonist/conflict/climax, and while the grittiness...more
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43538
Steven R. Boyett lives in Southern California and wouldn't have it any other way. Steve has been a writing teacher, editor, martial-arts instructor, and professional paper marbler, among other things. He is too modest to admit it, but he plays a mean digeridoo. His short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, and he has also written comic books and a draft of the movie Toy St...more
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