The Unicorn Sonata
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The Unicorn Sonata

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  625 ratings  ·  40 reviews
On a hot summer day in Los Angeles, thirteen-year-old Josephine "Joey" Rivera -- a misfit in junior high school but a born musician -- meets a disquieting young man named Indigo who plays ghostly, haunting music on a horn the hue of a conch shell. The sound of his music stays with her, distant and beguiling, until she follows it down an ordinary street and across an unseen...more
Hardcover, 154 pages
Published June 26th 2001 by Turner Publishing , Inc. (first published January 1st 1996)
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I agree with Madeleine L'Engle: I'm grateful that Peter S.Beagle "continues to be one of my favorite authors." This is the third book I've read by him, and I love it as much as the other two (The Last Unicorn and A Fine and Private Place). I love his deceptively simple writing style, his character development, and the development of theme.
Josephine Rivera is a great thirteen-year-old girl with all the problems and quirks of adolescence masking a deeper part of her that longs to connect and find...more
I started reading this a week or weeks ago. (What meaning, Time?) I stopped because, while it had some elements I was excited to find (like the music elements), it had one thing that just drained me. And that was that when Joey crossed the border between ours and Shei’rah, what does she meet but a satyr. And I was just so mad that it wasn’t something better, something far from Narnia.

But when I was able to get over that, I was able to realize the differences, and then it seemed...well, an elemen...more
I love Peter S. Beagle, but this is definitely a weak work of his- possibly because it was intended for a young adult audience. I would also venture to say- young girls, in particular. There are a couple of shining moments where Peter's unique style and prose show up- not to mention his particular brand of humor (namely the unicorn Indigo's love of coffee drinks) but mostly this is unicorns in a meadow being pretty while nymphs and fauns play. It sort of reminds one of the pastoral sequence in F...more
I wasn't super impressed by this book, which was too bad, because I loved The Last Unicorn (probably because I grew up on the movie...)

I found the characters here to be lackluster, the storyline to be flat, and the world created to be pretty standard. There is really nothing new here, so real sense of magic that I found, and very little intrigue. I suppose this book is meant for younger readers, but, quite honestly, I think the best young adult books should appeal to older readers as well, and s...more
I wanted to read this book because I've just finished an epic tome and I've got a couple more epic tomes coming up on the To Read list and I just wanted something simple and light and pretty.

Peter S. Beagle is always good for pretty, and this book is no exception. He's usually not particularly simple or light, but this foray into children's literature is an exception. It's portal fantasy and not particularly gripping, but 13 year old me would have loved it. It's not my favorite Beagle work by an...more
Daniel Lieberman
This is a beautiful book full of wonderful moments. Overall, though, it wasn't as good as I hoped it would be. Beagle spends a lot of time contrasting the real world with the magic world by listing things like rent-to-own stores, broken gas stations, etc., compared to blue trees and tiny dragons. Wonderful, but he does it three or four times throughout the book without any sort of progression or development of meaning. They're almost just lists. In fact, his world of magic is lovely, but it does...more
I don't think this is one of Beagle's best (which is why it is, I think, the only one of his books I don't own). Nicely written, as always, but the plot moved slowly, and I found the ending rather unconvincing.
Once again, never met a Peter S. Beagle book I didn't like to a certain degree, though Unicorn Sonata is a far cry from The Last Unicorn; probably because so much of the reality you and I already know and live with day to day is so prevalent.

Summary: Josephine Rivera (aka Joey) is a budding musician that hates school and prefers to hang around a dusty old music shop with a dusty old Greek man named John Papas. One day, a boy walks in to Papas Music store and plays a horn the likes of which no on...more
I hate giving a Peter S. Beagle unicorn book only 2 stars but that is how I feel about it, I didn't really like it.
If you have any 10-12 years old girls that you want to give a book to you should consider this but anybody who doesn't quite fit that target group will very likely feel underwhelmed with "The Unicorn Sonata".
Mostly I believe that is because there isn't much 'there' in this novella (which could have been better reduced to a short story). So, we have our young female protagonist, ku...more
This book is hard to put into words but I'm going to try. I'm going to try really, really hard because it's an awesome book and it should be read by all, if I can be dramatic for a moment.

Peter S. Beagle wrote one of my favorite books, the Last Unicorn. If you know him for something, it's that book or the animated movie based on it. While at a con that he was attending, I realized that I hadn't read any of his other books. So while picking up (and having him sign) my new copy of the Last Unicorn...more
Christina Brummett
This obviously wasn't as good as The Last Unicorn. It was a YA book and it showed. Still, the world building was pretty impressive, and the language was beautiful (just like I'd expect from a P.S. Beagle book). The story itself, however, was quite predictable, and the whole thing ended up feeling like a teenage girl's fantasy. Still, while I wouldn't recommend it to my adventure-novel loving son, I'll probably give it to my daughter in a couple of years.
Melanie Terry
This book did not hold the same magic for me as The Last Unicorn did. First and foremost, this book is extremely dated. It takes place in "modern" (which is obviously the early 1990s) Las Angeles. I liked the descriptions and the fantasy world that Joey gets transported to, but the world she comes from has too much weight for the story. This would be a better book if pure fantasy with no basis in the real world.
I picked this up on a total whim because a)Peter S. Beagle and b)unicorns. Unfortunately, I did not find it to be all that magical or interesting. A major part of the book was music, which is always hard to get across in a book.

Even the pictures were just kind And who doesn't love pictures?!
This is one of Beagle's weaker books, in my opinion. While his style continues to be delicious, the fantasy world in this book seems cliche. It's as if it's saying "Look! I'm a fantasy world! The trees here are red and purple! Satyrs and tiny dragons live here! And talking unicorns!". It isn't very original, unfortunately.

The main character is also a typical troubled teen girl looking for more to her mundane life, who befriends an old man with a music shop. I was disappointed there was no twist...more
Simple storytelling full of honest emotion as seen through the eyes of a girl who accidentally travels to a magical land full of magical creatures.
Beautiful story, refreshingly different than The Last Unicorn. The world is rich and detailed, and it's funny that this was written to "pay the bills", as it still has the unmistakable touch of Beagle's magic style. I adored the main pairing and the heroine's relationship with her grandmother and the appreciation of age and wisdom that was the heart of the book. The only flaw I could possibly find is that the ending was not a true circle, and a certain someone should have appeared at the end of...more
Sep 29, 2009 Nix rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults and older kids
Shelves: animals, magic
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
As a BIG fan of The Last Unicorn (I grew up with the movie and adored the book) I was interested in this book as well. It is a completely different world, however, so if you are looking for more of the same you might be disappointed. This is a unique story and I very much enjoyed it. It's also a good story and now that I have it on the brain, I'm very tempted to read it again. In fact, I think I might yank it off the shelf and give it a whirl right now...
Dec 13, 2010 Molly rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves fantasy.
This was fantastic! I read The Last Unicorn long ago, but this is, I think, better. The modern setting and the fully-realized fantasy world combined with an immature, unreasonable, incredibly talented, teenaged main character made this book--well, believable, if that's a word you can use for fantasy. That, combined with the quick read and the amazing illustrations made this a perfect choice for a blizzard day.
Enjoyable read. The feel of an urban fantasy. The main character, Joey, stumbles upon a magical land and adventure ensues. She, like the reader, are easily captivated by the creatures and troubles in this new land (Shei'rah). The aspect of music is added too, and it's power.

It reminded me a lot of Charles de Lint's Moonheart and T.A. Barron's The Ancient One.
Definitely intended for younger tweens or even younger. But given the intended audience, still good even if it isn't Beagle's best work. The illustrations are really good, however! I also like how a black unicorn is the oldest and wisest of the unicorns, and the two most import characters are women of colour, one very young and one very old.
Jul 29, 2007 Rosefromfire rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any peter s. beagle reader
second book I read by Mr. Beagle. from what I can recall, not as good as his Last Unicorn, but what is? I got the opportunity to meet him at a convention this pas spring and finally bought a copy of my own. he was very gracious and funny- signed my book! I think if you like his other titles, you will like this one too.
Alyssa Hart
Not nearly as captivating, heartbreaking, or as beautifully written as "The Last Unicorn" but still an enjoyable quick read. My only real issue with it was the dialog; a lot of it was just annoying. I hate it when I'm reading a story and constantly have to think to myself "This is not how people really talk."
Somehow I missed reading this when it first came out. Now I have: it's not as good as his other books I read long ago, but still worth reading. Definitely Juvenile reading level, but that doesn't detract as much as I feared. Very good other-world-portal setup, Ilustrations are nice.
not bad, but not quite great to me either. the last unicorn is one of my all time favorite books and this didn't quite reach the same sort of standard. still enjoyable on many levels, but definitely not the same sort of classic as the last unicorn. a bit disappointing to me overall.
I am very surprised that this got such a low average rating. No, it is not as good as The Last Unicorn. It is, however, original and very good in its own way. I would certainly recommend it to any fan of Peter S. Beagle and to anyone else for that matter.
Kristina Wojtaszek
Favorite line:
"I want to see you wear it now, here, not looking down from heaven. That's too faraway, heaven, my eyes aren't so good anymore."
Her Abuelita was wonderful! And so was Joey for how much she loved her.
A magical story, and I can see the "story within" that Mr. Beagle is currently turning into a longer story, I think three books long. A wonderful read for any fantasy lover or initiate.
Angela Millsap
I'm tempted to say that I would recommend anything by Peter S. Beagle. . . This is a contemporary fantasy. If you like music and/or unicorns, read this book.
Matt Piechocinski
I have, in my head, an ever growing list of books that I can't wait to introduce my child to, if I have one ... and this is one of them. Great stuff.
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Goodreads Librari...: How to UN-merge books 2 28 Aug 15, 2011 01:43AM  
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  • The Dragons of Ordinary Farm (Ordinary Farm Adventures, # 1)
  • Upland Outlaws (A Handful of Men, #2)
  • The Unicorn Creed (Argonian #2)
  • Strands of Starlight (Strands, #1)
  • Singer of Souls (Singer of Souls, #1)
  • O Crepúsculo dos Elfos (A Trilogia dos Elfos, #1)
  • Red Unicorn (Unicorn, #3)
  • They Came From Below
  • Wet Magic
Peter Soyer Beagle (born April 20, 1939) is an American fantasist and author of novels, nonfiction, and screenplays. He is also a talented guitarist and folk singer. He wrote his first novel, A Fine and Private Place , when he was only 19 years old. Today he is best known as the author of The Last Unicorn, which routinely polls as one of the top ten fantasy novels of all time, and at least two of...more
More about Peter S. Beagle...
The Last Unicorn (The Last Unicorn, #1) A Fine and Private Place Tamsin The Innkeeper's Song Two Hearts (The Last Unicorn, #1.5)

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