I don't like most Vampire stories. I enjoy any story that plays with tropes though and turns them on their head. So, here we have a YA vampire book thI don't like most Vampire stories. I enjoy any story that plays with tropes though and turns them on their head. So, here we have a YA vampire book that has a girl who becomes romantically entangled with a vampire. Been done to death. (No pun intended.) But here's what I found refreshing that while this book does cover already covered territory -- exploring the romanticism with death, immortality and the glamour of vampires, it also drags itself away from some tropes. Love here springs almost entirely from an act of mercy. That. Just that helps me buy the story. That and how romance and obsession is not the primary motivating factor of our heroine. Instead, Tana is motivated by her personal morality, survival instincts and a desire to protect others. She is I think for the most part a well-rounded character as the author delves into Tana's childhood experiences with her infected mother that color the character's feelings towards vampires and certainly every other part of life. A quick read and, like most books by Holly Black, expertly paced....more
There is something to Tanith Lee's prose that draws me back. I first discovered her through the Terri Windling anthologies and eventually made my wayThere is something to Tanith Lee's prose that draws me back. I first discovered her through the Terri Windling anthologies and eventually made my way to her longer works. In these volumes, I found myself looking for her name because her stories much like Patricia McKillip's and Robin McKinley's were rich in imagery.
Black Unicorn also contains that lovely rich imagery that invigorates the imagination. "Somewhere between the city and the desert, sunset began. The sky was apple-red in the west, and in the east the coolness of lilac raised the ceiling of the air to an impossible height. Stars broke out like windows opening."
Tanaquil is exasperated with her sorceress mother, Jaive, who is too busy with her spells and studies to notice that her daughter needs to grow out from under her shadow. This really is a classic story of growing up in that way, but the key to Tanaquil's journey from home and towards her own independence and her own identity is through the milk-crystal bones brought to her by her own pet peeve (no, really the creatures are called peeves.) Tanaquil feels quite honestly like a teenager but without too much peevishness to spoil her appeal.
This story could fall into cliche easily -- the sorceresses are red-headed, parents are neglectful. But instead of feeling tired, the story feels universal and vibrant. My only complaint is the brevity of the story, but since this is the first in a trilogy I'm sure this complaint will be addressed.
And truly this is a nice heroine for the young adult audience -- refreshingly she is more inclined to mechanics than fashion and there is not a jot of romance in this first book to distract from the personal growth of Tanaquil as an individual.
Oh and the unicorn is truly wonderful and terrible (although I think my heart was won by the peeve.)...more