N.K. Jemisin's Reviews > Elegy Beach

Elegy Beach by Steven R. Boyett
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Dec 21, 09

Read in November, 2009

Magnificent and worthy sequel to Boyett's cult classic Ariel. Boyett's grown as an author in the time since, and he tries some experimental things here that I don't always like, but which effectively convey how much the world has been transformed by the Change. I love the tension between the children of the Change and those of the old world, and wish Fred (the protagonist) had fought harder to show his father that the new world was pretty kickass too. Most interesting scene, IMO, was the magical "rave" that the kids had developed, showing that the world's shift to magic need not revert it to medieval cliche; these are still 21st century people, just dealing with a different kind of tech. This whole "magic as new technology" theme got carried through the story in really innovative, sometimes frightening ways.

In fact, the only weakness of the story was the reunion of Pete and Ariel, because both characters had changed so much, grown so bitter with their troubles, that they sort of weighed the story down. Like watching the reunion of old lovers who've grown apart -- never fun to see, and a little depressing. Worse, they served as a constant distraction from other relationships that I wanted to see more of (Pete and Fred, Ariel and Fred, Fred and Yan). On the other hand, I was very glad to know what had happened to both characters after the previous book. So I'm not deducting any stars for that segment of the book, because it served its purpose. And because I'm wholeheartedly recommending this book anyway -- it's that good.

Also note: I think it would work well as a standalone, for those who haven't read Ariel.
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