Some authors have a lot of pressure placed on them, usually due to a giant success at some point. Peter S. Beagle is one of those authors, thanks to his book The Last Unicorn (which was first published back in 1968!). Any book published by Beagle will always be much-anticipated and compared to Unicorn. As I’ve never read The Last Unicorn, there will be no comparison’s here!
But I do recognize the name so I was anxious to see what the hype was about. And I have to say I was disappointed.
Friendships and gods. This book is a leisurely stroll through the summer with a few friends who welcome the new girl, Lioness Lazos into their fold. But Lioness has an unusual past (and perhaps more unusual future) and she will bring about some interesting change among the group of friends.
Beagle is a very poetic writer. This is clearly his strength. I was drawn in to his work by his prose:
The guitarist grinned, accepting the challenge, and launched into a minor-tone ballad with a sinuous, arching melodic line, like a cat stretching itself in moonlight.
Then she was in the cab and gone, and he was standing naked in the motel doorway, looking out at a drizzly Chicago dawn, already sucked cold and colorless by the vampire wind.
It’s gorgeous writing. But it’s also boring.
We get sucked in, but we have nowhere to go. We hang out with these friends on these long summer days, and there’s something interesting going on, but we want to jump in and find out what it is, not wait for it to maybe reveal itself.
About halfway through the book the actual story starts to develop and for about one chapter I was really interested. It looked as though the plot was finally moving. But then it slows back down.
I took this journey because it promised to be interesting. Instead we get characters who could easily be my friends, and some poetic prose, but a plot slowed down by the poetry and mood.
Looking for a good book? Summerlong by Peter S. Beagle is a poetic fantasy that spends too much time being poetical rather than developing the story.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Peter S. Beagle
publisher: Tachyon Publications
hardcover, 256 pages