The Black Unicorn

The Black Unicorn  - Terry Brooks

'Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold!' ended with Ben Holiday in possession of his magic powers of kingliness and how he defeated/banished/subdued the main antagonists towards his rule. There was a lot about the kingdom left unsaid, particularly concerning the people that sold it to him in the first place.

On finishing 'The Black Unicorn', most things were still left unsaid.

I pray you, expand the cover image as Darrell K. Sweet has surpassed himself with this one. Our vacant-eyed love interest, Willow, leads the titular unicorn stage left; the emerald and ebony hues and turbulent sky are classically offset by a god-damned rainbow.

The novel starts with Ben Holiday's magic warm castle Sterling Silver fully staffed and his modernization plans purring through committees. There are still long strides to make before the kingdom functions again and all sides (really, only two count and are treated with any length at all - the River Master's people and the feudal landlords) still mistrust each other. Holiday, Questor, and Willow have strange dreams; Holiday dreams about the friend he left behind, Questor about the lost books of magic and Willow about the black unicorn and a harness that will capture it. The black unicorn is a creature whose appearance has always led to disaster. Each dreamer is driven to ignore the better advice of their friends and pursue the truths behind their dreams. Rumors of the black unicorn lead to all in the land (read:feudal landlords and the River Master) desiring the creature for themselves.

The characters go through the book much as they did the last one, Holiday goes through some tribulations, but finally reaches the step I thought he'd taken at the end of the last one. The one new character, Dirk, is a fancy kind of cat that is as aloof and clever as you want from a cat in a fantasy book. A little too clever, his hints might have been over Holiday's head, but they reveal everything far too soon in the novel for the reader. I read this book, and the next, because I told myself I would, but I didn't enjoy it much or have any appreciation for Brooks' style or substance until the very end of the book where there is a lovely bit about unicorns.



Previous: 'Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold!'

Next: 'Wizard at Large'