[ read online books ] Black UnicornAuthor Tanith Lee – Gsagency.co

From A Two Time Winner Of The World Fantasy Award, Here Is A Delightful Fantasy That Was Named One Of The Best Books For Young Adults By The American Libarary Association The Daughter Of A Sorceress Discovers The Pearly Bones Of A Unicorn That, When Reassembled, Comes Magically Back To Life And Leads Her On Incredible Adventures


10 thoughts on “Black Unicorn

  1. says:

    Black Unicorn isn t a typical fantasy novel Usually these types of stories feature brave heroes and magical people with incredible powers, but the main character of this book, a girl whose only ability seems to be making things and playing with machinery Tanaquil is surprised when she discovers she has a greater role to play after all, and that magic doesn t always have to be some powerful mystic construct However, her sorceress mother often neglects her and her father might as well not exist Bored and dreaming of a better life, Tanaquil s circumstances change for the exciting when she and her animal friend Peeve discover how to resurrect a unicorn and help it.This is the kind of fantasy story I like, which breaks through the typical tropes of knights and dragons and hobgoblins to create something a little unique Even the unicorn itself isn t your average rainbow sparkly pony or majestic stallion The characters are all flawed and complex yet likable and creative, and one of the best things throughout is the friendships that are formed throughout Tanaquil also shares a valuable lesson that sometimes being special isn t always a visible trait You can still be special without needing to impress others or show off Tanaquil s gifts for imagination and craftiness put her in a league of her own.


  2. says:

    My all time favorite book An intelligent YA novel by Tanith Lee that never talks down to its audience A creative take on this mythical beast, Lee s unicorn is hardly the gentle creature the reader expects Tanaquil, the heroine, is a spirited and likable young girl, probably the most lovable of all Lee s characters This fantasy novel takes place in a jewel of a fictional world and is ultimately about family relationships, learning that one s world and one s family may be far from perfect, but they are worthy of love Tanaquil s relationships with her mother and sister are stunningly complex A coming of age adventure story for young female readers, this book is a modern classic Unfortunately, it s sequels don t live up to it s brilliance.


  3. says:

    Black Unicorn is a sly book A teen girl rebelling against her career focused mom, till she runs off after a unicorn How very YA And yet the book keeps bumping up against what it means to be broken, to be lost, to be a part of something that has no place in the world This is the kind of book that gives YA a good name Not to forget that the Peeve is the best comic sidekick since Gurgi.


  4. says:

    Some might question why I would rate this book Four out of Five Stars, and I will back up my reasoning for this by stating that at first read, it may not seem like it s worth such a rating The beginning all the way through until nearly the very end is full of chaotic, annoying, even frustrating situations There are so many things that are all over the place, and that go wrong or annoy the heck out of you in this book, or that make no sense in any logical way possible Plus the people, with the exception of ironically Gork, in my opinion, are all for the most part things to just get in the way and muddle everything up even It can be a really annoying read because the entire mood of the book is wrought with high tension and a very tangible line of ire Every second you can sense an aggression in the characters or situations the story leads you through And when there s no anger, you re still liable to grit your teeth and try to muscle your way through Even the way the story reads adds to this, and since this is the only book I ve read by Tanith Lee, I m not sure if this is her writing style, or if she did it on purpose However, I m leaning towards the second one for a reason that I will explain shortly The book for the most part, to sum it up, comes off as a very terse, very aggravating read There s little sense in it, and the situations you read about are hard to accept, because they re either annoying or revolting or insulting enough to make any sensible person refuse to.and then you get to the part of the book s namesake The Unicorn It s not your normal fantasy book, because instead of being filled with awe inspiring magical lands and deeds and High Magic, and blah blah blah, etc You have the world of chaos I described to you above Indeed, when you first are introduced to the unicorn in the book, it s not a fussy, pretty pet me pony type like you expect, with posies in its hair and all that girly mush no offense, gals I like my girly things every so often too you expect from what you ve heard of unicorns No, instead you have this powerful, otherworldly, fearsome creature like a monster than some frilly confection of a girl s imagination This creature alone strikes an elaborate and shadowy feeling of magic throughout the story, casting a streak of vivid life on the obscenity of the contrived world around it It s so alien in the scenario of this book that it immediately catches you, and refuses to let you go You read on for pages wondering where it went, when it ll appear again, what it wants and where it s taking you.Then you find out You find out everything But it doesn t prepare you for the thrilling, beautiful concept that this book throws at you It s like a fraction s glimpse into something you never expected, and yet makes so muchsense And just as soon as you ve got it, you get thrown yet another curve And it s almost too much to bear, but through it, the main character, Tanaquil, finds a strength that s no longer grim, no longer stumbling or bitter She grows in a way that you almost don t notice until at the very end of the book you realize you re seeing someone else talking, and that all the smarts and sarcasm she had before have now gone through possibly the worst and most beautiful fire ever Knowing what she had to turn her back on would wrench anyone s heart right into their throat, because it s cruel and wonderful, sad and yet has to be the way it ended And because of that, you realize her mind and her heart have been cured by the flames of that terrible trial, and she s grown out of that stubborn, vengeful child she was at the beginning of the book.Oh, one other character I must talk about The Peeve It s actually the name of a race of little animals with thick, curly fur that live in the desert and like to burrow I always imagined them as a cross between these really fuzzy doggies, with all their snuffling and snorting, and bone digging and such Laughs There s one in this book, and it doesn t have a name throughout the entire thing, so while Tanaquil just talks to it directly, the author addresses it the peeve and so on But IT IS SOOOOOO CUTE Seriously I m a big animal lover, and I ve read a TON of fantasy books with different types of animals in them, old and new species alike But this one is just EPIC I am seriously in jaw dropping, fangirly squeeing, I MUST HAVE ONE NOW love with the Peeves XD They are flippin hilarious and undeniably cute 333 Plus the one that s with Tanaquil can talk, since some loose magic touched it, so you get these absolutely precious lines from it throughout the rest of the rancid situations in the book that just bring a smile to your face or make you laugh And trust me, in this book, you could REALLY use that From every territorial to dog like trait it has, to the image of it throwing up tons of sand as it digs furiously for whatever it s looking for now, is so priceless in this book.In the end, the greatness of this book is in its ending, when you find out not just what the unicorn wanted Tanaquil to do, but also what happens when Tanaquil follows it into where it leads her And I m being very specific here There is something amazing that happens, but to avoid spoiling the book, I don t want to say it However, there s something that happens when Tanaquil s in that last place the unicorn leads her to, and when she turns around and looks back behind her, and sees what happened because of the fact that she crossed that thresholdthe words that she says to that place, and the way it accepts her wordsthat s one of the most powerful scenes in the entire book The power of what she decided, and what she said there in that place, is profound It s part of the choice she makes, on the very last page or two of the book, when she tells the peeve what she wants to do now What she s going to do All the acrid, vicious, aggressiveness of her world and ours is made up for by those last parts of the book It makes every bad and ireful thing worth it makes the abrupt, wild, chaotic journey seem like the smallest price to have paid for what she s learned and decided to do now And I can honestly say it s one of the best endings to a book I ve ever read It s got such hope, maybe a foolish, thin hope, but powerful and unstoppable for someone who saw just what it could be like if it was really accomplished Smiles You won t know the full meaning of it until you ve read this Trust me, all the annoyances and stupidity and disgust is worth it for the end It s one of those books, and definitely one of those experiences It s just so worth it If you re a fantasy or magic lover at all, you have to give this book a shot It s probably not the typical magical fairytale you re used to, but it s a great story for feeding the mind with rich, amazing ideas Bringing in my own personal experience, this is one of the five or six books I read out of hundreds when I was in 7th Grade that always stuck with me And being a huge Fantasy reader during that time, almost all of them were the same genre as this book Yet this was one of the very few that I still remember and keep close to my heart even now, nearly ten years later It has influenced a great deal of my own writing over the years, until it s become a permanent staple of my imagination Smiles warmly And that is the highest compliment I can pay a book and its author.I still feel it was missing something, and it left me needing wanting much, much I could never bring myself to say it was amazing, because there was always an element missing to the characters themselves that made it hard to feel an affinity even for Tanaquil at some points She was a wonderful character, but maybe it was the style of the book that threw me off It was very to the point and didn t elaborate on the main character in a lot of places where it could have This made it hard to relate to Tanaquil as closely as I wanted to a lot of times If there had been focus on Tanaquil as the main character, this would have been eased and probably made the book a lot relate able and even enjoyable Instead we get a sense that Tanaquil herself is just another character, one that we happen to be following than the others That s the only real complaint I have for this book that Tanaquil as the main character should have been placed into that position a little relate ably instead of seeming so distant from the reader At the same time, I can understand how this would be difficult considering the mood of the story, but I feel that it should have been manageable, and would have greatly improved the book.Nonetheless This is a book that is worth the read, and will probably add variety to the typical fantasy books that are out there Its ideas may come off coarsely, but the ideas themselves are so worth your reading that it well makes up for it with them Plus, the character is smart, if a little cynical at first It s a great book for anyone expanding their Fantasy Magic collections, and will give you a swift, interesting lesson in mood setting Pick it up, in the library or on sale, but give it a shot You may find it interesting than you bargained for, even if the writing style may sometimes catch you off guard and set you off balance It s earned the stars I gave it by my book


  5. says:

    Read for my 2018 women of speculative fiction challenge. It wasn t our fault we weren t given the best, but this, and all the things that are wrong But can t we improve it Make it better I don t know how, the odds are all against us And yet just to think of it, just to try that s a start Welcome back, friends Today I am reviewing Black Unicorn by Tanith Lee, published in 1991 Spoilers follow So What s It About Tanaquil a great heroine with a name that sounds like a cough medicine spends her days dying of boredom in her mother s desert fortress Her mother is a beautiful and accomplished sorceress but she has no time for her magically bereft daughter, and it is up to Tanaquil to fill her days by repairing mechanical items One day an obnoxious little creature called a peeve uncovers the skeleton of a unicorn in the desert, and Tanaquil reassembles it Miraculously, her work brings it back to life, and the unicorn s escape into the desert spurs Tanaquil to chase after it, embarking on a quest to experience the world for the first time ever.What I ThoughtBlack Unicorn maintains a graceful balance between its wry sense of humor and its mythic quality, between its emphasis on human connection and the realm of the entirely otherworldy It s a strange, charming, disarming little book that never strays far away from the central theme of coping with the messiness and imperfection of the world.The story is at its most impactful when the awe inspiring depiction of the unicorn It s not the kind of creature that would immediately come to mind at the mention of a unicorn there are no rainbows or sparkles, and it has no proud spirit that is just waiting to be tamed by the right girl The unicorn is truly an otherworldly, alien being that is astoundingly powerful and terrifying It was no longer only a beast of bone It had grown flesh and form It was black as night, black as every night of the world together, and it shone as the night shines with a comet On this burning blackness, the mane and the flaunting tail of it were like an acid, golden silver fire off the sea, and it was bearded in this sea fire acid, and spikes of it were on the slender fetlocks Its eyes were red as metal in a forge It was not simply beauty and strength, it was terror The moment when I realized why the unicorn needed Tanaquil was an extremely powerful one I nearly cried at the thought of this incredibly wondrous creature being trapped and ensnared, gradually falling to pieces alone in the desert, far away from the heavenly realm that it longed for The entire section of the book where Tanaquil manages to help it return to its home and then wanders its land in bliss before realizing that her imperfect presence is corrupting it is so vividly realized and extraordinary.Lee creates a richly realized desert world that is bursting with life and beauty, but in keeping with the book s theme of imperfection, there is a perpetual dark undercurrent to the vividness of the world, as when she describes the bizarre people who operate the elevators in the palace their feet never missing the treads, their eyes red, foaming at the mouth The same ideas are at play when the book deals with the messiness and complexity of family relationships A significant part of Tanaquil s journey is spent reflecting upon family first in assuming that her mother doesn t love her and will not bother to search for her, then in delightedly realizing that she has a sister that she never knew about, and finally in realizing that her mother, while certainly a complex and flawed woman, does in fact love her deeply Her sister, Lizra, must also come to terms with her own deeply flawed father and her struggle to do her duty as princess The fundamental lesson that Tanaquil learns, both from the unicorn and from her family, is that perfection is simply an impossibility for humans but that impossibility does not mean that we cannot still find joy and keep trying to make things better.Finally, I d be remiss if I didn t dedicate a distinct portion of this review to celebrating the peeve, a cranky and rambunctious little animal that has been enchanted so that it speaks albeit with a very fragmented vocabulary and accompanies Tanaquil on her adventure It is a truly delightful, adorable and hilarious little pest of a creature, and Lee s sense of humor often displays itself when describing the peeve s antics The herbal tea spread across the floor, and the peeve drank it, sneezing and snuffling A piece of toast had fallen on its head, and it threw it off with an irritated Bone, bone The F WordIt s notable that the female protagonist s main talent lies in her patient and painstaking mechanical leanings Tanaquil worked carefully on broken dolls and clocks, music boxes, and even sometimes some of the soldiers crossbows, or bits of the cannon, which were never used except by accident and often went wrongIn addition to that, she is an intrepid young woman who quickly learns to advocate for herself and navigate the complexities of the world outside her mother s fortress A great deal of her navigation involves dealing with the sexist prohibitions and expectations of the men she encounters on her journey they assume that she is helpless and subservient, and that she should not be allowed to work in repairs because she is a girl She always outwits them or manipulates their expectations to serve her own purposes.In addition, her incredible friendship and later on her sisterhood with Lizra are hugely important to her development throughout the story For the first time, Tanaquil had met someone who fully accepted her ideas, credited her experience, did not try to placate or compress her spirit Lizra and Tanaquil see each other for the complicated and imperfect, multifaceted young women that they both are, and the story would be much the lesser without the blossoming of thetrusting, unequivocally loving relationship between these two girls She was several beings at once as she stood there A girl who was sorry, a girl who was a sister, a woman who would rule, a child who wanted to be a child She was sly and arrogant, sad and wistful, proud and immovable, selfish Lonely Like me Just like me About the AuthorBorn to two ballroom dancers in London in 1947, Tanith Lee s first piece of writing was published in 1968 She went on to publish over 90 novels and 300 short stories over the course of her extremely successful career as a speculative fiction writer She was the first woman to win the British Fantasy Award for Death s Master in 1980, and her works are often considered lush, unsettling and darkly beautiful She was married to author and artist John Kaine, and died in 2015.


  6. says:

    This is my first book by Tanith Lee, I m pretty sure, which surprised me I ve always known the name, always known that people thought I d be interested, and I m sure I have actually bought some Tanith Lee books before, but I m pretty sure that this is the first I ve read I was interested, but not really absorbed Tanaquil is okay, but the relationship with her mother, even the stranding in the desert, felt fairly average There s not much explanation of the world which in some ways, I prefer at least Tanith Lee didn t give me a massive spiel about the world, cramming it too full with information It s a slim book, reads fast, but it wasn t tipping above okay for me.What changed my mind and earned it four stars was the ending not so much anything Tanaquil did, or the major events of the plot, but the fact that in the perfect world, Tanaquil and the peeve corrupt everything And not just that on its own, but the way that Tanaquil reacts the betrayed feeling, the anger Some writers might have made her grateful just to have witnessed it or whatever, but Lee imagines what it would be like to be denied that, and I like the way Tanaquil deals with it.Plot wise, it wasn t that special, and I m not sure I want to read the other books in the series But those scenes, those moments, did speak to me.


  7. says:

    I ve never read anything by Tanith Lee before I will be reading .


  8. says:

    I remember reading this book over and over as kid It was one of the first fantasy books I remember reading I love Tanaquil in this book.This is a book about coming of age, discovering yourself, and realizing you are exactly who you are suppose to be One of my favorite books of all time


  9. says:

    This book has been on my TBR list for years, mainly because I ve had a devil of a job tracking down a copy Finally I found one at an amazing bookstore I ve recently discovered here in Toronto that specializes in SF F Bakka Phoenix Books for any locals who may be interested Let me tell you, it was well worth the effort Black Unicorn by Tanith Lee is one of the most beautifully written books I ve ever encountered It s short only 138 pages , but not a single word is wasted I finished it yesterday and I am still in awe The story has everything I love well developed characters, tight plot that allows for both shallow and in depth enjoyment, adventure, a sense of humour, solid world building sans info dumping, a satisfying conclusion that leaves room for without resorting to a cliff hangeryou get the idea As far as I m concerned, it s a perfect story.But the writing I really can t say enough about the writing There were points when I had to go back and re read a phrase paragraph sentence just to revel in the flow of the words or the images it invoked Or both Like this section Soon wonderful shops began to open in the buildings She saw shelves of cakes like jewels and trays of jewels like flowers and and sheaves of flowers like lances and, in an arr s, lances like nothing but themselves Gorgeous Put this book on your TBR, and keep an eye out for it You won t regret it.


  10. says:

    With elegantly placed brushstrokes Tanith Lee quickly paints a complex portrait of a realistic character and lets her Unicorn breath life into her and into the entire story I love complex characters that are easy to identify with and Tanaquil is such a character Frustrated by a life empty of adventure Tanaquil is quickly drawn Of into a vast and dangerous world with only her not quite tamed and quite magical animal friend, the peeve, by her side This story quickly touches you, draws you in, carries you along, and fulfills its promise while leaving you eager for .