Peter S. Beagle’s The Unicorn Sonata is the story of Joey Rivera, a gangly thirteen year old who helps out at a music shop. A mysterious boy with indigo eyes appears one day, offering to sell a beautiful horn which creates the most enchanting music Joey has ever heard. That night, she once again hears the horn’s song and chases it into the world of Shei’rah. Shei’rah is home to many mythical creatures, including satyrs, nymphs, dragons, and unicorns (known as the Eldest). The Eldest are beset by an unknown affliction which is robbing them of their sight; they believe Joey is the one who can save them. While Joey doesn’t know what help she will be, she knows she has to try.
As Joey spends more and more time in Shei’rah, she begins to feel at home there. But she is torn because she already has a home: with her beloved grandmother, Abuelita, in the mortal world. She has to decide where to stay soon because the border between her world and Shei’rah will not remain where it is for long. At the same time, not all the Eldest are happy in Shei’rah; able to appear human, some of them long for the mortal world and a life of their own choosing. The Unicorn Sonata is a beautiful book about growing up and having to make choices that can last a lifetime. It is also the story of the hauntingly beautiful music that is the soul of Shei’rah, which Joey struggles to capture and share with her mortal world.
I’ve heard that The Unicorn Sonata is being rewritten into a four book series; if that’s true, I can’t wait to read the re-imagined (and greatly expanded) world of Shei’rah!