Library Journal Review
In this latest collection from Beagle, readers will enjoy 13 stories, mostly reprints, including two pieces featuring Schmendrick, the magician from his most famous novel, The Last Unicorn. There are also stories about unicorns, such as the marvelous entry "The Story of Kao Yu," which tells of an honorable Chinese judge who is aided in his decisions by the magical beast until he meets a beautiful thief. While most of these tales are fantasies in the dark fairy-tale vein, a few tip into horror, such as "The Very Nasty Aquarium," about a cursed carving of a pirate that a woman buys to decorate her fish tank. The standout, "Trinity County, CA: You'll Want To Come Again and We'll Be Glad To See You!" tells of a county where drug growers and producers keep dragons as watchdogs. Verdict For fantasy fans, Beagle should be a staple, and while the anthology Mirror Kingdoms: The Best of Peter S. Beagle gathers many of the stories of his early career, this volume proves he is still creating plenty of great short fiction.-Megan M. McArdle, Lib. of Congress, National Lib. Svc. for the Blind & Physically Handicapped, Washington, DC © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
With sharp, lean elegance, Beagle (In Calabria) effortlessly chronicles the lives of unicorns, trolls, magicians, and adventurers in 13 poignant stories, many of which caution readers about magic gone awry and temperamental creatures. Cultivating his extensive knowledge of mythical beasts, Beagle travels the world in "The Story of Kao Yu," in which a chi-lin (Chinese unicorn) passes the final judgment, and in "My Son Heydari and the Karkadann," in which a Persian teenager nurses a dangerous karkadann. Beagle also recalls the themes of his classic novel The Last Unicorn with stories about misplaced love and misfortune around summoning a demon. In "The Way It Works Out and All," a traveler discovers portals to the shadow world of Overneath. In "Olfert Dapper's Day," a Dutch swindler escapes to colonial Maine, where he is privy to a remarkable sight. Urban fantasy stories delight: in "Underbridge," a lonely adjunct professor offers distraction to the Freemont Bridge Troll, and in "Trinity County, CA," government agents search the California woods for drug dealers who guard their camps with dragons. The steampunk "Music, When Soft Voices Die" follows an inventor who hears unexpected voices coming from his new wireless transmitter. This enchanting collection employs simple humor and affectionate sarcasm and will enchant any reader who still believes in magic. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Booklist Review
*Starred Review* The latest collection by beloved author Beagle brings together a wide variety of his enthralling short stories. These tales feature the return of familiar characters, as in Schmendrick Alone and The Green-Eyed Boy, both of which chronicle earlier adventures of the hapless magician companion in The Last Unicorn (2011). In Great-Grandmother in the Cellar, a story of family history and unquiet bones, Beagle returns to the world of his acclaimed The Innkeeper's Song (1993). But many stories unrelated to Beagle's most famous novels are standouts. In Trinity County, CA, a duo investigates a contraband dragon-raising. In Underbridge, a down-on-his-luck Seattle academic becomes fascinated with the seemingly living statue of a troll. Beagle himself and his friend and fellow fantasy author Avram Davidson explore the mysterious Overneath in The Way It Works Out and All, and Olfert Dapper's Day portrays a seventeenth-century Dutchman fleeing to the New World and discovering the possibility and reality of unicorns. Beagle's strong and versatile talent is well on display here, and fantasy readers will be missing out if they don't give it a look.--Keep, Alan Copyright 2017 Booklist