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Haven Stones: The Last Unicorn: 11/23/09
Haven Stones: The Last Unicorn by Richard Carbajal is a YA fantasy set in a magical version of Las Vegas Nevada. Gilbert Foster, the young protagonist is running for his life. His parents are missing and his sister has been murdered. He doesn't know why and he doesn't know who he can trust.
Fate, magic and perhaps good luck brings Gilbert to Dumpster who shows the boy into the magical world that resides in parallel with the normal world. He is like Door in Neverwhere who shows Richard Mayhew London Below
In fact much of Haven Stones feels like Neverwhere but set in the desert heat of Las Vegas if it were mixed with The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. There's also a bit of Harry Potter in how magic is treated
The setting and Carbajal's unique approach to magic are the strongest parts of Haven Stones. Carbajal lives in Las Vegas and that insider's point of view helps bring the city to life
It suffers a bit from an abundance of flashbacks and info dumping in the last third of the book. Some of the motivation for the rivalry between the unicorn and the phoenix weren't clear to me
I was sent a PDF to review
Comment #1: Monday, November, 23, 2009 at 19:59:13
Sounds like an interesting mix of themes. I'm not familiar with Neverwhere but I do like HP and loved the Last Unicorn, so this looks good! Although I usually get annoyed with too many flashbacks...
Comment #2: Saturday, Saturday, November 28, 2009 at 22:37:23
Neverwhere is an excellent miniseries and novel by Neil Gaiman. For Haven Stones you can skim the flashbacks. The rest of the novel holds its own.