by Tanith Lee
Tanaquil is a red-headed girl from a long line of red-headed
sorceresses. But to her mother's vast disappointment, Tanaquil is no
sorceress. Not that Tanaquil is any happier with her lot, cooped up in a
castle reeking with unruly magic, with only guards and servants for
company, and a desert all around that burns by day and freezes by night.
The only thing she has going for her is a talent for fixing things.
One day, a peeve--a sort of burrowing desert creature that, because of an
overspill of Tanaquil's mother's magic, has learned to speak--brings the
lonely girl a very strange bone. Later, the peeve leads Tanaquil to
where the rest of a skeleton is buried...the skeleton of a unicorn.
Tanaquil puts the bones togetherand uses her knack for clockwork to make
the thing work. By some freak happenstance, the thing of clockwork
and bone becomes a real, flesh-and-blood unicorn, with an unintended
magical gift from Tanaquil's mother.
Next thing, Tanaquil is on a strange and exciting journey, escaping from
all that she has known, heading for she knows not what. Accompanied by
her faithful "pet peeve," hounded by accusations of witchcraft,
persecuted by an artisans' guild, befriended by a princess, and chosen
by a creature from another world to do a thing she never dreamed she
could do, Tanaquil's story goes from terror to suspense to breathtaking
beauty to heartbreaking sadness, with wit and irony and warm-hearted
humor never far away.
This is a tale of a girl in a badly made world, longing for a better
one--glimpsing it, losing it, and deciding to make the most of her own
world after all. It is the tale of a frustrated teen staking out her own
life, her own dreams. And it is a story of tremendous originality, told
in words of unbelievable beauty. This is the first book by Tanith Lee
that I've read. I hope it will be the first of many.
Recommended Age: 14+
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