The protagonist is a male high school kid that gets caught up in an apocalypse where magic becomes real and technology no longer works. People discover magical abilities; creatures of myth and legend become real. After he escapes the chaos of his hometown he meets up with a unicorn, I think her name is Ariel, she has a massive sweet tooth. They become best friends and look after each other whilst traveling.

The unicorn gets kidnapped by a magic user and the protagonist goes after her and hooks up with other survivors trying to stop the magic user. He also meets up with a guy that has a bonded bird of prey, and a sword master that teaches him the basics of bushido.


Steven R. Boyett's Ariel

Book cover

For two years, Pete Garey wandered through the strange new world of Earth after the Change, a moment when technology ceased to work & things like planes, trains & automobiles became junk. He was alone until the day he was found by a unicorn who'd become his familiar. Ariel is just one of the many magical creatures to appear after the Change, but the only one with the stunning ability (or, perhaps, desire) to talk. The bond between Pete & Ariel will be like no other he's experienced.

There was a sequel, Elegy Beach, which follows Pete's son, Fred, as he deals with a friend who is figuring out the rules of magic, and wants to use that to return the world to its original state.

  • That was quick. thank you, i have been wracking my brain for weeks, – Joshua Templeton Oct 15 '16 at 3:39
  • ^_^ It was going to be my guess just based on the title. – FuzzyBoots Oct 15 '16 at 3:41
  • i had no idea the series was that old, i read the reprint a few years ago and thought it was a new series. i knew about the sequel thats why i was looking for the original to reread and read the others. – Joshua Templeton Oct 15 '16 at 3:44

I've read this. You gave a good summary of major elements of the plot, including accurately remembering the name of the protagonist's unicorn friend... which just happens to also be the title of the book!

Ariel, by Steven R. Boyett.

The first edition came out in the 1980s, and I own an old paperback copy of that version. An expanded edition was released in 2009, and I heard about it at the time, but didn't bother to read it, so I don't know if it's better or worse than the original version.

Here's an excerpt from the book's listing on Amazon.com to demonstrate that we are, in fact, remembering the same book.

Pete Garey, a young loner who survived the Change and the madness that followed, spent two years wandering and scavenging the near-deserted cities and towns alone -- until the day he encountered an injured unicorn. He nursed her back to health and named her Ariel, and an unlikely friendship was formed.

  • thank you, i read the reprint a few years ago and thought it was new series. when i typed ariel into a search engine nothing came up, so i thought i was remembering the name wrong. – Joshua Templeton Oct 15 '16 at 3:59

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