( DOWNLOAD BOOK ) ♩ Riding the Unicorn ☪ MOBI eBook or Kindle ePUB free

I read Fantasy, a little I ve read the Thomas Covenant series I ve seen Army of Darkness So the troubled outcast becomes hero in a new world theme is not new to me I was interested to see this take on it, but I was skeptical After all, those are some hard shoes to fill This story not only fills them, it needs an extra wide This story breaks molds that have been held as Fantasy staples Build characters, introduce obstacle, overcome objective, build story and character That s the tried and true recipe Not in this case Now, I m not going to ruin this story by spoiling anything because I think you need to read this book What I will tell you is it s like running down hill chased by a bear You don t quit running You just run faster until the very end And the end is so magnificently done I know this book is a reissue, and it should be I think it deserves a new audience It pulled me in, and it will you too. Originally published on my blog here in February 2001.Kearney s third novel is extremely like his first, The Way To Babylon It has the same premise, with a man s visions of a fantasy world being like madness, with him and those around him doubting his sanity In the earlier novel, it is the death of the central character s wife and his subsequent depression which triggers the visions, which are of a world about which he has written two novels This is both a powerful motivation for mental illness and a reason for the particular visions he sees, from a psychiatric point of view he has been unable to write the concluding part of a successful trilogy.Here, though, the motivation is far less Willoby is a disillusioned, ex army prison officer, alienated from his wife and daughter The most interesting thing about him is that, in late middle age, he is far older than most heroes of fantasy novels His visions of another world are diagnosed as schizophrenia, an illness whose symptoms are difficult to pin down, prompting the quotation comparing it to a unicorn printed at the front of the novel which supplies its title There is no specific episode which prompts the visions, and their content has no very clear connection with the rest of his life.This makes Riding the Unicorn a rather less satisfying novel than The Way to Babylon, and being so similar to Kearney s d but is also a disappointment There are good ideas in it Willoby is being summoned as a person with no connections to any of the political factions in the fantasy world to commit a crime which can then be safely disavowed the nature of the crime turns out to have interesting psychological resonance, as does his relationship with the slave girl set to tempt him to follow the wishes of his summoners but it is an idea about which Kearney doesn t have enough that is new to say to make this novel equal his earlier standard. John Willoby is being pulled between worlds Or he is going mad, riding the unicorn as his prison officer colleagues would say It s clear to Willoby it must be the latter Disappearing in the middle of his prison shift from among convicts, appearing in a makeshift medieval encampment for minutes before tumbling back to the real world, Willoby believes his mind is simply breaking apart.He finds no solace at home, with a wife who has grown to dislike him and a daughter who can barely hide her disgust He s realised he isn t worth anyone s time, barely even his own, and falls into drinking and violence guaranteed to bring about his downfall Except in this other world, in this winter land of first settlers he is a man with a purpose, a man upon whom others must rely Persuaded to kill a King so as to save a people, Willoby finds that in another world, with a second chance he may be the kind of man he had always wanted to be after all.I quite enjoyed this book a lot But then that is hardly surprising as I am a big Paul Kearney fan Having finished this book, I have now read every book by Kearney except for a tie in novel Kearney s early novels are a bit hard to find so I m glad that Solaris decided to reprint them These three novels, The Way to Babylon, A Different Kingdom, and Riding the Unicorn are a little different from his later stuff as they are all stand alones and all contain some element of portal fantasy While the first two novels are pretty typical portal fantasy, the portal element in Riding the Unicorn is a bit ambiguous I m sure the reader of this review is wondering about the odd title of the book As suggested in the synopsis it has nothing to do with unicorns, rather it refers to a term and expression regarding schizophrenia Indeed, for most of the book, the main character of Willoby cannot tell if the world he is being pulled to really exists or if it s just a figment of his imagination, though it does become a little clear at the end But the possibility of madness and of dealing with it is a very strong theme in this book There is another interesting thing I want to note about Kearney s work it s how he has a group of people endure an extremely arduous trek over snow covered and nearly impassable mountains It happens in the prologue of this book, in The Way to Babylon, Ships From the West, This Forsaken Earth, and The Ten Thousand It seems to be a writing trick he comes back to a lot MINOR SPOILERS for those who have read The Way to Babylon view spoiler the alternate fantasy world in this book is the same world of Minginish, albeit set very early in its history around the time of its founding hide spoiler You can also find my review of Riding the Unicorn on my new book blogWilloby is a middle aged prison guard, a husband and a father But at heart, he still pines for his days as a soldier His job is not his calling, there is distance between him and his wife, and his teenage daughter resents him When he starts having visions and seizures, his first fear is that losing consciousness would be very dangerous in his job For the first time ever, he takes time off for sickness Then, his visions start to affect not just his job, but his family life.In his visions, he is pulled into another world, first as an observer through the eyes of a prince, but then physical transfers between worlds start to happen The other world is medieval, filled with a people who have just fled from their former homelands across icy mountains into a new land, keen to start new lives But intrigue is afoot, and for complex reasons, the bastard prince Tallimon needs an outsider He needs Willoby.Riding the Unicorn is not your average fantasy novel, nor even your average person from our world goes into fantasy world novel For one thing, our protagonist is a flawed man He s quite rough In fact, he is a thug, and not just because his language is tough and he works in a prison In fantasy novels, you don t get many working class protagonists who occasionally hit their wives.The world he enters, meanwhile, may have some fantastical elements some magic, some monsters but the magic is understated, the monsters just fauna, really Today s readers might be tempted to compare this world to Westeros, except this novel was originally published before Game of Thrones, so it definitely isn t derivative.This is an intelligent, authentic novel Willoby is not the type to have a mid life crisis, but his glimpses of that other world trigger one suddenly, his own life seems pale by comparison He s afraid that he is losing his mind, but even worried about the prospects of talk therapy and psychiatrists His feelings for his family are decidedly mixed there is fatigue and exhaustion, but also a stubborn determination to make it work Meanwhile, in the other world, there s intrigue and powerplays and politics, and the sort of scheming we have come to expect from gritty, realist fantasy fiction all the impressive for having been written 20 years ago the book must have been way ahead of its time.Riding the Unicorn is never boring It s very readable, consistently entertaining and intelligent It could just as easily be marketed as lit fic as fantasy there is enough focus on characters, character development, and thoughtful treatment of all kinds of serious themes in this novel to satisfy even readers who never touch escapist fantasy literature, while there s enough swashbuckling adventure and grit for fantasy fans not to get bored This book truly has the best of both worlds but it is a serious novel, steering clear of comedy or light relief.The title, however, is poorly chosen No unicorns appear in the book at all Apparently, Riding the Unicorn is a colloquialism for going mad Putting a unicorn in the title of a fantasy novel might set up the wrong expectations in readers this is not a frivolous novel of sparkly merriment.Rating 4.5 5PS You can read an excerpt of Riding the Unicorn online. ( DOWNLOAD BOOK ) ☩ Riding the Unicorn ♥ Released In The US For The First Time, This Is Paul Kearney S Stunning Novel Of Second Chances In A World Of Battle And DangerJohn Willoughby Is Being Pulled Between Worlds Or He Is Going Mad, Riding The Unicorn As His Prison Officer Colleagues Would Say It S Clear To Willoughby It Must Be The Latter Disappearing In The Middle Of His Prison Shift From Among Convicts, Appearing In A Makeshift Medieval Encampment For Minutes Before Tumbling Back To The Real World, Willoughby Believes His Mind Is Simply Breaking Apart He Finds No Solace At Home, With A Wife Who Has Grown To Dislike Him And A Daughter Who Can Barely Hide Her Disgust He S Realised He Isn T Worth Anyone S Time, Barely Even His Own, And Falls Into Drinking And Violence Guaranteed To Bring About His Downfall Except In This Other World, In This Winter Land Of First Settlers He Is A Man With A Purpose, A Man Upon Whom Others Must Rely Persuaded To Kill A King So As To Save A People, Willoughby Finds That In Another World, With A Second Chance He May Be The Kind Of Man He Had Always Wanted To Be After All Full review at An advanced copy was provided by the publisher.Riding the Unicorn was first published in 1994, and is now being re released in the hopes that it finds a new audience something this book certainly deserves The final of three standalones, before he would write the Monarchies of God series that would earn him his success, Paul Kearney s Riding the Unicorn meshes the realism of our world with a traditional medieval fantasy while still managing to turn something out that resists a number of cliches that are so commonly associated with the fantasy genre. The premise seemed interesting at first, but the protagonist never quite clicked with me Might give it another chance in the future, but for now I ll leave it here finished the first three chapters or so. Not bad A nice, quick book Lots of typos and grammatical errors, and the beginning was kind of slow, but still worth the read. A nice take on the story of schizophrenia other world that was well written and interesting But I find that it was a bit too similar to the previous novel for my taste.