Elegy Beach - Steven R. Boyett Fred has grown up in a post-Change world. Magic has become a new tool for protection as well as for trinkets - but no one really understands the way it works. It's all part of the trading world that has become the commerce industry. He is 17 and apprenticed out to the resident caster, but he feels as though he has more talent than PayPay is allowing him to use. His best friend, Yan, is learning casting from Fred, but they're also going further and faster than PayPay would have allowed. They have a theory that magic is the science of the post-Change world. that it's similar to programming a computer, in that there is a language that the universe understands.

I really like the way magic is approached in this novel. It makes the very vague Change from the first book make a little bit more sense. They explain that somewhere in the world at 4:30 on the day of the Change, something - we don't know what - happened that changed the laws of physics. As the world rotated into that spot in the universe, the whole of the world changed. Some of the old rules of the world still applied, like gravity, but for the laws of physics just changed in such a way that magic became the new science. It became the new reality. I really like this approach. The author gets big props for this after how randomly vague the first book was. This was still vague, but in a more thoughtful, thought out approach.

Yan at one point in the novel is offended by what PayPay says, and burns down his shop. Finding this out, Fred kicks him out of town. This is when Ariel, the unicorn, returns. She has a story of caster who killed her mate, which from the kind of magic that was done, Fred assumes it was Yan. With Pete, Yan's father, and of course Ariel they head out to find and stop Yan. Finding his grimoire, Fred learns that what Yan really wants to do with the power that he has discovered is reverse the Change, in effect killing Ariel and all the supernatural creatures that came with her.

This book in some ways is leaps and bounds better than Ariel, in that it had a much juicier plot and it was less skittish about sex. It seemed like a much more grounded novel, even though it wasn't any less fantasy-driven. However, do you have any idea how difficult it is to read a book when the author doesn't always use question marks. It's hard to tell what is a question, versus a statement. Isn't it. He used them sometimes, but damn it was difficult to read other times.

A fun read, for sure, better than Ariel, but not really anything special at the same time.