Content with his life, Elek Keros never questions the ways of the Unicorn. Until one night the sense of something coming awakens him from a deep sleep. He breaks Unicorn law by leaving the enchanted glade his kind lives in to search for what is calling to him. Each night he returns home without answers, but he cannot stop entering the forest day after day to find what he seeks.
The answer lies in a small child Elek rescues. Over the years, he watches over the boy, learns all that he can about the human and steadily falls in love with him. But how can the love he feels possibly breach the divide between their two worlds?
I'd seen this short story around since 2011, but never read it, so when I saw it was being re-released, I decided to give it a go.
I really enjoyed how the story began, with a unicorn finding a 3 y.o. boy in the forest during a severe storm, protecting him, then seeing him safely returned to his parents.
And as the years went by, the unicorn, Elek, continues to watch the boy, Jonathan, grow into a young man, with his feelings growing deeper as the years pass. But never again showing himself to the boy.
Many parts of the story did work for me, especially the parts where Jonathan came home from his first year away at college and he sees a glimpse of Elek watching him from the forest, leading to the two meeting again and developing a very close friendship, which lasts over a couple of summers.
However, unlike shifter stories, where we know that the animal can shift into human form, Elek's intense romantic love for the young man felt a bit odd for me. I mean, it's essentially a horse in love with a man. They can't exactly rent an equine-friendly one bedroom apartment and adopt rescue labradoodles together.
So is there some magical way for them to truly be 'together' together? Well, this is fiction, so of course there is. When I found that out, I began enjoying the story a bit more again, pesky squicked-out thoughts finally put aside.
The story had plenty of 'almost' feels and 'almost' moments, but I really wish that this redo of the original work had significantly more pages to expand on the framework that was already in place.
Instead, I think this short story missed out on a few decent opportunities to engross the reader more deeply than what it did, so I'd rate this one at around 3 *good-but-not-great* stars.
My pre-re-release copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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