2 1/2 starsIt's impressive that Peter Beagle wrote his first novel at the age of nineteen. I'm sorry to say the story doesn't add up to much. He would have done well to indulge more in whimsy and skip the philosophical ramblings. I've read his sweet novel, The Last Unicorn, as well as his picaresque nonfiction book, I See By My Outfit. He has a special gift for the whimsical, and I'm glad he found his strength and stayed true to it in his later books. In this book I liked the talking raven best of all, and I think he should have played a larger role. He wanted to be a hummingbird when he was a kid, and wept bitterly when he was told he'd always be a raven, never a hummingbird. That tickled my funny bone.