Anyhow, I really shoulda done this earlier I guess! Of course yesterday I was a little bundle of urgh, and today so far it's been nice outside and beckoning to me...
One of the things that actually strikes me about this book is how relatively little the movie deviated from it, all told. But that's not really book discussion, is it? Okay then.
It's difficult for me to step back from the book and discuss it overall, because the story itself has been part of almost my entire life. The movie came out when I was seven years old, and I can still remember seeing it in the theaters at its release. I've watched the movie many many times since then, and so was familiar with it even before I finally picked up the book at the ripe old age of, oh, probably my mid-teens or so.
So now I'm trying to figure out what to say about it, and the main things to come to mind are along the lines of "it's awesome, 'nuff said!" Which... isn't very helpful!
So. I've always enjoyed the story, and I'm trying to figure out why. And one of the initial responses is "unicorns, typical horse-mad girl, duh." But I do think it goes beyond that.
For one thing, Beagle's just such a good writer. (And I really really should pick up more of his work, when it comes down to it!) His dry, often-subtle humor and vivid descriptions are really hard to ignore, and his characters are certainly memorable, even if they're the ones you don't necessarily like very much.
And the story itself... it's like a faerie tale, only I'm not strictly sure from which setting, and elements of it are toyed with beyond all recognition, with a heaping helping of meta-story added on, and... well, it's a delightful mish-mash. Not all joinings of genres work well, but some, like this, certainly do. (Likewise: Roman Empire + Pokemon, anyone?)
I could probably go on, but hell, this is meant to spark discussion anyhow, so I'll leave off there, and hope to discuss more in comments!