The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

ROC, Penguin, New York, 2008

The Last Unicorn is a marvel.  If you love fantasy, if you love magic, read this book.  Written 40 years ago, it is a classic that has stood the test of time.

A unicorn lives in a wood all alone.  Hearing a conversation between two hunters she becomes curious and decides to search for others of her kind.  This quest leads to meetings with villains, monsters and an unlikely magician named Schmendrick.  There are battles and losses, witches and kings.  The only way to give you a taste of this morsal is to let you read. 

     Sometimes she thought if men no longer know what they are looking at, there may well be unicorns in the world yet, unknown and glad of it.  But she knew beyond both hope and vanity that men had changed, and the world with them, because the unicorns were gone.  Yet she went on along the hard road, although each day she wished a little more that she had not left her forest.  From page 11.

     So they fled across the night together, step by step, the tall man in black and the horned white beast.  The magician crept as close to the unicorn’s light as he dared, for beyond it moved hungry shadows, the shadows of the sounds the harpy made as she destroyed the little there was to destroy of the Midnight Carnival…From page 54.

     And far away on the other side of the unicorn, Schmendrick the magician stalked in silence.  His black cloak was sprouting holes, coming undone, and so was he.  The rain that renewed Molly did not fall on him, and he seemed every more parched and deserted, like the land itself.   The unicorn could not heal him.  A touch of her horn could have brought him back from death, but over despair she had no power, nor magic that had come and gone.  from page 106.

     Beagle is an accomplished story-teller.  Using clear crystal-like language he brings this classic tale to life.  The Last Unicorn is  filled with scenes of ethereal beauty, terror and very human foibles.  It is often laugh out loud funny.  It is a book I would recommend to anyone interested in the genre, fans and new comers alike.

Have you read and reviewed this book?  Please leave a comment so I can add a link to your blog.

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18 Comments

Filed under Fantasy, Once Upon Time IV, Review

18 responses to “The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

  1. Hmmm…is this connected to The Last Unicorn, the movie, starring Tom Cruise?

  2. I have not read this yet! I’ve read a few short stories by Beagle and absolutely loved them! I’ll definitely give this book a try.

  3. i’ve never read this because I need larger print than mass paperbacks and can never find anything larger …

    (the movie with Tom Cruise is “Legend”)

  4. I read this once, years ago, and was not that wild about it. I feel like this makes me a bad fantasy reader! I loved the other Beagle book I’ve read, Tamsin, so I should probably give The Last Unicorn another try. :)

  5. I’ve had this book on my wishlist for years, as everyone seems to say it’s a true fantasy classic. I haven’t been able to read it yet, but hopefully I can find it and get my hands on it!

  6. I really need to reread this. It’s one of very few books I’ve sold and later repurchased, because I just couldn’t get it out of my head.

  7. This sounds like a perfect challenge read! I must keep my eye out for it…

  8. I’ve not reviewed the book, but I do read it and re-read it every 8 or 9 years. It’s one that I love. I think it’s his best work.

    The animated movie is generally true to the book. It’s not great, by any means, but it’s okay. They’re both cult classics. The people who love them really love them.

    I love them

  9. Eva

    Now I’m definitely going to read this for OUaT! Have you read A Fine and Private Place? I *adore* it.

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