The Last Unicorn

Beagle, Peter S.

Book - 2008
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Last Unicorn
With the assistance of Schmendrick the Magician, an immortal, beautiful unicorn in the form of a woman searches for her lost fellows.

Publisher: New York : ROC/New American Library, 2008, c1968
Edition: 40th anniversary ed
ISBN: 9780451450524
Branch Call Number: FICTION BEAGLE 2008
Characteristics: 294 p. ;,21 cm


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With the assistance of Schmendrick the Magician, an immortal, beautiful unicorn in the form of a woman searches for her lost fellows

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May 13, 2014
  • julia_sedai rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I just read this for the first time and it is beautifully written. The plot is good and there are some classic and not-so-classic fairy tale elements in it. I recommend it to anyone who likes fairy tales or fantasy stories.

Feb 03, 2014
  • LibraryCat387 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is one of the most prolific and enchanting novels I've ever had the pleasure to read. I still re-read every few years because it always has some new wisdom or humor to share with me, depending on where I am in my life. The characters are very human and engaging, in a setting that asks its reader to think about what fantasy and reality really mean and how they apply to both “real life” and “ the stuff of legends and fairy tales” in ways both serious and humorous.

Honest and wise as it is captivating, The Last Unicorn is a wonder at any age and only gets better over time. A definite 5-star read ~ I hope you choose to give it a chance and enjoy all it has to offer!

Jul 05, 2013

I have fond memories of watching the animated movie as a child with my sister. When I re-discovered the novel last year, it was captivating to me as an adult.

Apr 06, 2013
  • JewelMcLatchy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Of the previous comments, I agree most with Borrobil. A completely captivating and often deep read, The Last Unicorn is both magical and profound. The full-colour graphic novel version is also wonderful, but you lose a lot of the nuances in that format. I would put this novel on the universal Must-Read list.

Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A well-told, bittersweet fairy tale. The best part? Its main character is a unicorn. I have fond memories of the animated movie and reading the book brought them all back.

Oct 25, 2012
  • Borrobil rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The Last Unicorn is a deep and thoughtful novel. Read this novel and it will never leave you. This novel represents what fantasy should be; more than just a bunch of empty words used for momentary excitement and discarded. Good fantasy should be more than just excitement; it should touch and enlighten you.
Don’t be scared of reading this book because it is on the subject of unicorns. This book is not only for female readers. Indeed, this book breaks all the childish stereotypes of unicorns. It represents them in a fresh and artistic light.
The novel focuses on a nameless unicorn who has lived in the same forest her entire life and has never met another unicorn. She overhears hunters saying one day that unicorns have gone extinct. She wonders if she really is the last unicorn. She meets a riddling butterfly on the edge of her forest who tells her that all the unicorns have been taken by the Red Bull. The unicorn leaves her forest to search for the Bull.
The novel explores time and life in great depth. The moral of the story is that it is best for humans to live finite lives, and that it is wrong to fear growing old. The novel chronicles how the unicorn conquers her fear of old age and death. One of the monster in Mommy Fortuna’s zoo, Elli, is the personification of old age; “No hero can stand before her, no god can wrestle her down, no magic can keep her out … she is walking among you, touching and taking. For Elli is Old Age.” Both the villains, Mommy Fortuna and King Haggard, are old and seek immortality. The unicorn says she would rather die than be mortal. But Beagle explains that immortality is the bane of happiness, and so is the pursuit of it.
The writing flows along gracefully, there is not a single word out of place. This novel’s writing is simple but strong; “As though she were a dryad… and time her tree.” He is gifted with imagery; “{The Unicorn} was no longer the carless color of sea foam, but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night.”
The transformation of the unicorn is a paradox. She is wise, kind and beautiful. She is immortal and possesses great magic. The author paints her as the picture of perfection. She is a unicorn, the greatest species in the world. And yet, the author shows that even a unicorn can have its flaws. She was vain and contemptuous; she cared more about her beauty and immortality than about love and virtue.
Even if you don't normally like fantasy, you will love this book.

Oct 23, 2012
  • forbesrachel rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I have now read the book and seen the movie. The movie is quite faithful to the book, but I rather prefer the Schmendrick of the book, who ends up a more serious sort than the movie makes him to be. All the characters are memorable, but the unique perspective of the unicorn, especially when she is locked inside the form of a human, turns one's sights toward the nature of human beings. Beautifully written, memorable lines, and a story that shakes the heart, this is one classic, every fantasy reader should try.

Aug 03, 2012
  • Capriole rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A true classic, one of the best fantasy novels ever written. The Middle Ages (and a bit of ancient Greece) meets Brooklyn. Over the heads of children, though they probably would enjoy it. Worth reading more than once, not because it's difficult, but for the sheer beauty of the writing.

Jul 27, 2012
  • anelise rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A beautiful tale - for both adults and children.

Mar 13, 2012
  • jvanderg rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Fairly good book, the movie seems to follow it fairly closely.

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Apr 06, 2013
  • JewelMcLatchy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

(King Haggard to his magician) ... In the past, you have performed whatever miracle I required of you, and all it has done has been to spoil my taste for miracles. No task is too vast for your powers -- and yet, when the wonder is achieved, nothing has changed. It must be that great power cannot give me whatever it is that I really want.

Apr 06, 2013
  • JewelMcLatchy rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

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.

Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

"I was born mortal, and I have been immortal for a long, foolish time, and one day I will be mortal again; so I know something that a unicorn cannot know. Whatever can die is beautiful-- more beautiful than a unicorn, who lives forever, and who is the most beautiful creature in the world."


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Feb 03, 2014
  • Aunya3 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The tale of a unicorn, who believes she is the last of her kind in the world and undertakes a quest to discover what has happened to the others.


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