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The last unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

The last unicorn (original 1968; edition 2008)

by Peter S. Beagle

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,492991,085 (4.25)2 / 304
Title:The last unicorn
Authors:Peter S. Beagle
Info:New York : Roc, 2008.
Collections:Owned, To read

Work details

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (1968)

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English (94)  German (2)  Italian (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (98)
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
I truly enjoyed this story. The development of the characters was well laid out as was the plot. The intervention of the Wizard and his final manifestation of power was so well told, I felt as if it was palpable. ( )
  slsmitty25 | Feb 11, 2015 |
Honestly one of the greatest fantasy--make that any--novels I've ever read. With characters that never leave you, to satiric and serious elements that work on so many different levels, to heartbreaking love and loss to hilarious comedic timing, The Last Unicorn really has it all. I always find it's like reading it for the first time, every time. ( )
  rwilliab | Nov 21, 2014 |
The main characters are quite the cast: a unicorn who ponders whether or not she is the last of her kind, a wanna-be magician named Schmendrick, and an old woman named Molly Grue. The unicorn sets out to find the answers to her questions. Is she the last? What happened to the others? Why does she keep dreaming of them? The group venture through quite the hero’s journey in search of the truth and by the end of it, everyone has changed. And nothing will be the same again.
This story is very much about the loss of innocence, something that all children go through at some point as they rush headlong towards adulthood, and I love that element of the story. Peter S. Beagle writes it in a way that is so perfect, so fitting to a unicorn.
Read the full review here: www.ravenoak.net ( )
  kaonevar | Nov 12, 2014 |
This was actually one that I saw the movie to before I read the book while the two are almost evenly matched. Both are beautiful in their own ways while not being away too much from each other.

Within the book the author has a magical way of putting his words together, of touching the various emotional strings each person holds and bringing magic into the picture where you cannot doubt its existence. The story has its own breath to it.

The characters are made with a simplistic touch to them and are easy to keep track of but even in this simpleness they are complex. Their complexities combine together to bring the story to its end and yet the end is just the beginning.

Love this book! ( )
  flamingrosedrakon | Sep 15, 2014 |
When I turned the last page of this book and slowly closed the cover, I was already grieving the end of the story because I knew that I was in love with this book.

The Last Unicorn is like a dream on gossamer wings. Every word is just right, the characters are beautiful and poignant, the world is only a eyeblink away.

When the eponymous last unicorn realizes that no other unicorns are in the world, she braves the world to find where they are. And along the way, one by one, members join. A sorcerer who cannot do magic, a broken and bone-weary maiden who has nothing, a hero who is overweight and the villain's son.

But oh, this book is so much more than those words. It's the yearning, the quest, and the slow development and realization that things are more than they seem.

Everything in this book is just right. The love, the bitterness of Haggard, the story behind Hagsgate, the true secret of the lost unicorns. Everything.

I loved every single villain. Mommy Fortuna was just perfect in her anachronistic character. A money-grubbing witch that earns her bread by showmanship and false illusions. But the scenes were so gorgeous. The unexpected idea that an ordinary spider could believe in illusion as well, the irony of a unicorn being illusioned to look like oneself, and the ideas of reality versus pretense.

Haggard was such a dark character because he was so pessimistic and expected nothing, hoped for nothing, dreamed for nothing, and thus wanted nothing of true value. Instead he spent his entire life seeking amusement and playing with people's lives. He was a villain, yes. But not the stereotypical ones you see in fairytales where they are evil like a force of nature. No, this is a villain who has a story behind his very name.

For the love, it is to be expected.
But the thing is, the love is so beautiful because it is tragic when the secrets of the forest and dark green leaves leave Amalthea's eyes because of that love. We admire Lir for being a hero, but it is tragic without her. It is beautiful in the tragedy.

I was just blown away by the sea foam because that imagery was so close, seeing unicorns always rushing towards the shore, and then shying away from fear.

This is a conscious fairytale. It knows how the stories go, and sometimes it moves that way because it must.

What can I say? There is just such depth in the entire story, such that even the names have meanings that expose something of the character's self.

Beautiful, beautiful. 4.5 stars rounded up. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 94 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter S. Beagleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bodt, RenéeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallardo, GervasioCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grant, MelvynCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oakes, TerryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sprangers, KickTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the memory of Dr. Olfert Dapper, who saw a wild unicorn in the Maine woods in 1673, and for Robert Nathan, who has seen one or two in Los Angeles.

In memory of Louis Untermeyer and Edgar Pangborn.
First words
The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.
"Mare? The unicorn trumpeted the word so shrilly that the man stopped pursuing her and clapped his hands to his ears. "Mare?" she demanded. "I, a horse? Is that what you take me for? Is that what you see?"
We are not always what we seem, and hardly ever what we dream.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The Deluxe Edition of "The Last Unicorn" includes the short story "Two Hearts" and a lengthy interview with the author. As such, it is a different work from regular editions of "The Last Unicorn," and should not be combined with them.

"The Last Unicorn: The Lost Version" should not be combined with "The Last Unicorn". While related, they are not the same story and are therefore different works.

"The Last Unicorn: Graphic Novel" should not be combined with "The Last Unicorn". It is a graphic novel adaptation of the novel, not an identical work.
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
Haiku summary
This Red Bull does not
"give you wings." It captures all
the world's unicorns.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451450523, Paperback)

The Last Unicorn is one of the true classics of fantasy, ranking with Tolkien's The Hobbit, Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy, and Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Beagle writes a shimmering prose-poetry, the voice of fairy tales and childhood:

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very old, though she did not know it, and she was no longer the careless color of sea foam but rather the color of snow falling on a moonlit night. But her eyes were still clear and unwearied, and she still moved like a shadow on the sea.

The unicorn discovers that she is the last unicorn in the world, and sets off to find the others. She meets Schmendrick the Magician--whose magic seldom works, and never as he intended--when he rescues her from Mommy Fortuna's Midnight Carnival, where only some of the mythical beasts displayed are illusions. They are joined by Molly Grue, who believes in legends despite her experiences with a Robin Hood wannabe and his unmerry men. Ahead wait King Haggard and his Red Bull, who banished unicorns from the land.

This is a book no fantasy reader should miss; Beagle argues brilliantly the need for magic in our lives and the folly of forgetting to dream. --Nona Vero

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:24 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Recounts the quest of the last unicorn, who leaves the protection of the enchanted forest to search for her own kind, and who is joined by Schmedrick the Magician and Molly Grue in her search.

(summary from another edition)

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