The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle

The Last Unicorn book cover
Rating 9.4/10
The Last Unicorn full of enchantment, charm, wit, and stylistic brilliance.

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone… …so she ventured out from the safety of the enchanted forest on a quest for others of her kind. Joined along the way by the bumbling magician Schmendrick and the indomitable Molly Grue, the unicorn learns all about the joys and the sorrows of life and love before meeting her destiny in the castle of a despondent monarch – and confronting the creature that would drive her kind to extinction.

“Comes alive and stays alive on bright intensity of imagination.” The New York Times Book Review

“Beagle… has been compared, not unreasonably, with Lewis Carroll and J.R.R. Tolkien, but he stands squarely and triumphantly on his own feet… The book is rich, not only in comic bits but also in passages of uncommon beauty. Beagle is a true magician with words, a master of prose and a deft practitioner in verse.” The Saturday Review

“Almost as if it were the last fairy tale, come out of lonely hiding in the forests of childhood, The Last Unicorn is as full of enchantment as any of the favourite tales readers may well choose to recall… a delicate, sensitive, yet powerful rendering of all the intangibles that make a fairy tale unforgettable.” St Louis Post-Dispatch

“Peter Beagle is a writer of the first order. His charm, wit, and stylistic brilliance have gone into a work to which I will return often and with great pleasure. This is a novel and writer that should be read and reread.” Chicago News

“If there were a ‘ten best’ list of modern fantasy, The Last Unicorn would surely be on it.” Fantasy Literature: A Core Collection and Reference Guide

“The plot is a classic quest structure-an impossible goal, a motley company, heroes, villains, monsters, magic, desperate chances, bittersweet success. The last unicorn in the world sets out from her enchanted wood to discover the fate of her kin… In the process she becomes, briefly and agonizingly, human… What makes The Last Unicorn unique is the way Mr. Beagle transcends the ordinary fantasy quest trope with his incomparable storytelling skill. The book is a triumph… The writing is as precise and beautiful as mosaic tiles, as coloured glass backed by gold, sharp and glittering. Part of the wonder is the effortless way Mr. Beagle combines fairy-tale imagery with matter-of-fact modernity. He slides easily from a heroic fantasy to laugh-out-loud funny: a sorcerer confronts an enemy with ‘demons, metamorphoses, paralysing ailments and secret judo holds’; a prince rides home singing in harmony with the severed ogre’s head lashed to his saddle. The story has an intimacy and immediacy that captivates the reader. You don’t read this with the futile wish that such things would happen to you-you read it and believe, at once, that they could.” The Green Man Review

“Very highly recommended… this is a darn fine book. Charming, cuttingly humorous, moving, affirming… I guess ‘poignant’ says it all. Buy it, read it, savour it. A five out of five.” Yet Another Book Review Site

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The Last Unicorn reader reviews

from Austria


I fell in love with the movie first but the book is fantastic, even if you already know the story. Beagle brings a depth to his prose and characters that makes every page enjoyable. The writing is lyrical and beautiful and every word has its place. There is literally nothing I would change about this story. A full review can be read at:

from US


One of my favorites as a young teen. Really pulls your heart.

from Tucson, AZ


I think this book was completley uneccesary and annoying and extremely boring and stupid and I HATED every second of it.

from New Zealand


My favourite fantasy. It is one of those stories that will not leave your head, and when you read it you don't quite know whether to laugh or cry. It's poignant and hilarious by turns, the writing is lyrical and beautiful, and the unicorn is everything I ever half-dreamt a unicorn had to be. It is one of the few truly magical books I have ever read, and even this praise is too little. There's a novella-length sequel called "Two Hearts", which has many of the same qualities and is therefore fantastic, but nothing - *nothing* - matches the original.

7.9/10 from 5 reviews

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