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Paperback The Last Unicorn Book

ISBN: 0451450523

ISBN13: 9780451450524

The Last Unicorn

(Book #1 in the The Last Unicorn Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good*

*Best Available: (ex-library)

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Book Overview

Experience one of the most enduring classics of the twentieth century and the book that The Atlantic has called "one of the best fantasy novels ever." The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone... 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...

Customer Reviews

9 ratings

Simple yet beautiful, clever, and emotional

I loved the movie- the book is even better of course. The writing is extremely easy to digest but it has such emotional depth and meaning that you can look in to. It’s also clever and humorous with occasional quips, sarcasm, and jokes from the characters. I just can’t get over how beautiful the writing is. The first paragraph alone has blown me away, it deserves to be framed. The language is clear and the writing isn’t dense, I can breeze through the pages pretty easily and know exactly what’s going on. The words and imagery just flows. I’ve never read fantasy novels before but this makes me really appreciate the genre with all the whimsical happenings, magic and creatures, and inspiring adventure.

An exceptional book, my favorite of all time.

I have a hard time putting into words what this book means to me. It is about the nature of fairy tales, change, and death. If you have only ever seen the movie I BEG YOU to read this book. The movie is beautiful but it's really just a sliver of Beagle's work.

The Last Unicorn

Ok so I purchased this book based on a the reviews and hoping they wouldn't let me down. I actually really enjoyed the book, I couldn't tell at first if I was going to but once I started reading I couldn't put the book down. Still a little stunned with the ending !

One of the best books EVER

I have read this book over and over. Everytime I replaced the book it would get borrowed and never returned. I am going to replace it one more time and it will never leave again. It is the kind of book you can read over and over and still not get tired of.

Exactly what I expected!

I think I read this book in less than 24 hours, I loved it so much. The seller accurately described the book, and I was not disappointed! Thank you so much for being punctual as well!!!

who will like this book?

In reading other reviews, I noticed that the 5 star reviews got their analyses right on the mark, while many 1 star reviews were lacking any appropriate criticism. One poor review said that the book could not decide if it was fantasy or parody. A parody, by definition, imitates another piece of work, and there is no other piece of work quite like this one. Peter S. Beagle simply knows what any good writer should know-- that a piece of writing will be boring if it focuses on one emotion or mood to the exclusion of all others. J. R. R. Tolkien and William Shakespeare knew the value of humor in a work which was not expressly written to be humorous, but it is Beagle who finds the perfect balance of humor and beauty in this novel which will take the reader through nearly every emotion there is. This is a book that does NOT make the mistake that all too many fantasy novels make-- taking themselves too seriously. The label "fantasy" does not have a set of laws stating that humor must be avoided at all costs. That said, you will like this book if: *you appreciate the amazing things that can be done with the English language. *you appreciate the amazing things that Peter S. Beagle can do with the English language. *you won't throw a hissy fit if the ending isn't perfectly happy. *you like unicorns. *you enjoy fantasy, but don't insist all fantasy be like Dungeons and Dragons. *you are a kid at heart. *you enjoyed the movie. *you can appreciate a humor which is sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious. *you like poetry. *you're looking for story that was written to be perfect, not to sell, and then sell a sequel. There is no sequel to The Last Unicorn, but at the end you will be wishing there were, not because of loose ends, but because the story is too beautiful to leave.

The Post-Modern Fairy Tale

Along with the rest of the civilized world, my wandering memories often lead me back to two of my favorite childhood movies, "The Neverending Story" and "The Last Unicorn." Practically all I could remember of the latter was some skull yelling "Unicorn! Uuuunicorn!" That image and that voice have left a lingering discomfort in the back of my mind for years. A while back, I found a little time to investigate Michael Ende's novel, "The Neverending Story," and just recently, I managed to come across a copy of "The Last Unicorn," and I couldn't help but read it. In both cases, these novels have more than repayed my childhood memories, giving my adult mind philosophical and literary substance as well as real joy. Peter S. Beagle's 1968 novel, "The Last Unicorn," is much more than a simple fantasy story - though it is rife with magicians, mythical creatures, and all of the customary trappings. It is even more than a complex fantasy story - somehow Beagle enchants us into a timeless place where nothing seems unusual - "The Last Unicorn" creates a space for magic in our modern lives. The novel begins as a unicorn overhears two hunters riding through her wood - the hunters debate whether unicorns exist anymore. The unicorn begins to wonder if indeed she is the last of her kind, and goes in search of other unicorns. She is caught sleeping by Mommy Fortuna, owner of the Midnight Carnival, who displays the unicorn for a time alongside a real harpy and a motley bunch of meek, hopeless animals who are made, through Fortuna's magic, to resemble other dangerous mythical beasts for the entertainment of travellers, tourists, and townsfolk. Schmendrick, a fairly useless magician, and an assistant to the Midnight Carnival, recognizes the unicorn for what she is, and freeing her, they set off together to find the unicorns. Once they are joined by a woodland dweller named Molly Grue, the company is complete. Their search brings them to the domain of King Haggard, who, along with the demoniacal, but eerily incorporeal Red Bull, seems to have something to do with the disappearance of the unicorns.Though the novel is a quest, there isn't much real movement - the novel moves from the unicorn's wood, over land to Haggard's castle by the sea, which is where almost half of the novel takes place. The more significant quests here are ones of self-discovery, as the unicorn, Schmendrick, and Prince Lir, King Haggard's heir, must all try to figure out who they are, what they want to be, and how to accomplish their goals without being consumed by existential despair. Related questions the novel poses include speculations on the nature of the hero, on the metafictional nature of the fairy tale as a genre, and what the difference is between evil and self-interest, between love and hatred. "The Last Unicorn" is also a rumination on the nature of interpersonal (or interspecies) relationships, and is in spots as concerned with ecology and the environment as J.R.R. Tolkien'

"Anything can happen in a world that holds such beauty."

It's just like Molly said to Cully, "You have it backward. There's no such person as you, or me, or any of us." Molly Grue and Schmendrick are real, and we are the legends. Thats the way you feel when you're reading this book. I remembered the movie faintly from when I was a child, mainly the nightmares that the Red Bull gave me, and I was wandering through the shelves of the local library and this book jumped out at me. As I looked at its spine I could vaguely remember one line from the movie. "They passed down all the roads long ago, and the Red Bull ran close behind them and covered their footprints." And so of course I checked it out and preceeded to read what I feel is the second greatest fantasy novel I've ever read (right behind Michael Ende's The Neverending Story which you should also read). The descriptive language Beagle uses in this book is like poetry, and ther is always a slight hint of humor that floats around even when your heart is breaking for the amazing cast of characters. I won't try to describe the Molly or Schmendrick or Lir or the unicorn, for my words pale in comparison to Beagle's who makes it seem that she stands there in front of the reader in all her glory. This book is a must for anyone who calls themselves a fan of literature, and especially those who crave magic in their world. This book is beautiful.

The Last Unicorn: The Last of the Literary Fairy Tales

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle is one of the last, best fairy tales of our generation. It's a great read for an adult or a child; I first read it in fourth grade, and recently re-read it as an adult with no less sense of wonder or awe.It's an often tongue-in-cheek fairy tale about the last unicorn left on a Midaevil Earth, which unicorn represents (of course) the last of the immortal magic that is inevitably represented in good fantasies. The story is set in the usual quest setting, with the expected good and evil dichotomy and characters such as a bumbling yet powerful wizard, a good-hearted lass, a handsome hero, and, last but foremost, the beautiful and sorrowful, immortal unicorn.What sets this tale apart from others--it is most definitely in the same league as C.S. Lewis' the Chronicles of Narnia, or his more adult Till We Have Faces--is its flowing prose and often unexpected sense of humor. Beagle pokes fun at the fantasy form of story-telling (for the enjoyment of the adult reader), while not allowing the jibes to be too satirical or otherwise distracting from the beauty and grace of the story itself. While the tale stays within the traditional confines and plot of a fairy tale/fantasy, the characters are so well-written and the story so imaginative and well-told, the tale's traditional form only adds to its sense of magic.In short, it's one of the very best fairy tale/fantasies I've had the pleasure of reading (and re-reading). I unabashedly recommend it to the young and old with five stars.

The Last Unicorn Mentions in Our Blog

The Last Unicorn in 7 Ways to Mark Read Across America Day
7 Ways to Mark Read Across America Day
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • February 28, 2023

Happy Read Across America Day! The official day is March 2, but we're making it a weeklong party with seven activities to celebrate our favorite pastime.

The Last Unicorn in 13 Fantasy Recs Based on Magic Style
13 Fantasy Recs Based on Magic Style
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • June 21, 2022
Do you like knowing the “rules” when it comes to your magic? Fantasy novels can be broken down into different types. Hard magic, soft magic, and hybrids. Here we discuss these different types of worlds and give recommended reads for each.
The Last Unicorn in Read-Aloud Books for Everyone!
Read-Aloud Books for Everyone!
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • November 08, 2019

Reading aloud isn't just for kids. Everyone benefits from the simple, calming act of picking up a book and enjoying a story together. It is especially important in this age of frantic, electronic, distraction. We have become so accustomed to the constant cacophony of our devices, we forget how important it is to unplug.

The Last Unicorn in 30 Books Your Family Can Enjoy Together This Thanksreading
30 Books Your Family Can Enjoy Together This Thanksreading
Published by Beth Clark • November 07, 2018
Between Movember, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and a cornucopia of other observances and celebrations, November is busy. Which makes causes like Family Literacy Month tempting to skim or even skip. Enter Thanksreading, invented as a way to connect the random dots and promote our favorite thing ever (ahem, besides our stellar customers), BOOKS! Big, small, square, and tall…we have them all. Below are 30 titles handpicked with love for newborns to centenarians, and everyone in between, because families that read together succeed together, and holidays are all about hanging with the ones you love. (And about food—so much food—but that's a separate blog.)
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