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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most beautiful books ever
"The unicorn lived in a lilac wood and she lived all alone."
Thus begins the story (told with great simplicity and magnificent poetry) of the quest of the last unicorn for her vanished kin and our quest for what is important in life as we follow the progress of the unicorn and her human companions - the failed magician Schmendrick, hurt and wronged Molly Grue, the...
Published on 21 Aug 2005 by Peacock Wings

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Last Unicorn and The Reluctant Reader
Having A Fine And Private Place by Peter Beagle as a must keep forever book, I decided to try this fable by the same author.
I must say that this isn't my type of book at all, but the rave reviews on Amazon tilted me towards giving it a try.
The last unicorn searching for others of its kind sounded like a decent adventure, but about 60 pages into it I was fairly...
Published on 6 April 2008 by Mr. John Frank Herbert


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most beautiful books ever, 21 Aug 2005
This review is from: The Last Unicorn (Paperback)
"The unicorn lived in a lilac wood and she lived all alone."
Thus begins the story (told with great simplicity and magnificent poetry) of the quest of the last unicorn for her vanished kin and our quest for what is important in life as we follow the progress of the unicorn and her human companions - the failed magician Schmendrick, hurt and wronged Molly Grue, the dreaming King Lir and blighting King Haggard. After finishing the book, the world is sadder, but for that sadness a richer place.
Since my childhood this book has been my constant companion and special present to people who mean a lot to me. Although I read it first as a child, it is not only a children's book, but very much an adult book. There are so many layers to it, so much wit and wisdom in it that a child can never understand. It is also beautifully written, the language is poetry with startling, but apt images.
A book to be cherished for a whole lifetime.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, Confident, Captivating. An absolute masterpiece., 11 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Last Unicorn (Paperback)
As a child I was enchanted by the animated film "The Last Unicorn." While reliving some of my childhood delights recently I was reminded of my adoration for the stirring cartoon that had lodged itself so firmly in my memory.
So at eighteen years of age I set about tracking down "The Last Unicorn" but, regrettably, was unable to find the video anywhere. However, while perusing Amazon I lit upon the novel that had spawned the animated film and was compelled to purchase it.
I can honestly say it was one of the best purchases of my life. Beagle's style was so crisp and descriptive, so utterly compelling that I found myself visualising every scene and unable to put the book down. I would recommend this book to anyone, it is an absolute masterpiece, essential reading for anyone who even casually browses the fantasy genre be they young or old.
"The Last Unicorn" has found its way into my heart and mind as my favourite book of all time. I felt each emotion laid before me in the text with complete empathy.
I can only say read this book. You haven't lived until you have experienced this tale of hope, pain, tribulation, and its bitter-sweet ending.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timeless Modern Fantasy about Love, Magic and Unicorns-, 12 Jun 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Last Unicorn (Paperback)
I've been searching for this book since I was seven years old, after seeing the wonderful animated movie, and when I finally found it, it did not disappoint. This is a wonderful tale of magic, fantasy, love and the last unicorn on earth, searching for the rest of her kind who have been kidnapped by the Red Bull.
Throughout this story, the author reveals much about his characters: all, from the Unicorn to Mommy Fortuna to Schmendrick the Magician all have a vital role, no matter how big or small, in the adventure and discovery this novel takes us on.
If you love unicorns, or fantasy, or a tale that will make you smile, cry, and entrap you with it's magic, The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle is the tale for you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Point Taken, 14 Sep 2008
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This review is from: The Last Unicorn (Paperback)
Peter Beagle's THE LAST UNICORN is always a discovery for me, however often I encounter it. Only with reluctance would I name the book one of my favourites, for it employs throughout devices I routinely find annoying in modern fantasy writing. Chief among these is an awareness on the part of the characters that they ARE in a kind of faerie tale and, as such, have generally defined roles they are expected to play. I prefer to lose myself in a story rather than be reminded continually that it IS a story. The 1982 animated film adaptation, though following the plot and dialogue of the book with unusual faithfulness, had problems of its own. Too often it tended toward the melodramatic, and some of the line-delivery could only be described as 'shrill'.

Yet it was the animated version I discovered first and, whatever the imperfections, I have re-watched it many times over the years. Clearly, something in it touched me as few films ever do. And I must concede that Beagle's novel is even more affecting.

Set in a world of vaguely mediaeval elements laced with what has been called 'intentional anachronism' and populated with towns and kingdoms that never were, this is the story of a solitary unicorn who learns that all others of her kind have disappeared from the world. She therefore leaves the security of her enchanted forest in order to discover what became of them. Not unexpectedly, on this quest she encounters various individuals whose destinies will be realized by how they help or hinder her. Yet there is more melancholy than magic in this, for few are pleased with what they gain. A bitter old man is what he is precisely because he has spent his life in a relentless and uncompromising search FOR lasting happiness. A younger man becomes a hero to win the woman he loves, but instead he gains a kingdom for which he had no desire. And then there is Molly, who chased a dream in her youth, only to wind up in used and disillusioned drudgery. The most heart-breaking moment of the entire work may be when she first sees the unicorn and cries out, 'Where have you been? ... What good is it to me that you're here now? Where were you twenty years ago, ten years ago? ... How dare you come to me now, when I am this?'

There is humour in the tale as well, albeit most often wry, sardonic, or simply playful. And there is a happy ending overall, if somewhat ambivalent for the individuals themselves.

Ultimately, however, UNICORN evades the foreshadowed cynicism and achieves poignance. For me, what makes it work most is the unique 'poetry' of its prose. Beagle's metaphors and similes are particularly compelling, fashioned on unexpected images that really do work. 'One owl-less autumn evening, they ... saw the castle ... thin and twisted, bristling with thorny turrets, dark and jagged as a giant's grin.' A vast monster 'was the color of blood, not the springing blood of the heart but the blood that stirs under an old wound that never really healed.' A young girl's 'skin was the color of snow by moonlight.' Later she 'fell as irrevocably as a flower breaks ....' 'Things happened both swiftly and slowly as they do in dreams, where it is really the same thing.' The genius of such descriptions is that they often evoke a sense, rather than an image. We may not actually KNOW what colour is blood under an old wound, but we FEEL its darkness and grim persistence.

THE LAST UNICORN is a story of the bittersweet, of melancholy joy, of wonder mingled with resignation, of oppressive gloom and extraordinary beauty, of wit and of wisdom and of poetry. It does not LOOK like 'great literature', but it teaches throughout that appearances are deceiving -- and goes on to prove the point.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Last Unicorn and The Reluctant Reader, 6 April 2008
By 
Mr. John Frank Herbert (Greenwich, London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Last Unicorn (Paperback)
Having A Fine And Private Place by Peter Beagle as a must keep forever book, I decided to try this fable by the same author.
I must say that this isn't my type of book at all, but the rave reviews on Amazon tilted me towards giving it a try.
The last unicorn searching for others of its kind sounded like a decent adventure, but about 60 pages into it I was fairly bored with some of the characters, and frankly it wasn't holding me.

For some reason I kept going, but felt tentative about it all. I thought that any minute I was going to call it quits. Yes, the words were poetic, but the unreality of it all was totally unreal, if you can make any sense of what I'm saying.

But it was then that the magic of this book suddenly kicked in - as much as I'd geared myself up to abandoning the project at any moment, I simply found that I COULDN'T!!

The second half of the book suddenly became significant somehow and I just had to find out what happened to the unicorn in the end. I found myself flying through pages which previously was in dire pedestrian mode.

I can't explain the two different phases of this book - it's pretty unique in my reading experience.
It must be me - it couldn't be magic, could it?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There are two kinds of magic, 7 Oct 2008
By 
Mrs. J. Proctor (Dorset, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Unicorn (Paperback)
The Last Unicorn is a fantasy novel, which reminds me of the 'Princess Bride' more than anything else. The narrative exists on several levels. The characters have a self-awareness that they live in a reality of fairy stories. Prince Lir slays dragons and presents their heads to his lady love, because that's what heros do. Cully, the outlaw, desperately hopes that his visitor is Professor Child, the (historically real) collector of ballads, as he wants all the songs that he has written about himself to be recorded for posterity. The songs, are, of course, largely cobbled together from existing folk songs about famous outlaws and bandits - Cully has no skill as a songwriter any more than he has as an outlaw.

However, the reason the novel works is because there is a second layer of awareness underlying the first. There is magic that is flummery (even though it is still what we would call magic) and magic that is real. The magic that doesn't count is simple conjuring. It may achieve things that we would regard as impossible to be done by sleight of hand, but it achieves nothing that really matters. It can create the seeming of a manticore from a lion, but it cannot make the lion actually BE a manticore. Sometimes, it verges on the edge of reality. When the spider weaving the web believes that she really is Archne, then her belief adds to the illusion cast upon her.

The second kind of magic is deeper and more real and harder to define. It isn't just tricks and appearances. It is the unicorn. She is more real than anything around her. She does not consciously set out to influence the world around her; her intererst in mortals is pretty much non-existant. She is incapable of love. Love is transient, fleeting, mortal. She is immortal and unchanging.

In a world where unicorns can exist, there is always the possibility of real magic. The outlaws play at being Robin Hood and try and adapt his legends to themselves, but the real Robin is the ultimate dream for them. To see or touch the real Robin Hood is to bring reality to their dreams and hopes for themselves. Not the cold reality that destroys dreams, but the kind of reality that says dreams have meaning and are but the shadow of an eternal verity.

The unicorn is an abstract. She is pure beauty, moonlight in darkness. She is springtime. To once see a unicorn is to carry something of beauty with you for the rest of your life. She is hope. She is pure and untouchable. She is the sure knowledge that there is something unsullied in the world.

She is the last of her kind.

When she sets forth from her eternal springtime forest to seek other unicorns, then she sets the story in motion. (I'm not going to talk about the people she meets, as I don't believe in giving away plots in advance.)

The novel has both strengths and weaknesses. The greatest strength is the sense of beauty and magic behind the veil of myth and fairy tale.

The weakness (for me at least) is when the parody is slightly over-done. The anachronisms are probably deliberate to make the contrasts sharper, but I still find medieval outlaws eating tacos to be a little disconcerting.

The other great strength lies in Beagle's descriptive writing. He has a real gift for phrases that come to life: "following the fleeing darkness into a wind that tasted like nails". I can feel and taste the entire rainstorm in that single phrase.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming little book, 25 Oct 2004
By 
L. Donovan "Erynn" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Unicorn (Paperback)
This book is pure magic. Half fairy tale and half myth, it's strange and fun and captivateing.
I recomend it to read to any child - because you'll enjoy reading ti as much as a child hearing it.
I recomend it to GIVE to any child. It's writing is simple enough for a child to read, it's story magical and fun enough to give any a lifelong love of fantasy and reading.
I bought this for myself for those very qualities - just as vallied for an adult to read before bed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical, 26 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Last Unicorn (Kindle Edition)
Having watched and loved the animated version when I was just a little kid, I was very happy to find this comic adaptation. The art work is amazing throughout and the story truly is captivating. I find it has a very similar feel to old fairy tales, sometimes dark but all the better for it.

Great adaptation
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful!, 1 Nov 2012
I received this book as a present, expecting the standard edition with the white cover which can also be found on Amazon, so the Deluxe edition was a wonderful surprise! It is beautifully printed onto luxurious black paper and the hardback black cover has a shiny, textured finish with silver embossed writing and a gorgeous smooth matte finish on the cover illustration. I was admiring just the cover for the first 5 minutes! The book has a short introduction by Peter S. Beagle and goes straight into the chapter one cover. The artwork inside is of an incredibly high standard for the relatively small fandom that surrounds The Last Unicorn book and animated film. Every page is sketched, inked and digitally coloured by comic artist couple Renae De Liz (initial drawing) and Ray Dillon (inks and colour), turning each page of narrative into a piece of art as well. It is drawn with sensitivity and respect for the original material, so you're getting quality from each gorgeously rendered full colour page.

The adaptation by Peter B. Gillis stays loyal and true to the original story and expands on The Last Unicorn world for those who have just seen the animated feature.

After the graphic novel, it also includes artwork from fans of the story, who have submitted their fanart of the characters which is a nice touch. It also shows double page spreads of the original pencil sketches of the graphic novel artwork before and after they are inked to show the process for each page before it is coloured.

The end of the book finishes with "The Good Parts" by comic adapter Peter B. Gillis who writes about his process of converting the original novel to comic form and "Olfert Dapper's Day" by Peter S. Beagle which is several pages about Olfert Dapper who was referenced in the beginning of The Last Unicorn.

Although this particular edition being sold by Amazon is NOT the signed and numbered copy pictured or described above, it IS a particularly beautiful hardcover Deluxe edition of The Last Unicorn graphic novel. For £32 you are definitely getting your money's worth and I couldn't recommend it more for fans of the book and film!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyed by a fan of the original film/book who has never read a graphic novel., 18 Dec 2011
By 
B. C. Brown (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Last Unicorn (Hardcover)
I bought this as a present for my older sister's birthday.
She is a huge fan of the original novel and the old animated film, and she has never read a graphic novel before.

As a huge fan of graphic novels, I thought it would be quite a nice present to give her, and having now read it she really enjoyed it!

It has even really inspired her to draw, which is not a bad thing at all in my opinion!
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The Last Unicorn
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (Paperback - 11 April 1996)
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