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The Last Unicorn Paperback – Unabridged, January 1, 1991

546 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

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

From Publishers Weekly

Since it was first published in 1968, Beagle's beloved fantasy novel has been made into a stage play and a film—and now this gorgeous, emotive graphic novel adaptation. Set in a fully realized but slightly tongue-in-cheek fantasy world that has inspired everything from The Princess Bride to Stardust, Beagle's story is a romantic fable about a regal unicorn who leaves the forest she has protected since time immemorial to find more of her kin. After a short spell of imprisonment by a witch's traveling circus, she journeys onward with an accident-prone magician, hoping to find the answer to her quest in the land of a coldhearted king and a monstrously fearsome red bull. Along the way, the unicorn and her good-hearted but hapless companion have many encounters, including one with a Robin Hood–esque group of bandits who seem dropped in from a Monty Python skit. Beagle's sumptuously descriptive writing, adapted ably by Gillis, casts a spell throughout, while De Liz's glowing, painterly artwork meshes perfectly with the haunting otherworldly beauty of the story. (Feb.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; Reissue edition (January 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451450523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451450524
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (546 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

258 of 269 people found the following review helpful By mp on January 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
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.
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112 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Kikyo C. on July 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Last Unicorn is one of most astounding books I have ever read. Not only because of the story, which is a fairytale in every sense of the word, but also because of Beagle's flawless writing, which weaves a spell of words and images that I find myself willingly ensnared in every time I open its pages. I find myself lingering over each sentence, each word, and I am astounded by the care with which he tells this tale.
Once upon a time, there was a unicorn. A beautiful unicorn... who was all alone. She sets out on a journey to seek others of her kind and is joined on her travels by a bumbling magician and an old spinster, neither of who are what they first appear to be. Encountering magical monsters, outlaws and suspicious townspeople, the three travelers find themselves at the gate of a forbidding castle wherein lives a cruel king and a gentle prince. It is in the walls of this castle that the truth lies. But can they accept what the truth will bring?
Beagle tells an amazing tale, of love and loss, of heartache and hope. Each of the characters in his work has such life and depth, and I see myself in each and every one of them. From an inept magician who desperately seeks to be more than what he is to the outlaws who cry out with loss of that which they have never known, there is so much life in these few short pages that I find myself reading and rereading each page, afraid lest I miss something. When Schmendrick cries, "I'll make you into a bad poet with dreams!" I want to laugh, but at the same time I want to cry with pity, with unexplainable sorrow for something I can't quite understand and am not sure I want to.
The Last Unicorn is about more than just a quest for unicorns.
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74 of 77 people found the following review helpful By M. Natisin on January 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're contemplating purchasing the comic adaptation of "The Last Unicorn" , chances are that this will not be your first foray into the world created by Peter S. Beagle in his best-known novel. In "The Last Unicorn", a unicorn discovers that she is the last of her kind and sets out on a quest to discover that has become of her kin. If you're like me, you've read the book and watched the movie, and so as a fan you might wonder what this newest incarnation of the story has to offer.

The Last Unicorn comic gathers the 6 separate issues released by IDW publishing into one full color hard-cover volume. From a purely aesthetic standpoint the book design is impeccable, with violet foil lettering on front and back and a classy layout. The six chapters that make up the book are separated by pages that sport the same illustrations that were featured on the covers of the respective single comic issues.

There is immediately something a little more "grown up" about the comic adaptation as opposed to the animated movie. Renae de Liz's style may have much to do with this. Her illustrations tend more toward stylized realism than the far more soft, cartoony style employed in the movie. Ray Dillon's colors are atmospheric and brooding. Characters such as the Harpy Celaeno, Mommy Fortuna, Ruhk and King Haggard are actually frightening to look at in the comic version, while their movie versions are a little more approachable. For those comfortable with the representations of characters such as the unicorn (Lady Amalthea), Schmendrick and Molly Grue shown in the 80's animated movie, the character designs of the comic certainly pay homage to those designs.
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