Written by: Peter S. Beagle
Pages: 288 (Hardcover)
The premise: ganked from Barnes & Noble: THE LAST UNICORN is a tearful tale of the last existing unicorn's journey out of her familiar forest to save the species. On the way she encounters evil magic, dark castles, cursed towns, and a particularly interesting sea shore. The character's in this magical story invite you to learn with them, while Peter S. Beagle poetic prose are something to remember as he tells a story of bravery and courage. Do love, freedom, and happiness prevail? Or will we forever live in fear in a world without unicorns?
Must Have: The Last Unicorn is a beautiful story, and considering the fact the book was written back in 1968, I'd say Beagle's style olds up well. I'm glad I finally got this fantasy classic under my belt, and even better was finally being able to read the sequel, "Two Hearts," right after the book itself. I'd already read the story when it came out in the Oct/Nov 2005 issue of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, but there were a lot of little things I missed that time because I hadn't read The Last Unicorn, so to read them back-to-back? Priceless. Beagle knows how to weave the emotional heart into a story, and I love him for that. Anyone who dares call him or herself a fantasy fan cannot continue to do so without reading The Last Unicorn and it's sequel. I personally can't wait to read more from this author, as his style has definitely evolved between these two pieces, and it's gotten better when it was already good to begin with.
In terms of "Two Hearts," my edition of The Last Unicorn has it in it (as well as a very interesting interview with the author: did you know he HATED this book for a very long time?), and if you're interested in tracking this hardcover edition down, the ISBN is 9780760783740. I don't know if later editions also have the novella and interview, but if you can get your hands on them, they're worth reading. But you can also find "Two Hearts" in Beagle's The Line Between, which is a collection of his short stories, so don't worry if you can't find an edition of The Last Unicorn that has the short in it. But do yourself a favor and read the two back-to-back. Trust me, it's a lovely experience.
Review style: definite spoilers. I mean, this is such a classic anyway that it's hard to even CALL details of this book spoilers, because you know the story or you don't. If you don't, and you really want to go into this story without knowing what happens, then there's no need to click the cut below, which takes you to the discussion in my LJ. If you've read it though, hop on over! As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)
REVIEW: Peter S. Beagle's THE LAST UNICORN
Book club selections @ calico_reaction. Hop on over! We'd love to have you!
January: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
February: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler