Friday, November 18, 2011

The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle

In honor of the Re-Readathon hosted by Perpetual Page Turner, I am posting a favorite re-read review from 2011. I read The Last Unicorn again in August of this year and found it more enjoyable now than I did when I first read it. I also discovered that Beagle's euphoric beauty surrounding his unicorn set a crazy-high standard that few other books have come close to.  My older self told my younger self that "regret" is not the worst thing in the world and that growing up and changing my opinion is Ok. With no further ado....

The Last Unicorn
by Peter Beagle
First published March 25, 1968

From The Last Unicorn

"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 Premise:  Ganked from Amazon:
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 book is hauntingly beautiful. Beagle somehow captures the beauty of his unicorn in the eyes of the creatures around her, except for humans, who don't usually recognize her.  What is amazing, is how she is flawed, taking centuries to realize she is the only one left and almost not caring enough to seek out where they have gone.  Schmendrick is also flawed, trying so hard to do some "real" magic, causing more trouble than he solves (almost).  Molly Grue is the most innocent, although she is grimy & gritty and one hard woman.  At least she, of all the other characters, keeps a grip on what's going on and The Plan.  

Each character grows and changes... except, maybe, the vain spider. 

My Rating:  5.5  Re-read it, Keep it, Frame it.... just don't compare other books to it. It's not fair!!