The Last Unicorn

The Last Unicorn

by Peter S. Beagle, Beagle

Hardcover(Large Print)

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The Last Unicorn is the best book I have ever read. You need to read it. If you’ve already read it, you need to read it again.”—Patrick Rothfuss, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of The Name of the Wind

Experience the magic of Peter S. Beagle’s classic tale about a lone unicorn’s search for her kind—hailed by The Atlantic as “one of the best fantasy novels ever.”

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. So 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 the joys and sorrows of life and love before meeting her destiny in the castle of a despondent monarch—and confronting the creature that would drive her kind to extinction...


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780783803951
Publisher: Macmillan Library Reference
Publication date: 12/01/1998
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 298
Product dimensions: 6.41(w) x 9.49(h) x 1.06(d)

About the Author

Peter S. Beagle was born in 1939 and raised in the Bronx, just a few blocks from Woodlawn Cemetery, the inspiration for his first novel, A Fine and Private Place. Today, thanks to classic works such as The Last Unicorn, Tamsin, and The Innkeeper’s Song, he is acknowledged as America’s greatest living fantasy author; and his dazzling abilities with language, characters, and magical storytelling have earned him many millions of fans around the world.
In addition to stories and novels Beagle has written numerous teleplays and screenplays, including the animated versions of The Lord of the Rings and The Last Unicorn, plus the fan-favorite “Sarek” episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. His nonfiction book I See By My Outfit, which recounts a 1963 journey across America on motor scooter, is considered a classic of American travel writing; and he is also a gifted poet, lyricist, and singer/songwriter.

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The Last Unicorn 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 110 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This wonderful book will capture not only the younger generation but adults as well. It is far from just a story for little girls who love unicorns--although I was one such girl when I first read it. Reading it again as an adult, I still felt the same sense of wonder and awe. Beautifully written and also touched with some wry humor, The Last Unicorn is one of those books that you just don't forget.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I happened to LOVE this BOOK and MOVIE! I'm a sophmore in high school and I love it! I grew up with the movie and I strongly believe! Yes, everyone is entitled to their own opion but mine is quite clear. You should read it. And if you don't like to read , rent it. Don't let this pass you by.It's like a door that opens a whole new world of magic. Wizards, Bandits, kings, unicorns, secerct doors. It's wonderful it really is.
Tobiyuki More than 1 year ago
One of the best books ever written. Everything fit perfectly in a way things are supposed to be in the unicorn's world. I first read it 10 years ago. It remains, to this point, one of my favorites of all time. Definitely worth buying.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle is about how a unicorn, who has lived alone in the woods for years, learns that she is the last unicorn on Earth. However, from page 1, it is stated that ¿Unicorns are immortal. It is their nature to live in one place,¿ so she knows that she cannot really be the last. Determined to find the rest of her kind, the unicorn sets out to free them from whatever has them all captive. Along the way she meets an inexperienced magician name Schemdrick and a woman called Molly, who join her in her quest. Their journey ultimately leads them to a forsaken land where they must fool an evil king and defeat a demon known as the Red Bull to find the unicorns. Overall, I found this book enjoyable and I believe it is one of the best fantasy books I have ever read. In this novel, many issues were mentioned. Perhaps one of the biggest is the strength of love, and how strong that really is. As you read, a lot of love interests develop, and some of the turn out good, others not so much. I, for the most part, agree with the author on all of this stuff. However, there was one thing on the issue of loyalty that I disagree with I think that if the Prince wanted to travel with Molly and Schmendrick he should¿ve been able to, instead of rebuilding the town. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. The Last Unicorn has a plot that is in every way unique and entertaining. I was able to relate to most of the characters, and I found all of them memorable. Even if you¿re not a big fantasy reader, like me, you will probably still like The Last Unicorn. This novel was very well-written, and is rightly called a fantasy classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found a bit of this elusive magic in this book. I do not agree with the reviewer who gave this book only one star. Did the idiot notice that he was the only one? He claimed it was only for children, but tell me how many children can read this book and experience and understand the pain of lost love, and unfulfilled dreams? Pain and triumph such as this are present throughout the story. I think it wonderful when a book is written with such imagination and magic, that it pulls you in. There are not many like that around. The Last Unicorn is a must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had a quickly-fading memory of a movie I had seen when I was six or seven years old, a movie about a unicorn that was wonderfully beautiful. That's all I remembered. Fortunately, I found this book and realized why it had made such an impression on me. It is still my favorite love story, a beautiful and tragic account of what it means to be a magical creature, and what it means to be a girl, and what it means to be in love. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a magical world and a reason to believe. Don't be fooled by appearances- it is just as much a children's book as 'Alice In Wonderland' or 'The Lord of the Rings', by which I mean that it's not a children's book at all, but rather something that requires the belief and the wonder of a child but is most rewarding for adults.
Alera on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Some of my earliest and fondest memories are in relation to this book. The animated film, is the first movie I truly remember loving as a child. I adored the characters. And in many ways I believe the book and film managed to inspire both my imagination and my literary preferences as I grew older. I can do nothing but gush. And Two Hearts, though added so many years later, manages to keep this world alive in a way I almost didn't believe possible. The Last Unicorn is a gorgeous story, one that has more then pushed itself through time and into the hearts of many.
HotWolfie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my second favorite fantasy/fairy tale novel. The dialog is extremely strong and memorable. There is a good mixture of characters, each with their own distinctive voices. I liked that it took twists and turns in the story that I didn't see coming, and avoided cliches. I also felt it had a strong message of women's empowerment in it (i.e. both strong female and male characters working together).If you liked The Last Unicorn, you would probably also enjoy Neil Gaiman's Stardust and William Goldman's The Princess Bride.
sarbow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a kid I would watch this movie whenever my family rented videos. I was delighted to find out, much later as an adult, that the movie was based on a book. The book is magical, lyrical and has something about it that makes me reread it over and over again. Incidentally, the movie is quite faithful to the book as the author was the scriptwriter.
06nwingert on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Last Unicorn is an epic fantasy and compares to The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia and many other fantasy novels. And it's not hard to see why.A unicorn leaves the sanctity of her forest home in order to find others like her. Along the way, she encounters myriad characters, and she learns valuable lessons.While The Last Unicorn is a good fantasy, I wouldn't rank it alongside The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Beagle's prose is above average, yet there is something about the book that doesn't add up.
heidilove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Am I the only one who knows that the mythical unicorn beast is male? This book did more damage than any that I have seen to undo the true mythological understanding.
RogueBelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On of the best fantasy books of all time -- don't let the subject matter fool you; this book is as enjoyable for an adult as for a kid. Even moreso, perhaps, because an adult reader will pick up on the subtleties -- themes of hope, despair, of the endurance of mystery and fantasy in the world, of what it means to be noble and heroic, or how to find one's place in the world -- and a few touches of truly wonderful metatheatricality. So very highly recommended.
Gwendydd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved the movie as a kid, and as an adult, the book is even better. The characters are all aware that they are in a story, and that they have roles to play, even if they don't want to. The writing is absolutely incredible: without saying it explicitly, the book manages to be about the lost innocence of childhood, as the characters realize that stories don't always work out the way you expect. The writing manages to convey an almost painful wistfulness: I found myself on the verge of tears throughout most of the book, but still smiling with joy at what I was reading. This is a truly amazing book.
Radaghast on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A well-written, melancholy tale about the last unicorn and her quest to find her lost brethren. Beagle is adept at putting you in the mind of a creature that is understandable, yet ultimately alien. An epic fairy-tale that is well worth the read.
susanbevans on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Last Unicorn is one of my all-time favorite childhood movies, but I didn't know until recently that it was based on a wonderful book by Peter S. Beagle. Full of mythical creatures and magicians, The Last Unicorn is a complex and enchanting fantasy story that wraps the reader up in it's timeless magic.The novel begins in the lilac wood of the unicorn, as she listens in to two hunters arguing over the existence of unicorns in the world. After realizing that she had not seen another unicorn in some time, she begins to wonder if she may in fact be the last of her kind. Thus begins her epic quest in search of other unicorns. During her journey she meets an entertaining cast of characters: Mommy Fortuna, owner of the Midnight Carnival; the harpy Celaeno, a great bronze bird with the face of a hag and deadly, rending talons; Schmendrick, a fairly inept magician; Molly Grue, a woman-of-the-woods, living with a band of outlaws; and of course King Haggard and his Red Bull, the captors of all of the unicorns in the world. The unicorn's quest is as much a voyage of self-discovery as it is a journey to find her people. She must face the truth about herself and her world - whether she wants to or not - and complete her pilgrimage to save the other unicorns. The story of The Last Unicorn is a beautiful tale of love and hope, what makes a hero a hero, and the accomplishment of a "happily ever after."Peter S. Beagle's writing is brimming with dazzlingly descriptive language, prose and wit. His characters are extremely well-written, adding to the beauty and grace of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book - first sentence to last - I didn't want the adventure to end. Enchanting - captivating - intriguing - nothing goes quite far enough to describe this enduring fairy-tale. Whether you're a fan of classic fantasy, or you just need a bit of magic in your life, you should pick up Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn. You have my personal guarantee - you won't be disappointed.
leahdawn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So much better than the movie, yet really close to it at the same time!
wrighton-time on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The_Last_Unicorn" This book has become a classic and is a must for the believers at heart. If you were not a believer, the book will make you wonder, and it does cause you to yearn for that first site of a Unicorn. Would we be able to recognise one or would we be more like the unbelievers and only see what we expect. This is a fabulous book for both young and old and I have not been without a copy since I first read it when it came out. This book is a fabulous read, and leaves you Yearning.......
Larkken on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written modern fairy tale. Beagle's story is sad and poignant at times, but at others simply breathtaking as he takes you through his own geography of fantasy, following a unicorn's journey as she realizes that others of her kind have disappeared. The traveling carnival is one of my favorite sequences ever.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is told simply enough and with no material that would be unsuitable for younger readers, but written so beautifully and evocatively it can fully hold an adult interest. In form it's a classic quest story, but unlike so many in fantasy one that feels unique and not some Tolkien retread. There's a mix here of the mythical and the whimsical. Set in a created world not ours own but with echoes of legends of Robin Hood and Mallory and yet with seeming anachronisms that somehow never seem jarring or throw you out of the world the author created. The unicorn herself in the short novel is a marvel. She touches the characters around her and the reader with wonder and I'm not going to soon forget her or Schmendrick the Magician or Molly Grue. There are scenes in this book that I'm certain I'll never forget--like a crying spider or visions of the surf. Just magical.
Sean191 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good job Peter S. Beagle! I read his bio at the conclusion - I think he was about 28 when he wrote this book and was only 22 when A Fine and Private Place was published. He's three for three with books I've really enjoyed and I'll definitely be picking up his other novels.Getting down to this book - the Last Unicorn is a classic fairytale which also lampoons the classic fairytale is a bright, witty way. The main characters evolve brilliantly and enough mystery remains (in a good way) by the novel's conclusion that you feel there's still plenty of magic to be had in Beagle's world.Almost forgot to mention Beagle's writing itself...pure poetry. Really.
nmhale on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I finally read you! This has been on my shelves for a few years - not as long as some others that I have - but it's been on my mental list ever since I was in junior high. My mom had a collection of books from when she was a girl, including the ones that sparked my first all night reading sprees, the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Last Unicorn was wedged among these other books, but after my thrilling experience with Tolkien, I never got around to reading it. Despite the fact that I loved the movie.Now, years later, when I'm in my thirties, I get around to reading a book that I always felt I should read and never did. In a way, I'm glad for the wait. This story is fanciful, full of allusions to old fairy tales and mythology, a bit ironic, and with a slower pace than the epic fantasy I was so keen about when I was younger, but a deeper literary appeal. Not to mislead, there is some action, but it comes second to the characters and the meaning of the story. As a kid, I probably would have wanted more boom, but my older reading tastes really enjoyed the masterful unfolding of this story.The main character is a unicorn, and she hears an unsettling rumor - is she really the last living unicorn? - that propels her on a journey that alters her life forever. Early on in her search she is imprisoned by a woman with almost enough magic to hold her prisoner. In the traveling caravan that keeps her hostage, she meets the magician, Schmendrick the Magician, who is an inept magic weaver with sparks of brilliance. He has no delusions about his failings, and has grown increasingly bitter, having been told that he has great power in him which he has no idea how to unlock; even worse, he will never age until he comes in to his own in his craft. While attempting to free the unicorn from her prison, one of those sparks of true magic of his, completely out of his control, causes all hell to break loose, and creates enough of a distraction to allow the two to make their escape, together. They become uneasy allies as they make their way to King Haggard's castle, the supposed last resting place of all unicorns. Some fantasies are all about the epic journeys and magical encounters, some are about sword play and elves, some are urban settings filled with overlooked magic - actually, the variety is too immense these days to undertake in a single book review. This book is one of the sub genres that I find harder to describe. Some writers of fantasy possess the power to use words in such a way that it evokes the mystical and intangible quality of magic itself, it wraps your mind in a world outside the common world. Beagle's story has touches of that, although it is not as esoteric as some other authors that I have read, and even more, he captures the innocence and power of magic that one feels in childhood when you're reading fairy tales or nursery rhymes. At the same time, he is clearly meddling with old fantasy tropes, with a lot moments that are ironic or satirical. He manages to carry off the seriousness of his message and his characters' feelings, while still undercutting that very world with tongue-in-cheek humor.Clearly, this story left a strong impression on me, as I found it a gripping story with masterful writing, a definite milestone in the contribution to fantasy literature. The novel is also highly readable, a lot of fun, and full of whimsy. I'm glad that I read it at last.
booksandwine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In prepping for Unicorns Vs. Zombies Week, which was a long time in the making, I had taken it upon myself to make a list of books to read featuring unicorns. Of course, The Last Unicorn topped the list. Seriously, I cannot think about unicorns without thinking about this book. And no, the unicorn in this book is not bloodthirsty. Although I had made up my mind earlier to be Team Unicorn, I think had I been on the fence, this book would definitely have pushed me onto Team Unicorn.The Last Unicorn is a truly beautiful, breathtaking book. It is very short, but quite a bit is packed into those pages. We open with a unicorn walking through the forest she protects. She overhears some hunters talking about how they can never kill anything in the forest, because it is protected by the unicorn. The hunters go on to state how there are no other unicorns left in the world. The unicorn then takes it upon herself to discover just what happened to the other unicorns. Along the way adventures are had, friends are made, evil is faced, yet good is also discovered.You know that feeling you get when reading a fairy tale and you have the perfect narrator? I got while reading The Last Unicorn. I felt like magic could be real. Of course, my emotions ran the gamut. At times I felt melancholy. I was not really sure what I wanted for the unicorn, as she had to make this hard decision, but if you read the book or have seen the movie, you'll know what I mean.The Last Unicorn is a simple tale. I am sure that there is a deeper meaning, however, I haven't really figured it out. That's okay though, we can't all be brilliant at uncovering the underlying message. What I did enjoy was how imaginative the book was. I could picture everything as I was reading it. However, maybe that is due to seeing the movie in childhood. Or maybe I could attribute it to Beagle's writing. His prose is gorgeous. It is never too flowery, but still retains beauty.The Last Unicorn is definitely a fantasy classic. It absolutely had me craving more fantasy, and I could see why the brilliant Patrick Rothfuss said it was one of his favorite books.Here are a few quotes which made my spirit sing:"I know exactly how you feel," Schmendrick said eagerly. The unicorn looked at him out of dark, endless eyes, and he smiled nervously and looked at his hands. "It's a rare man who is taken for what he truly is," he said. "There is much misjudgement in the world....we are not always what we seem, and hardly ever what we dream." pg. 29-30"Men have to have heroes, but no man can ever be as big as that need, and so a legend grows around a grain of truth, like a pearl." pg. 64
Shmuel510 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The prose is nice, and I confess I have a soft spot for the bandit who wants above all else to be immortalized in verse, but I have issues with books where things happen because they were fated to happen that way, even though there's otherwise no discernible reason why they should. This is such a book. (And it's a pity, because it didn't have to be that way. For much of the way, I thought it might not be.)That Beagle actually named a character "Schmendrick the Magician" without any apparent ironic intent didn't help any, either.
JudithProctor on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a book that I read after seeing it in the library of a friend on Library Thing (It was virtually the only book that she'd actually given a rating to. I was curious.It's 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.
Cecrow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fantasy classic for the simplicity of a story that simultaneously conveys so many truths. I read this novel to my young son as a bedtime story, and he enjoyed it as such. But there are many quiet lessons in these pages that include the taking command of one's fate (Molly), the link between heroics and self-sacrifice (Prince Lir), compassion as the path to unlocking one's ability (Schemdrick), and facing one's fears and cynicism (the red bull) in order to defeat them. Viewing the novel as allegory, the unicorn must represent a generic ultimate ideal - something desirable that can never be obtained but must always be sought for. "I've never really understood ... what you dream of doing with me once you've caught me," the unicorn says in the opening chapter. Later we see the doomed results of attempting to make her a captive, and that it must always lead to ruin. An ideal only possesses magic so long as it is allowed to run wild and remain always just ahead of us as our guide. Idealism needn't mean naiveté: "Would you call this age a good one for unicorns?" says a man. "No, but I wonder if any man before us ever thought his time a good time for unicorns," his companion answers. I am glad there are still unicorns in the world.