Review: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

January 21, 2015 5 stars, Book Review 25 ★★★★★

Review: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. BeagleThe Last Unicorn Published by Roc Genres: Adult SFF, Fantasy
Pages: 294
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
The unicorn wants to find other unicorns. Mage Schmendrick, whose magic seldom works, never as he intendsed, rescues unicorn from Mommy Fortuna's Midnight Carnival. Only some mythical beasts displayed are illusions. Molly Grue believes in legends despite Robin Hood wannabe and his unmerry men. King Haggard and his Bull banish unicorns into sea.

Oh magic fairytale…

If there is any story I’ve held close to my heart my whole life it is The Last Unicorn. This is because I started chain watching the cartoon before I could even speak. So why is it that I’ve waited 30 years to read the book it was based on? I haven’t the faintest idea. I can tell you that this is a classic work of fantasy fiction that every reader should take part in. Especially if you watched the film as a child.

This book has it all and a bag of chips

From Wizards, Unicorns, raging beasts, evil hag witches, a traveling circus, blackmailing politicians and roving brigands – there are so many small details that make up this amazing book. Not only that but I found it to be this quirky mix of satire and seriousness that was absolutely perfect – or at least for my oddball sense of humor it was.

The Last Unicorn DVDOn the matter of Book vs Film vs Graphic Novel

I personally already had a set idea of how the book was going to be because hey I’d grown up watching the cartoon right. So I was so surprised when I read the book to find not only did the film manage to stay true to the book but they both had an entirely different tone and personality while still being the same story. How ever is that possible Batman!!?

Well I always thought the film was more on the serious side. I was actually pretty surprised as I got older that my parents let me watch it so young, and binge watch it no less. Because the themes are stronger then your typical cartoon. There is a quest, capture, partial nudity, sadness, a raging bull and romance. The overall tone and theme of the story seems like one that I wouldn’t have expected very young children to latch onto – but I did – go me. All of the characters in the cartoon are much more serious then they are in the book. In the book you can see the satire elements more strongly. I was also able to catch the little things in the dialogue that I never noticed before like “have a taco” and “I’ll write you a reference.” Things like that which slipped by me until I read them in print.

The Last Unicorn GNSo while the book felt lighter and more on the satire side as compared to the seriousness of the film the graphic novel seems to bridge the gap between those. I have to say I love each one because it gave me a different way to experience the same story that I loved.

The Last Unicorn GNCEI absolutely cannot recommend this book, graphic novel and film enough. I still to this day watch the film a few times a year even if its only just playing in the background. I also listen to the soundtrack on a regular basis because it is a really beautiful one.

Recently I was lucky enough to meet the author because he has been traveling around the country on tour with the movie. It was so amazing to see the film on the big screen and get to listen to the Q&A with the author, his manager and all of the audience. I even learned that the film was made by an anime studio that was later absorbed into what was to become Studio Ghibli! Isn’t that fascinating!? I always did think that The Last Unicorn and the Princess Monoke unicorn looked oh so reminiscent of eachother. There are also rumors that the book is going to be remade into a live action film. Won’t that be amazing if it is?! Anyways if you’re a fantasy lover you absolutely must enjoy this story in all its forms!


Tabitha and Peter S Beagle

Oh and check out some of the awesome covers this book has had over the years! Because you know it was originally published in 1968!

Last Unicorn Covers

On a super cool note – I just noticed the cartoon is on sale right now for $4.82 on Amazon!


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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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25 Responses to “Review: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle”

  1. Rhissanna

    Oh my gosh, that’s PETER BEAGLE! The school librarian recommended The Last Unicorn to me when I was about 13 years old and the story has stayed with me since then. I read it every year, I think I’m on my fifth copy of the book. Molly Grue is my Mary Sue! The school had a first edition, with a cover that was reminiscent of a medieval engraving, and I’ve never seen it on any other copy, nor been able to find it on-line. I didn’t see the film until I was quite grown up and, although Peter Beagle wrote the lyrics for the songs, I rather missed the slightly tart tone of some of the poems in the book. I’m so glad you’ve reviewed the book and film, and delighted for you that you got to meet him in person.

    • Tabitha (Not Yet Read)

      That is so marvelous that you read it every year. It’s my favorite cartoon. I stayed watching it when I was 1 or 2 years old.

      Actually Peter Beagle didn’t write the songs in the movie. I love that soundtrack so I asked him how much he had to do with the music in the movie and he said that he didn’t do any of the lyric writing. A song writer and the band were hired to do that. I recorded some of the Q&A from that night I’ll have to see if it’s decent enough to load to YouTube.
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  2. Lola

    I watched the movie as a kid and I really liked it even though I thought it was a bit scray as well because of the bull. I rewatched the movie two years ago I think and it wasn’t as good as I reembered and it had lots of plot holes, so I decided I wanted to read the book. I own a copy of the book, but haven’t read it yet. Your review makes me even more looking forward to reading it.
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  3. Chrystal

    I can’t believe you got to meet him.

    I love The Last Unicorn in both print and movie formats and I agree that the film stayed true to the book, but had it’s own flare. I just read the book for the first time last year and I plan to watch the movie again shortly as I own it on DVD. I also enjoyed the graphic novel.

    I really hope they make the live action version.
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  4. Lynn

    Okay, then, *adds another book to the wish list!*
    Seriously, everyone I know (who I trust with book recommendations that is!) seems to love this book so exactly what am I waiting for.
    That’s a gorgeous picture and just look at all the book covers. I’m in book cover ecstasy right now!!
    Lynn 😀
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