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The Last Unicorn (The Last Unicorn #1)

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  74,541 Ratings  ·  2,834 Reviews
She was magical, beautiful beyond belief -- and completely alone...

The unicorn had lived since before memory in a forest where death could touch nothing. Maidens who caught a glimpse of her glory were blessed by enchantment they would never forget. But outside her wondrous realm, dark whispers and rumors carried a message she could not ignore: "Unicorns are gone from the w
Paperback, 212 pages
Published 1991 by ROC Fantasy/Penguin Books (first published 1968)
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Kelly There are two versions. The graphic novel version (ISBN-13: 978-1631401275) has Peter B Gillis listed as an author. The newest Kindle Deluxe Edition…moreThere are two versions. The graphic novel version (ISBN-13: 978-1631401275) has Peter B Gillis listed as an author. The newest Kindle Deluxe Edition of the non-graphic novel version is good as it includes the sequel novelette "Two Hearts" and an interview with Peter S. Beagle.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I shall write a real review but right now I can only think of one way this book could be any better.

it's a real shame that as i was giving this book five stars i could hear in my head some of the many people whose opinions i don't ask for going "oh, that tara, she's so spacey and mock-able. ha!" if they saw it, and then i think, well.. let's be sweet anyway. so last night my dad and i were watching the jimmy carter documentary and were all "oh, he is so awesome". then the dvd player started acting up. i grabbed another disc and put it in to see where the problem lay, and the dvd was The Last U ...more
mark monday
so i set the mood for rereading The Last Unicorn by putting together a nifty mix of woodstock era classics, heavily featuring the likes of jethro tull & canned heat & richie havens & a lot of early pink floyd. i put on my comfy clothes. i brewed some tea. i picked my sunniest room and my cat - sensing my mood - snuggled in close. however, i did not smoke any weed. perhaps this was my mistake? nonetheless, the mood was definitely set and the enjoyment swiftly commenced.

this is a nice
Feb 19, 2012 seak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I'll get straight to the point on this, read it, read it now. The Last Unicorn (1968) is a classic and not without reason.

The third-person narrative centers on a unicorn who, believing she is the last of her kind in the world, sets off on a journey to discover what has happened to the others. She encounters a host of diverse characters as her journey progresses, each of them bringing her closer to her goal. (Wikipedia)

I thought I'd do this review a bit different than my normal routine and just l
“We are not always what we seem, and hardly ever what we dream.”

In my mind, the movie The Last Unicorn will forever be known as the first and so far only book, movie or TV show to ever give me nightmares. I think I saw the film for the first time when I was about 5 or 6 and I remember being completely entranced by it. It immediately became one of my favourite movies, despite the fact that I couldn’t sleep for a week after seeing it for the first time. I never realised it was originally a novel
Jason Koivu
Sep 21, 2015 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
Wonderful story that I read waaay too late in the game!

The Last Unicorn is a great quest novel with a driven character in search of the most sympathetic of causes, to find out if she is the last of her kind. It's filled with a bevy of almost Alice-in-Wonderland-interesting side characters...although I could've done without the names, especially Schmendrick, the bumbling wizard. Come on.

Honestly, that last point is what holds this back from being a truly great classic in my eyes. Let me explain..
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 16, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Children's)
Shelves: 501, childrens, fantasy
Magical. One of the best children's fantasy books that I've ever read. The prose is as enchanting as the unicorn. Everytime the unicorn appears, thinks and speaks, I am thrown out of this world. Peter Beagle (born 1939) is a scintillating American author and he's got a equally dazzling character to mark his place in this literary world - none other than what people say as a legendary yet fictional animal, the most important imaginary animal of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance - the unicorn.

Mar 23, 2011 Mariel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the science of dreams
Recommended to Mariel by: red bull gives you wings
Michel Gondry has a theory that when we sleep our bodies, minds, souls, heart (whatever else there might be) are opened up and when we awake we want to be close (and also explaining why people wake up horny). Like a kind of rebirth or cleansing of the day to day crap. (He puts it better than I do because he's Michel Gondry and I'm Mariel.) I dislike to be touched. I don't wake up craving physical connections like that. I'd rather wrap myself up in a cocoon. Preferably a bubble, that way I could ...more
I read this mainly because I've heard it's a fantasy classic, and felt I should. It was indeed magical, and read like a true fairytale with a unicorn and other mythical creatures, a noble prince with quests, a wizard, and an evil king. I can see why it's a classic.

I'm only giving it 3 stars, though, because the emotional connection and immediateness of more modern fantasy isn't there, and it felt like watching the story from afar. The characters definitely felt emotions. Intellectually, I know t
5.0 stars. WOW, why did it take me so long to get around to reading this extraordinary novel!! I actually only decided to read this now because one of my favorite authors, Patrick Rothfuss, mentioned that it was one of his favorite novels of all time. Well, I can certainly see why. This is fantasy at its best. Beautifully written, smart and full of heart. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!
Jan 22, 2016 Mona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mona by: Aerin
This book may fool you. It's not a once-upon-a-time tale, nor is it just for children. When I first picked up this book, all I knew about it was that a trusted friend - whose book recommendations have never led me astray - loved it. I was under the impression that it was for children, and even though I am a self-described kid at heart and stalwart defender of children's literature, I thought it would be a light read, devoid of any complexities. Well, I was wrong.

The story begins in the lilac woo
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I can see why this is such a fantasy classic. I was well-served to read it alongside other people, forced to read only a few chapters a week - this allowed me to notice more things and appreciate the small bits in a way I don't usually do. Besides having a decent story, Beagle has a good balance of quirky, humor, romance, and deep thoughts. Perfect for younger and older readers.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
"It cannot be an ill fortune to have loved a unicorn," he said. "Surely it must be the dearest luck of all, though the hardest earned."

"As for her, she is a story with no ending, happy or sad. She can never belong to anything mortal enough to want her."

What a weenie am I! I actually got all misty eyed near the end of this book. Really a sweet story filled with colorfully drawn characters and writing that engages all six of your senses.
I don't know why I never found this book when I was a young
Paul Bryant
Jan 31, 2012 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
The world shall not be free until the last unicorn is strangled with the guts of the last hobbit.
Aug 30, 2009 Ambertronic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I seriously wonder if Peter S. Beagle has Synesthesia. His choice of adjectives is beautiful and downright tasty. Sounds have color and texture, it's as if he was able to show people what it would be like to walk into a Van Gogh painting and live inside it.

His plot is not as it seems, at first appearing cliche (you may find yourself thinking "This is like the start of hundreds of fairy tales I've read as a kid") but you will be delightfully proven wrong. His characters are unique and experience
Dan Schwent
Oct 19, 2008 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Ursula LeGuin and/or Neil Gaiman
Shelves: fantasy
I've been hearing for years and years that The Last Unicorn is a must read for fantasy fans. It's true.

The Last Unicorn is the story of a unicorn living alone in a wood that finds out she's the last and goes searching for her people. Along the way, she meets a bumbling wizard named Schmendrick, a feisty woman named Molly, and eventually a layabout prince named Lir.

As with A Fine and Private Place, Beagle's writing is spotted with humor. I can see his influence in Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett'
Robin Hobb
Mar 13, 2014 Robin Hobb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the first satisfying fantasy reads that I found after The Lord of the Rings. I read it when I came home from my first year of college, in 1970. For a long time, I felt like I was the only person who had read this book. Then, slowly, slowly, the recognition for it began to grow. The movie came out, so wondrously tied to the book (and well it should be: the author wrote the screenplay) and I loved it almost as much as the book.

All these years later, it is a pleasure to see it gaini
Having just finished reading The Last Unicorn, I'm not at all sure what to say about it, or how I feel about it. I felt vaguely enchanted by it -- not in the sense of it being twee and sweet and Disney, but in the sense of it having a hold over me. I loved the writing, the richness of it, the strange and new descriptions, e.g. "the air hung shiny as candy" -- things that don't quite make logical sense, and yet, you know what they mean.

I loved the fairytale qualities interspersed with bits of hum
Oliviu Craznic
O carte absolut superbă într-o traducere absolut superbă (varianta din 1977, în traducerea lui Mircea Ivănescu, Ed. Univers).

„Căutând să nu ne facem nici un dușman, tocmai bine ne-am câștigat acum doi.”

„Nu cred ce spune cântecul. Cred că iubirea e mai tare decât firea sau împrejurările. Cred că e cu putință să te păstrezi pentru cineva multă vreme, și să-ți aduci aminte ce anume așteptai atunci când ea vine, în sfârșit. Aș vrea să intru în somnul tău și să te păzesc acolo - dar
Mathew Babaoye
Jan 25, 2016 Mathew Babaoye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my early fantasy favorites as a child, which would later indirectly influence the writing of my fantasy/fae/myth novel "Nightglory". A full review will be posted later in 2016.
Apr 07, 2016 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, faerie-tales
The Last Unicorn is a unique work among works of fantasy. It stands out in many ways from modern fantasy novels and is hard to pigeonhole into a specific subgenre. It’s definitely not the more action packed, dark and bloody style of sword & sorcery, nor is it really high fantasy. In some ways it has more in common with a fairy tale than modern fantasy, or at least a mix between the two, and in that way relates more to earlier works of fantasy, when it was in its infancy, works like Lord Duns ...more
Nov 18, 2011 Terry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
2.5 - 3 stars

Another read for the the Tolkien Professor’s Faerie & Fantasy podcast seminar.

This book gets a *lot* of love on Goodreads, and I kind of see where people are coming from, but I have to admit that I didn’t have quite the same rapturous experience of this book as most. Don’t get me wrong, Beagle definitely has a way with words. His descriptive prose is very evocative and there are some moments of real lyricism here, but overall I think he did himself a disservice in a major eleme
Dec 01, 2010 Kitty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has haunted me ever since I first finished it years, and years ago. I'll be driving down the freeway and the slant of sunlight off of a trucks rear window will suddenly remind me of a line in one of these chapters and a fever will grab hold of me all of a sudden and it won't be quelled until I get home and reread that passage, which turns into rereading that chapter which turns into rereading this book. I'm not safe anywhere, I was sick to death recently and the first thing I reached f ...more
Mar 28, 2010 Lowed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Melancholy peppered with loveable characters, added with prose better than Tolkien! Wheew!

Some of you might disagree, but as you read this book, you live with every word of it! You could taste and feel the coldness of Haggard's keep, and know how every characters emotion at a given situation in a given time.

The writing is really emotional, I think this was page three:

"Who knows? Times change. Would you call this age a good one for unicorns?"

"No, but I wonder if any man before us ever thought his
Kimberley doruyter
i remember watching that animated movie as a kid and loving it the end always made me cry.
turns out so does the book.
Apr 29, 2009 Hilary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Twitch, Sean,
Recommended to Hilary by: Jackie
Shelves: fiction, fantasy, own, 2009
The Last Unicorn is quite possibly the most beautiful book ever written. The story it tells is of a quest undertaken by the last unicorn, Molly Grue, and Schmendrik the Magician to save the unicorns from the Red Bull of King Haggard. What appears at first glance to be a traditional fantasy tale winds up being far more. The Magician is the last of his own kind, however, he is also completely incompetent in his art and wishes nothing more than to find his magic so that he may be mortal and die. Mo ...more
Tiffany Reisz
Jan 30, 2016 Tiffany Reisz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classics are classics for a reason.

Molly Grue is the truest fictional character ever written. She's more magical than even the unicorn and the wizard combined.
Mar 04, 2015 Kalin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Unicorn, along with Ende's Neverending Story and Zindell's Requiem for Homo Sapiens , has made me what I am.

It has been there for me to shine and shiver with its seashell light even in the deepest night. It has been there to remind me that great heroes need great sorrows and burdens, otherwise half their greatness goes unnoticed. That you can't make real magic by offering up someone else's liver; you must tear out your own. (And not expect to get it back, aye.) It's been a song and a com
Mike (the Paladin)
Read it for itself. A classic of it's type.

I found this a "mildly interesting" book. It never pulled me in yet it was interesting enough that I stayed with it. It's sort of like a weak tea, drinkable but not something I'm overly pleased with.
I recently re-read this book as part of a group read. I've always loved it, but this is one of those books that you only realized how much you love it when you read again.

Beagle's writing is prose-poetry. This book is also one of the few books that was adapted to film very well.

In case you don't know, The Last Unicorn is about a unicorn who goes on quest to discover what happened to the rest of her kind. She meets a wizard and a woman who add her. On the way, she learns some un-unicorn like tra
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Peter Soyer Beagle (born April 20, 1939) is an American fantasist and author of novels, nonfiction, and screenplays. He is also a talented guitarist and folk singer. He wrote his first novel, A Fine and Private Place , when he was only 19 years old. Today he is best known as the author of The Last Unicorn, which routinely polls as one of the top ten fantasy novels of all time, and at least two of ...more
More about Peter S. Beagle...

Other Books in the Series

The Last Unicorn (3 books)
  • Two Hearts (The Last Unicorn, #1.5)
  • The Last Unicorn: The Lost Version  (The Last Unicorn)

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“Great heroes need great sorrows and burdens, or half their greatness goes unnoticed. It is all part of the fairy tale.” 2563 likes
“Real magic can never be made by offering someone else's liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back.” 536 likes
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