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The Last Unicorn

(The Last Unicorn #1)

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4.15  ·  Rating details ·  96,967 ratings  ·  4,489 reviews
alternate cover edition of ISBN 0451450523 / 9780451450524

The Last Unicorn is one of the true classics of fantasy, ranking with Tolkien's The Hobbit, Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy, and Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Beagle writes a shimmering prose-poetry, the voice of fairy tales and childhood:

The unicorn lived in a lilac wood, and she lived all alone. She was very ol
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Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 1st 1991 by Ace (first published 1968)
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SuZanne Yes, absolutely. I gave it to my mother who does not normally read fantasy and she loved it.
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 o…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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Average rating 4.15  · 
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
All the stars!

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Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Peter S. Beagle’s classic The Last Unicorn turns fifty years old this year, and it’s remained in the public eye and continues to capture hearts like very few fantasies of its age. Like a fine tapestry, this gorgeous fairy tale weaves together unicorns and harpies, wizards and witches, dark-hearted kings and brave heroes. Its lyrical language is embellished with whimsical humor and given heft by bittersweet life lessons.

A shy unicorn
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unknown
I shall write a real review but right now I can only think of one way this book could be any better.

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Tara
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 little book.
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seak
Apr 28, 2010 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
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Robin Hobb
Feb 24, 2013 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
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Kalin
Jan 04, 2008 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
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Chantal
“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 nov
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Mayim de Vries
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Who has choices need not choose.
We must, who have none.
We can love but what we lose -
What is gone is gone.”


The main problem with mythical beasts is that they are so mythical they become their own cliches. Dragons have been their own ultimate victims. The same can be said about mermaids, elves, and, of course, unicorns. And yet, Mr Beagle, offers us a unicorn that is unlike anything you could expect: alluring yet strange, beautiful enough to make you cry but at the same time beautiful so much
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Spencer Orey
Sep 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is still so good. Everything is both perfect and too much and perfect in its too muchness. The words, the characters, the joking fairy tale of a story. This is one of those books where I can feel the language in my body. It's all just dazzling.

I remembered the story less than I had thought, even though my last re-read wasn't all that long ago. Somehow, I had forgotten the entire episode in the forest with the group of bandits who desperately want to be like Robin Hood but keep failing miser
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Bradley
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-shelf, fantasy
This is for all the fans of Red Bull! Sure, I feel a little haggard after drinking the damn stuff, and it also makes you blind and contributes toward a murderous rage toward all unicorns, but the drink does grow on you! It's just a shame that it makes all the little girls cry. *sigh*

That being said the novel itself is a rather wonderful and clear and a perfect example of a self-aware fairy-tale. The fact that it stays simple and strong is a testament to its great writing.

Better than that, howe
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Whitney Atkinson
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
You know what? I give up! I've been reading this for over two months and every time I picked it up I was so bored and confused. Maybe one day I'll go back and read it in a shorter time span, but idk. The writing was gorgeous and the metaphors were nice, but I couldn't connect to the story at all, there wasn't enough of the unicorn, and it was just strange.

It had this quality to it that was like The Little Prince where there seems like there will be some deeper, darker message concealed with a lo
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Allison
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
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Jason Koivu
Feb 01, 2012 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..
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Rebecca McNutt
The Last Unicorn is one of the first large animated fantasy films I ever watched as a child (my parents weren't big on Disney), and one of the most beautiful and yet simultaneously tragic stories I've ever heard, still today. Tearing down conventional fantasy tropes and built mostly of bittersweet moments which are neither entirely happy nor sad, in spite of often being marketed as a children's story, I think it's really universal. The Unicorn herself is vain, not particularly compassionate or w ...more
Stephen
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!!!
Carolyn
This book will celebrate it's 50th anniversary next year so I'm glad I finally got round to reading it. It is a charming classic that has stood the test of time well, even though a great deal of good fantasy has been published since it first appeared. It's message that we should learn to lead our lives well is just as relevant today.
The characters are quirky and funny. I loved the bumbling magician Schmendrick, who has yet to find his true magic as well as the hero Prince Lir, always off doing
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Mariel
Mar 23, 2011 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
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Children's)
Shelves: fantasy, 501, childrens
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.

H
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Paul Bryant
Sep 25, 2007 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.
Fran
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book is written as a fairy tale but with a twist, as it's set in a fully realized but slightly satirical as much as whimsical fantasy world that has inspired everything from The Princess Bride to Stardust. And i love it!

Beagle’s story is a romantic fable about a unicorn who leaves the forest she has protected since time immemorial to find more of her kin. Having never left her forest, the unicorn is surprised by the changes in the world but there's no unicorn sightings anywhere. She keeps g
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Maralee
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Not the ending I thought it would be! Beautiful.
Trish
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first encounter I had with The Last Unicorn was as a child (how fitting) when my step-dad introduced me to the movie. I remember falling in love with the art and the music and I've watched the movie once every year ever since.

Then, a while later, I got the book and read it (the German translation). It was very good and different from the movie in some places (for example, the story of the curse and the village before Haggard's castle). But for the longest time, it was usually me and the movi
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Mona
Aug 14, 2007 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
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Dan Schwent
Mar 12, 2008 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'
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RJ from the LBC
Mar 28, 2016 rated it liked it
This story about the last unicorn and her quest to find out what happened to all the other unicorns has become one of the most popular stand-alone fantasy novels of the last 50 years or so. What may have appealed to the hippies/baby-boomer generation as a witty parody of fantasy tropes (stickin' it to the man!) seems morose and melancholy in the modern age, and there are times the plot slows down enough that you might need to crack open a Red Bull (har!). Those who can't get enough unicorns may ...more
Ambertronic
Mar 17, 2008 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
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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.
Susan Budd
Jun 26, 2015 rated it liked it
I wanted to love The Last Unicorn. I expected to love it. I was enchanted by the first few pages and especially the first few sentences.

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” (1).

This opening passage combines fairy tale with poet
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Jeanette (Again)
"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
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2,211 followers
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

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