Peter S. Beagle – The Last Unicorn

  Author: Peter S. Beagle
Title: The Last Unicorn
Date read: 17 December to 21 December
Published: 1968
Publisher: Penguin
Length: 212 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Why I picked it up: Favourite of Neil Gaiman’s
Rating: 3 stars
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This book started off very promising…I even made a Goodreads update around page 50 professing how charming I found the tale to be. But this eventually tapers off and we are stuck with too many humans. If I’m going to read a story titled The Last Unicorn, I want it to be about the last unicorn, particularly when the story starts off that way. I missed the unicorn. But oh, how touching and bittersweet ~159-60 is (avoiding spoilers…). I was not expecting such a poignant scene! I felt as though I had been kicked in the chest by Prince Lir’s late actions, definitely was not expecting that either. And then, there was one particular paragraph that I found beautifully written: Molly imagines a scene from above, as though the characters within it were playthings. Very well written.

Despite a dramatic change in tone, I still mostly enjoyed this book. I found it so light and lovely and rather sweet at the beginning, but by the end the story had become so sombre and heavy – I doubt I’ve ever read a book that transformed so much and in such a small span of pages. I felt uneasy at the ‘darker’ mood of the latter half of the book, even though it really wasn’t all that dark – only so in comparison.