Review of The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. The Last Unicorn is an young adult fantasy classic that plays with fairytale story structure, metafictional elements and is quite weird and melancholy
My review of The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
The Last Unicorn was strange and had some very metafictional moments where the characters – especially the magician breaks the fourth wall. At the same time it is a really beautiful writtens story. The mood is so melancholy. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in literature – fantasy fan or not. It is a good story, entertaining and very well written.
My review from 2013 of The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
I just finished reading The Last Unicorn today. I hurried up and finished it because I have recommended it to a friend and she is coming by tomorrow so I wanted to make sure I had finished reading it.
I really really enjoyed the first third of the book. It was really beautiful and it kept my interest by playing with the tropes of fairy tales. It has the mood if not the structure of a real fairytale – not the kind made by Disney and other modern children storytellers. It is quite dark in part and the mood is a overall quite weird and melancholy. The story is beautifully written and there are funny parts in there as well.
However I did not care for the middle part of the story. The unicorn and her companions run into some stupid Robin Hood wanna-bees and the next part of the story is just kind of slow and doesn’t really lead anywhere. It could easily have been cut out in my opinion – but then again I am not 12 years old anymore – it might be entertaining if you read it at the right age. There is also a lot of songs in this part of the book – in that way of older fantasy books. I am not musical enough to make up my own melodies for these in my head so they mostly just seem like slightly boring poetry to me, but I am not good with poetry anyway.
I think the story picked up again towards the last third of the book when they are at the castle. The story draws together and you can see that the climax is coming soon. And the ending is not to easy but satisfying at the same time. There is kind of a happily ever after, but again not in the way of Disney’s stories.
There are parts of the book that are wonderfully metafictional. I found all of those really enjoyable and the fact that it was the magician that said them all was very fitting.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in literature – fantasy fan or not. It is a good story, entertaining and very well written. If the middle part had been more solid it would have been a five star book, but as it is it get four stars.
The stats: The Last Unicorn
Published: 1968 by Viking Press, 2008 by Penguin
Pages: 294 pages
Status: October 13 – 20 2013
This review was originally posted: October 20, 2013. Updated and edited June 29, 2023