One of the first books I remember reading is a collection of fairy tales. Even before I could read, I remember staring at the illustrations and repeating to myself the tales I’d heard my mother read to me. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle is a tale in the vein of a fairy tale, with magical creatures, wizards, spells, a prince, and an evil king.
In a forest, an immortal unicorn lives peacefully, protecting the wood and its inhabitants. One day, however, she overhears the story of all the other unicorns vanishing from the world—she is the last. Her journey to discover what has happened to her fellow creatures takes her into danger, and into the company of an inept wizard and a rough kitchen servant. Can this trio defeat King Haggard, whose search for happiness has made him utterly uncaring about anyone else?
The story is written in a lyrical prose, and filled with quips that are like riddles (and lots of riddles as well). The style of writing creates a thoughtful, wonder-filled, and sometimes melancholy feel to the tale. The book is illustrated by black and white line drawings that reinforce this atmosphere. In 2011, a graphic novel adaption was released, full of luminous color illustrations that skillfully capture the same magical feel of the novel. If you are in the mood for a thoughtful fairy tale, check out The Last Unicorn in book or graphic novel format.
Review by staff member Josephine K.