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Whisked Away on a Fantastical Journey: Reviving Unicorns in “The Last Unicorn”

book review

An immortal touch of fantasy wrapped in the hues of profound humanity, The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle is a timeless tale that bridges the gap between reality and enchantment. Much like Eden Phillpotts once said, “The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper” Beagle’s novel unfurls the potential of these magical things wrapped in the mature narration of stark emotions.


The story revolves around a solitary unicorn living in her enchanted lilac wood, who realizes that she may well be the last of her kind. This heart-rending revelation jumpstarts her journey across the lands, enticing various colourful characters like Schmendrick the magician and Molly Grue, their human attributes making them more relatable even within the magical tale Beagle narrates. The unicorn, the epitome of elegance and wisdom, transforms into a human girl by the name ‘Lady Amalthea’ shaping the story into a melancholic dance between love and loss, hope and despair. While on their quest to liberate the captured unicorns from the deranged King Haggard and his menacing Red Bull, they discover themselves and the depths of their desires at each point.

Notable Quotes:

“Great heroes need great sorrows and burdens, or half their greatness goes unnoticed. It is all part of the fairy tale.”

“Things must happen when it is time for them to happen. Quests may not simply be abandoned; prophecies may not be left to rot like unpicked fruit; unicorns may go unrescued for a very long time, but not forever.”


There is an undeniable simplicity encompassing the plot of “The Last Unicorn”, yet never undermining the intense exploration of human emotions through the prism of fantasy. Beagle possesses the art of subtlety, carefully unveiling layers of each character, their desires, their fears, and their unmistakable humanity, proving that it is not just a children’s fairy tale but a fable for all ages. This book is an amalgam of a gripping plot, unexpected metaphysics, and a poetic style of writing, garnishing this seemingly simple tale with philosophy and wit. If I was to nitpick, I might say that at times the narrative felt a tad patchy, but the depth of the story quickly smoothes over those tiny hiccups. Readers, be ready for a sweet melancholy aftertaste; perfect for those nights when you’d like to lose yourself to a fantastical journey, it’s a book that would require a different perspective every time you pick it back up.



Author Bio

Peter Soyer Beagle is an American novelist and screenwriter, especially known for writing fantasy. Best-known for his classic “The Last Unicorn”, Beagle won the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement and the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.


Q1. The unicorn turned into a human girl named Lady Amalthea. What does this signify?
Q2. Do you think the author effectively used fantasy elements to explore profound human emotions?
Q3. Discuss the significance of the character Schmendrick in the story?

Where to Buy

For all the fantasy-lovers looking to lose themselves in a world seamlessly merging with our reality, you can find The Last Unicorn on Amazon.

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