Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Review | The Last Unicorn By: Peter S Beagle


The Last Unicorn 
By:  Peter S Beagle

Was like drifting on a cloud up in he sky looking down on a magical kingdom through a fog without being able to get a clear view but metaphors only.  This was like this, but not quite like that.  It is beautifully written and poetic.  And I would like to emphasize poetic.  The story is like a giant poem.  He has very insightful and witty pro’s that made me giggle.  But as beautiful as his writing was, and it was absolutely gorgeous, I never truly came to care for the characters to the same level I would expect in my reading.   

This book is meant to be read as viewing a magical mystical world that one will never get to touch or fully understand.  And because we can’t understand it, we are unable to grasp it in the palm of our hands.  It’s like trying to hold onto a fistful of water.  It can’t be done.

The story told is of a journey that the last unicorn takes in trying to discover what has become of her kind.  She travels through lands that she doesn’t understand because all that she knows is her own forest.  She gets trapped and caged in carnival were she meets a magician who can’t quite master his own magic. Schmendrick, the magician, has had a curse placed upon him.   When he is able to master the magic only then will he bet set free into the sands of time, until then he does not age.  Schemendrick sets the Unicorn free from the carnival and negotiates his reward as the privilege to travel with her.   Upon their travels they eventually meet bandits, were the third member of their party, Moly, is acquired.  Moly is older in her life and sad that she was not able to meet the unicorn when she was a young maid.  They then continue their quest together for the Red Bull, the creature rumored to have destroyed the Unicorn.  Their road leads to King Haggard and his curse. 

The book was originally published in 1968 and that would explain the obscurity of the writing.  What was popular/publishable then might not be so now.  Our current trend for fantasy is much grittier and less mystical.  This is truly beautiful work, and will transcend time, however you must realize what it is that you will be reading and be in the right mind frame for it.  Be able to float along and forget reality.   

 

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