The Last Unicorn: The Lost Journey
By Peter S. Beagle
Author Website: peterbeagle(.)com
Peter S. Beagle first imagined his beloved unicorn at the age of twenty-three, five years before she would spring fully-realized into the world. Now, alongside Beagle’s wry musings upon his early writing career, is the rediscovered origin story of fantasy’s most famous unicorn. Within this eighty-five page genesis of The Last Unicorn, the equine heroine encounters a cranky dragon, a chatty butterfly, and an exiled demon with a split personality. Discover a might-have-been journey, appealingly familiar yet wonderfully strange, lyrical and whimsical by turns. Somewhere in-between the modern and mythological, lies the first path of the Last Unicorn on a road less traveled by…until now. (Goodreads)
The unicorn has spent too long in her forest without seeing other unicorns come and go. Her only companions are the animals who are born within the forest, breed there, die, are born again, breed, and die again. She doesn’t mind being the only unicorn in miles in the forest. After all, unicorns are rarely in each others company. Then a dragon appears in the unicorn’s forest, she is ready to fight the dragon and defend her home.
“Nothing in her long life prepared her to deal with a weeping dragon.”
But the dragon she encounters is not scary and ferocious as she remembers them to be. This dragon is in pain and has news for the unicorn that she didn’t expect. The unicorn is the first unicorn the dragon has seen in a long time. In fact, he thought there were no more unicorns alive.
In Peter S. Beagle’s latest book The Last Unicorn: The Lost Journey, the unicorn we love and know has come to the realization that there might not be anymore unicorns in this world. When she encounters the weeping dragon, he delivers news of the new world created outside of her forest by modern humans. There’s no more dirt roads, only iron ones, there are coaches with lights that humans ride, there is electricity, telephones and technology beyond her imagination. That world that she once knew has changed. There are no more princes that protect cities and with this knowledge she sets off in a journey to find what happened to the unicorns.
“The road to your forest is made of black iron, and on it, all day and all night, the coaches run and roar, and flash yellow lights till they drive you mad, and yell like sea-demons. They’re bigger than I am, some of them, and they run faster than you ever dreamed of running.”
Throughout her journey she finds a butterfly who may possibly give her information about the unicorns whereabouts. During this time the unicorn encounters a child that can see and speak with her but can’t help her in her journey. She comes across other humans but they are nothing of what humans used to be. They don’t recognize her as a unicorn and call her a mare. At one point, the unicorn finds a demon by the name of Azazel who is accompanied by a smaller demon, Webster. The unicorn, followed by the demons, sets off to find if she is indeed the last of her kind and how much the world has changed during her absence, encountering more humans and demons along the way.
“The unicorn had a moment to notice that the girl, like the demon, cast no shadow under the red sun-and then the girl was gone, glitter and all, vanished between one step and another as completely as a note of music.”
This was a very beautifully written book. From start to end the reader gets fantasy references that bring back memories from our childhood fantasy books, stories, and tales. When the unicorn finds the dragon it is sad to hear how much the world has changed and even his own kind is disappearing. I liked that this book also makes references to modern day technology and devices. The story is first set in the unicorn’s forest and the reader doesn’t notice the time change until the unicorn begins her journey. The reader learns of the changes along with the unicorn.
The characters were all amazing and had great quotes. We have the unicorn, the dragon, the butterfly, the human child with great insight, the human couple of an example of humans nowadays, Azazel, Webster, and even a mention of the Red Bull among others. I really liked this book and it made me remember why I like fantasy novels and why the Last Unicorn story is one of my favorites not to mention Beagle’s writing. You know it’s a good book when you go around telling people about it! If you like fantasy books, The Last Unicorn: The Lost Journey is the book for you.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*