The Last Unicorn

The Last Unicorn

4.7 81
by Peter S. Beagle, Mel Grant, Mel Grant

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The Last Unicorn is one of the great fantasy novels of the 20th Century. Since its publication in 1968 it has never been out of print, with 6 million-plus copies sold around the world, and it has been translated into more than 20 languages. The animated movie, version released in 1982, has been seen by hundreds of millions of people, and after 25 years is still…  See more details below


The Last Unicorn is one of the great fantasy novels of the 20th Century. Since its publication in 1968 it has never been out of print, with 6 million-plus copies sold around the world, and it has been translated into more than 20 languages. The animated movie, version released in 1982, has been seen by hundreds of millions of people, and after 25 years is still showing regularly on cable and satellite.

In 2005, author Peter S. Beagle finally returned to his classic characters—Shmendrick the Magician, Molly Grue, King Lir, and the unicorn herself – in a coda story called “Two Hearts.” Readers everywhere were thrilled, and “Two Hearts” went on to win the Hugo Award for Best Novelette of the Year.

This Deluxe Edition of The Last Unicorn brings the original classic tale and its extraordinary sequel together in one volume for the first time.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—A beloved story is now a graphic novel in this excellent adaptation. A unicorn leaves her forest home to find out if she is the last of her kind, befriending Schmendrick, a hapless magician, and Molly Grue, a bandit leader's runaway wife. These are vivid and lovable characters, and the story is filled with action, romance, and humor. Much of the original novel's lyrical language has been included, and readers will be eager to find out if the unicorn will give up her quest for love, or if any of Schmendrick's spells will ever turn out right. The legendary creature resembles the one in the film, but De Liz's artistic vision is original. This unicorn shimmers and glows, her mane framing her face with Art Nouveau-style tendrils. The illustrations are graceful and detailed, and inked in warm, glowing colors. This is a worthy successor to the classic novel and film.—Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Library Journal
Beagle's odd fable has collected millions of fans since its 1968 publication and is considered a fantasy classic. Fearing that she's the last of her kind, a unicorn—accompanied by an incompetent magician and the former girlfriend of a cowardly outlaw—journeys to free the other unicorns from evil King Haggard. It's a mashup of quest tales, heroic and otherwise, about seeking family (the Unicorn), love (Haggard's son, Prince Lir), power (Haggard), competence (Schmendrick the magician), and adventure (Molly). Yet beyond archetypes, the engaging characters carry the narrative, which becomes a quasi-Rorschach for readers to find in it what they will. Gillis and De Liz's adaptation succeeds with overall visual loveliness and striking design and coloring, although some details don't quite fit. The Unicorn, for example, seems too My Little Pony about the head, while her human persona, Amalthea, looks childishly dim-witted. But De Liz shines with the ornamentally grotesque Mommy Fortuna and her harpy. VERDICT Many fans of the story should enjoy this comics version, and new readers will find it an easygoing and beautiful read. Recommended for tweens and up.—M.C.

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
40th Anniversary Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.02(w) x 5.36(h) x 0.65(d)
Age Range:
15 - 17 Years

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The Last Unicorn 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 81 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This wonderful book will capture not only the younger generation but adults as well. It is far from just a story for little girls who love unicorns--although I was one such girl when I first read it. Reading it again as an adult, I still felt the same sense of wonder and awe. Beautifully written and also touched with some wry humor, The Last Unicorn is one of those books that you just don't forget.
Tobiyuki More than 1 year ago
One of the best books ever written. Everything fit perfectly in a way things are supposed to be in the unicorn's world. I first read it 10 years ago. It remains, to this point, one of my favorites of all time. Definitely worth buying.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle is about how a unicorn, who has lived alone in the woods for years, learns that she is the last unicorn on Earth. However, from page 1, it is stated that ¿Unicorns are immortal. It is their nature to live in one place,¿ so she knows that she cannot really be the last. Determined to find the rest of her kind, the unicorn sets out to free them from whatever has them all captive. Along the way she meets an inexperienced magician name Schemdrick and a woman called Molly, who join her in her quest. Their journey ultimately leads them to a forsaken land where they must fool an evil king and defeat a demon known as the Red Bull to find the unicorns. Overall, I found this book enjoyable and I believe it is one of the best fantasy books I have ever read. In this novel, many issues were mentioned. Perhaps one of the biggest is the strength of love, and how strong that really is. As you read, a lot of love interests develop, and some of the turn out good, others not so much. I, for the most part, agree with the author on all of this stuff. However, there was one thing on the issue of loyalty that I disagree with I think that if the Prince wanted to travel with Molly and Schmendrick he should¿ve been able to, instead of rebuilding the town. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. The Last Unicorn has a plot that is in every way unique and entertaining. I was able to relate to most of the characters, and I found all of them memorable. Even if you¿re not a big fantasy reader, like me, you will probably still like The Last Unicorn. This novel was very well-written, and is rightly called a fantasy classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found a bit of this elusive magic in this book. I do not agree with the reviewer who gave this book only one star. Did the idiot notice that he was the only one? He claimed it was only for children, but tell me how many children can read this book and experience and understand the pain of lost love, and unfulfilled dreams? Pain and triumph such as this are present throughout the story. I think it wonderful when a book is written with such imagination and magic, that it pulls you in. There are not many like that around. The Last Unicorn is a must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I happened to LOVE this BOOK and MOVIE! I'm a sophmore in high school and I love it! I grew up with the movie and I strongly believe! Yes, everyone is entitled to their own opion but mine is quite clear. You should read it. And if you don't like to read , rent it. Don't let this pass you by.It's like a door that opens a whole new world of magic. Wizards, Bandits, kings, unicorns, secerct doors. It's wonderful it really is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had a quickly-fading memory of a movie I had seen when I was six or seven years old, a movie about a unicorn that was wonderfully beautiful. That's all I remembered. Fortunately, I found this book and realized why it had made such an impression on me. It is still my favorite love story, a beautiful and tragic account of what it means to be a magical creature, and what it means to be a girl, and what it means to be in love. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a magical world and a reason to believe. Don't be fooled by appearances- it is just as much a children's book as 'Alice In Wonderland' or 'The Lord of the Rings', by which I mean that it's not a children's book at all, but rather something that requires the belief and the wonder of a child but is most rewarding for adults.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love love love this book! I remember vaguely as a kid watching the movie and loving it. So when I found it was a book, I was ecstatic.  Its a beautiful story that can be read time after time again. I recommend it to  everyone of my friends and family.
onlyminordetails More than 1 year ago
My Thoughts: I have heard so much about this story from people in real life and also many of the My Little Pony friends of mine on forums. It was one of those books I really wanted to get to, especially before I saw the movie, although I was tempted to watch the movie before reading it a few times. I am glad I read the book first though. I had a completely different vision going in to this one. I didn’t imagine the Magician and Molly and the other cast of characters. I thought it was going to be an animal journey, no humans, or at least, not that many. It was still interesting the way it progressed, and how the unicorn interacted with humans and animals. I loved the poetic writing and the lines that the unicorn said about life and reality, making everything come into focus, crystal clear. I was a little off put by the way it ended. Not that it wasn’t well done, because it was (it REALLY was), but I didn’t expect that. Or to be so torn by the departure of everyone, and the pain faced by each. It’s a mixed emotion. The Last Unicorn was inspiring and bizarre. I can see why it is beloved by so many. The story itself was a maze of brilliance and beauty. Peter S. Beagle created an amazing world and a timeless classic. Now to watch the movie. My Rating: Very good
EMMacCallum More than 1 year ago
“The Last Unicorn” is a true classic of its time. The imagination and riddles surrounding the unicorns and Red Bull are wonderfully panned out. The characters are much different than the cartoon (something I saw back when I was a kid and adored). In the book, Molly wasn’t quite so harsh or haggard, the unicorn’s actions are more understandable and Schmendrick isn’t quite the dweeb. The dialogue, however, can get a little carried away with itself and go nowhere for several pages. The book is very much like the cartoon as you can imagine, but it was good to get to know the story through my imagination rather than the television screen.
Patito_de_Hule More than 1 year ago
When a unicorn realizes that she may be the last remaining unicorn, she leaves her peaceful home on a quest to find out what happened to all her brothers and sisters. Along the way, she picks up bumbling magician seeking his talent and a dour cook looking for her lost innocence. The unicorn soon discovers that the world has changed since she last ventured out. Humans have lost their youthful innocence, and they are no longer able to see things as they truly are - humans have excelled in the art of deceiving themselves.  When I originally picked up this book, I'd expected a cute young adult tale, but never expected such depth. The Last Unicorn is a multi-layered allegory: about lost innocence, self-fulfilling prophecies, and self-deception. But these cynical themes aren't the main point. The main point is that only in fully understanding humans can the ethereal unicorns save themselves. Only by sacrificing a piece of their ineffable essence can they form a closer bond to humans. And this closer bond can lead humans to do wonderful things.  Yes, it is a Christian allegory by my interpretation. But I think it's amazing the way Beagle didn't just throw in a Christ Figure and be done with it....The allegory of Beagle's unicorn isn't uniquely Christian - it defies religious boundaries. It is a story of love and innocence that mixes cynicism and hope. Quite extraordinary! :) I was also a HUGE fan of the bumbling wizard Schmendrick who (in my opinion) was only fooling himself into believing he wasn't a capable wizard. He's like the Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz - just the fact that he wanted so badly to be a wizard made him into one. He could laugh at all the people who deceived themselves, as he unconsciously deceived his own self. He reminded me of myself when I'm in a glum mood thinking I'm not capable of anything when, of course, I'm quite capable if I'd stop expecting so little of myself. ;) This book was a good reminder to have faith in yourself and think about the consequences of your beliefs. :)
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dnth8cait More than 1 year ago
I first read this book as an eight year old. At a 27 year old it is still one of my favorites. My copy it an old one found on my mothers shelve, and it is never far from me. I love the female lead especially in a fantasy book as old as this one and the supporting characters enhance the story. The world is so bright in my mind. I recommend it to any fantasy reader of any age.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has become a classic and is a must for the believers at heart. If you were not a believer, the book will make you wonder, and it does cause you to yearn for that first sight of a Unicorn. Would we be able to recognise one or would we be more like the unbelievers and only see what we expect. This is a fabulous book for both young and old and I have not been without a copy since I first read it when it came out. This book is a fabulous read, and leaves you Yearning....... Al must have book for
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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PhoenixFalls More than 1 year ago
I have seen (and read) three types of fairytale fantasy published in the last century. The first is like Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles: it is clever at the expense of fairy tales, mocking (usually gently) the tropes of the genre, often through metafictional techniques. This type does little for me. The second is like most of Patricia McKillip's work: it takes those same tropes completely seriously and (if done well, as in McKillip's case) reminds us why the tropes exist in the first place, because they have width and depth and resonance. This is one of my favorite branches of fantasy. The third is the rarest, because it's the most difficult: it goes beyond the form of the fairytale and into archetypal territory, quite literally writing myth. The Last Unicorn is all three of these. That is probably fitting, given that it is one of the classics in the genre. Being three things at once, it left me with a sense of. . . unevenness, though to be fair that sense came only in retrospect; Beagle's prose is gorgeous and sure, and I devoured the book in two large gulps then wished there was more. Reading a random sampling of reviews online just highlighted the unevenness, though, because so many people seemed to be reading entirely different books. The first thread, the metafictional, humorous side of the novel, predictably worked least well for me, though it worked better than any of the other books of that type that I have read. All of the characters know they are in a fairytale, and they either accede to the needs of the tale or try to shape it to their own ends depending on their personalities. There is also a sprinkling of anachronisms, which I read as another metafictional device, but may just be a leftover from Beagle's original vision of the story, which was set in modern times. What made this thread work better for me than those books who rely solely on the metafictional device is that Beagle used those moments when the characters broke the fourth wall to feed into his thematic concerns, something I will get to in a bit. The second thread, the straight-forward fairy tale, is exquisitely, heartbreakingly beautiful. Had Beagle written just this story I probably would have out-and-out loved it more, though it likely would not have lingered in my consciousness as long as I suspect this reading will. It has all sorts of fairytale tropes: the quest, the unlikely band of fellows, the evil crone and the evil king, the curse, a tragic romance. . . there's even a talking cat. This section is about finding one's true nature; it is also very much about love, and the way it makes heroes of anyone it touches. The third thread, the allegory, is why this book has so much weight, the reason so many people can read totally different books in it and love them all. There are actually two related allegories here: one, running through the first half of the book, is about perception, and the way we see only what we expect to see; the other, coming to the fore in the second half of the book, is about the unicorn as a sort of Platonic Form of beauty. The presence of these allegories makes the book fail in a lot of ways as a straight fantasy novel -- as some reviewers have noticed, there are no people in the world but those absolutely necessary to the story/message, and the world-building is nothing like internally consistent. But ultimately the allegory is the reason The Last Unicorn is deservedly a classic, in any genre.
mooersmachine15 More than 1 year ago
In this book, The Last Unicorn, there were many great goings on's and poor goings on`s. One great thing was the description of the unicorn. I liked this because the description was so vivid and eye capturing. Another positive was Mommy Fortuna's song about old age. I enjoyed this because it really gave me something to think about in the story. A last thing that I enjoyed was how animals would talk if they felt like it. It added a humorous aspect to the story. But on the opposite side of the spectrum there also were some negatives. One was that a character in Cully's outlaw band named Jack Jingly, I think, should have played a bigger role. My point was that he was a seven foot tall monster and he only appeared in one part of the story. Also during the journey to Hagsgate I thought there should have been a better description of the land on which they were traveling. It always seemed like in the story each destination was reached much too quickly. A final negative I have criticized for the story was that early on in the story the Harpy makes an appearance as the monster that kills Mommy Fortuna (owner of the carnival) but then she doesn't even make another appearance. I thought it was extremely pointless for the author to introduce her if she doesn't even make another appearance. As you can see this story had its ups and downs. In this story Peter S. Beagle (the author) has a very unique writing. First of all the author is the narrator, which is called the third person point of view. This is easy to see since not one character's feelings are expressed very thoroughly, and the whole story is basically the author's feelings expressed thoroughly. Usually the main topics of Peter's story are clear cut. For example most of the story is about finding the infamous Red Bull and killing him to restore unicorns to the world. For me that is a clear main idea and is easily understood throughout the story. In places though in the more specific topics the author can be clear and unclear. An example of being unclear is when Molly Grue comes back from chasing the Robin Hood spirits and calls herself Marianne, one off Robin Hood's Band. This for me was unclear and brief. Peter S. Beagle has a complicated yet interesting writing style and exercises examples of it throughout the story. Mostly I would recommend this book for teenagers. One, because throughout the book the language, in my opinion, is clear and easy to understand for their specific age group. Two because most characters are older than children, making it easier for teenagers to connect to. For the reasons I presented I would mostly recommend this book for teenagers.Similar novels to "The Last Unicorn" are many. For example if you liked this book, look into reading "The Lord of the Rings" series because it is also fantasy. "The Magician Apprentice" series is great because it is filled with magic and wizardry. "Journey to the Center of the Earth" matches because it has a similar writing style. And finally the book "Fantastic Voyage" for its wonderful journey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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BookPhyscho More than 1 year ago
I adore this book. It's a wonderful tale, not only for children, but for the adults all young and awed by the mystery of the unicorn at heart. It's the tale of the last unicorn, or so she thinks. A tale of heroism, facing up to those who try to harm you, and finding yourself. Wonderful tale, worthy of much applause.
TicTocLW More than 1 year ago
This book has become a classic and is a must for the believers at heart. If you were not a believer, the book will make you wonder, and it does cause you to yearn for that first site of a Unicorn. Would we be able to recognise one or would we be more like the unbelievers and only see what we expect. This is a fabulous book for both young and old and I have not been without a copy since I first read it when it came out. This book is a fabulous read, and leaves you Yearning....... This is your chance to own a book for the ages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lisa_RR_H More than 1 year ago
This is told simply enough and with no material that would be unsuitable for younger readers, but written so beautifully and evocatively it can fully hold an adult interest. In form it's a classic quest story, but unlike so many in fantasy one that feels unique and not some Tolkien retread. There's a mix here of the mythical and the whimsical. Set in a created world not ours own but with echoes of legends of Robin Hood and Mallory and yet with seeming anachronisms that somehow never seem jarring or throw you out of the world the author created. The unicorn herself in the short novel is a marvel. She touches the characters around her and the reader with wonder and I'm not going to soon forget her or Schmendrick the Magician or Molly Grue. There are scenes in this book that I'm certain I'll never forget--like a crying spider or visions of the surf. Just magical.