Monday, February 25, 2008

Book Review: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free book reviews.

One of the most difficult books to review are old novels--especially the ones that have been deemed classics. For example, I remember reading Alice in Wonderland and it didn't particularly impress me. As for The Last Unicorn, it's one of the novels that I never got to read but I fondly remember from my childhood thanks to the cartoon. Suffice to say, the book is just as good. Beagle's prose is long and the paragraphs tend to be blocky but the language is easy enough to comprehend and he injects some of the tropes of high fantasy such as poetry and riddles. The narrative itself follows the quest formula but then again, The Last Unicorn has this atmosphere of meta-fiction and I think is the author's intent. The highlight of the book is easily the characters, everything from the unicorn itself to Schmendrick and Molly and Prince Lir. Overall, it's not a bad book by today's standards and withstood the test of time quite well. However, considering this was published in 1968, I can easily understand why it stood out as a classic and its meta-fictional elements is to be lauded. This was a pleasant read that was easy to get immersed in, and has that extra helping of nostalgia. Fans of the movie won't be disappointed by the book and fans of fantasy might want to return to this classic.

Rating: 4/5.

Rating System:

1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.

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