Dec 15, 2018

Review--The Last Unicorn: The Lost Journey by Peter S. Beagle

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.

I didn't quite realize going into The Last Unicorn: The Lost Journey by Peter S. Beagle that this wasn't the complete story that I only sort of knew from the animated movie. This is actually the early and unfinished draft of that story from what I gathered.

It still makes for an interesting read though. The story is still picturesque and reminiscent of fairy tales or just fantasy stories. There's possibly a touch of Monty Python or Mel Brooks to it as there were moments I felt like there jabs being made at modernity. 

The story, short as it is, is about a unicorn that learns she is the last unicorn in the world. She doesn't quite believe, doesn't want to believe it, so she sets out on a journey to find others of her kind. Along the way she meets a talking butterfly who speaks mostly in songs or bizarre not-quite rhymes, a two headed demon, another demon, possibly, and a handful of people who want to capture her because she's a beautiful "horse."

As I mentioned, this isn't the full story like I initially thought, so things get kind of put to a hault about midway though the journey. While this was a tad disappointing from a reader's point of view, I mean, who likes an unfinished story anyway? It does seem rather interesting from a writer's point of view. Again, I say this was Peter's early draft for the story we all know and love. That things don't progress very far is upsetting yet the journey we did take was quite interesting.

I feel like Peter was one of those writers ahead of his time! I mean, to incorporate what feels like true modernity into what's clearly a fantasy read makes for an interesting story world. You don't really know what time you're in in the story. It feels like your basic fantasy but then a few things get said or mentioned and it totally changes everything you thought you knew!

This is a rather short review since this is an incomplete story. I did enjoy the forewords and afterword from the selected people and author. It was interesting getting Peter's background on the story he struggled to write but just wouldn't leave him. Kind of gives me the motivation I need for my own work!

While this is not the complete story of The Last Unicorn, it was still an interesting version to see how Peter got it all started. I would definitely recommend this particular book to other inspiring writers, like myself, as it kind of gives you that reassurance that it's okay to take your time with your WIP, just don't give it up!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

1 comment:

  1. Great post and review! I think i'd like to find this book too, especially if it will help my own writing learning (mountainous) curve.


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