Thursday, February 12, 2015

7:120 The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

A unicorn is in her forest where she has always lived when she overhears some hunters talking about unicorns and how this must be the last forest to still have a unicorn protecting it.  This leads her to start wondering if she is indeed the last in the world which leads her to leave her forest to discover the truth.  As she wanders, she finds that she is no longer recognized as a unicorn but only as a beautiful white mare by most people.  Along her journey, she finds the magician Schmendrick who wants only to be a true magician rather than the bumbling juggler that he more often resembles.  He vows to stay with her on her journey and is able to tell her more stories about where the unicorns may have gone.  "They were driven down all the paths long ago and the Red Bull ran close behind."  The Red Bull belongs to King Haggard and that is where they must go.  As they continue on that path, they find Molly Grue, the wife of a wanna-be Robin Hood, who can see the unicorn for what she is and is willing to leave everything else behind to see that quest fulfilled.

As they come to the castle of King Haggard, the Red Bull makes his appearance when he sensed a unicorn near by and Schmendrick's magic saves her by turning her into a human girl.  Thus disguised, she enters the castle with Schmendrick and Molly in the hopes of finding out more about the rest of the unicorns.  Instead, what she finds is Prince Lir falling in love with her.  The longer she stays human, the more she aligns with those feelings and the group must finally move forward in their quest if they are to save the Last Unicorn from herself.  Since this is a fairy tale, she is returned to her correct form and rescues the other unicorns but the journey is not without it's own personal cost for her.

This is such a lovely tale.  I watched the movie more times than I can count growing up but could never interest my boys in watching it until it came around on a movie tour in the theaters and I took the two youngest to see it.  They LOVED it!  Afterward, they loved listening to the author speak about the book and decided that it had to be the next book I read aloud to them.  I was thrilled with this and reading the book was just a lovely experience.  A truly beautiful story.

Page count: 294p/2,310p ytd/217,244p lifetime

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