Monday, September 25, 2017

A Tepid Beauty - The Last Unicorn

Though I grew up loving unicorns, I'd never read Peter Beagle's classic The Last Unicorn before. Having returned to fantasy featuring a beloved creature after so long, I was disappointed.

Don't get me wrong-the language was beautiful, and many times, even more than that: it was magical. There were other times, however, more than I care to mention, where the attempt at lyrical writing got in the way of the story. Not every single thing in the plot needs to be described in some poetic, mythical, or allegorical fashion. At times, when what was happening to the characters was unclear, the language was a frustrating obstacle to the plot.

And here we come to the heart of the matter. Perhaps, in its day, The Last Unicorn was supremely influential, and became the inspirational bedrock for all the unicorn stories yet to tell. But the book didn't strike me as timeless. By that, I mean that I didn't appreciate it as a groundbreaking work because the plot was just so simple and straightforward, sometimes downright plodding, where the unicorn seeks out other unicorns, suspecting she is the last, and teams up with a magician and an old woman young at heart. The unicorn then transforms into a human and falls in love while saving the unicorn population from a wicked curse and a sinister king.

All that might sound very exciting, but the narrative moved along with no sense of urgency, and no real sense of danger. It's a very short book, and took me quite a while to read for its slimness. I've read 300+ pages a day with books that sucked me in. This was slightly less that 200, and it took me over a week.

Ah, well. They can't all be Into the Land of the Unicorns, now can they?

K Rating: 2/5
**New Author Goal: 17**


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