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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Review: The Last Unicorn

After reading the short story Two Hearts in The Best of the Year 2006, I had to go back and read The Last Unicorn again.

The story, for those who don't know, is that the Unicorn discovers that she's the last of her kind, and wanders of in search of what has happened to the rest of her kind. In between, she meets a hapless magician Schmendrick, a cynical woman who'd given up her dreams to live with outlaws called Molly Grue, and faces the dreaded Red Bull, who'd chased away the others of her kind.

The story is funny, full of songs and poetry (though perhaps not as well written as that famous fantasy trilogy), and filled with anachronisms, jumbling up the world of today, the world of yesterday, and the world of fantasy. Yet Beagle's use of language is so astute, so well controlled that we believe every word and let it guide us to its logical conclusion --- for though the Unicorn does fulfill her quest, it is not without cost, and unlike many other fairy tales, everything does not work out in the end.

A lovely, short read. Highly recommended. Heck, if you've read it before but it had been a while ago, pick it up and read it again!

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