Saturday, March 6, 2021

Review: THE LAST UNICORN by Peter S. Beagle


Rating: 1/5 stars

DNF at 31%.

I was feeling apathetic about every book I was picking up and I didn't want to read what I had next on my to-read list, so I walked into my library to browse for something new. The sun was shining through the window right onto my fantasy shelf and this book called out to me. Maybe because unicorns are so wholesome and the perfect addition to my already beautiful sunny day, or maybe the bright yellow cover was the sole reason my eyes were drawn to this book. Either way, I knew this was going to be my next read. So I happily took this book out to the couch and sat down and began reading. And reading. And the longer I read, the more dismay I felt, because I was not enjoying this story whatsoever. 

Let me back up, back to when I was a young child. I was pretty sure I read this book back then and had a wonderful and magical experience with it. So when I saw this copy of the book at a used bookstore a few years ago, I happily brought it home with me so I could relive that glorious experience of youth. But now I'm convinced this is a different book. The unicorn book I remember reading as a child was about, you guessed it, a unicorn! And this unicorn lived in the forest and befriended a girl and there were happy adventures, yada yada. 

But this book . . . This book is less about a unicorn and more about who the unicorn encounters. There are full chapters that don't even reference the unicorn. But the story supposedly follows a contemplative unicorn who is the last of its kind as she sets out to find any other unicorns in the world. She gets captured by a woman who runs a traveling carnival and is put on display for all to see before she escapes with a magician as she sets out to find the Red Bull, who she thinks will answer all her questions. 

I don't remember any of this. I don't like books about carnivals; there's no way I forgot a carnival existed in this story. I also don't like all the boring side characters. If I can't sit through this book as an adult, I doubt I would have finished it and enjoyed it as a child. So no, I am now convinced I read a different book when I was little, and I mourn forgetting what that book was. (If anyone knows of a unicorn book that has a similar cover to the edition of The Last Unicorn pictured on the right, please inform me, because that is the edition I'm convinced I read as a child but apparently didn't.) 

So ultimately this book was highly disappointing, not only because I thought it was my beloved childhood unicorn book and it turned out not to be, but also because I was just bored with the story, and I really hoped this would be a good unicorn story. The Last Unicorn really struggled to keep my attention and I considered quitting the book multiple times before finally deciding to officially quit on page 93. I knew whether I continued to read until the end or not, this book was getting one star from me, so no use wasting my time reading something I'm not enjoying and not going to give a high rating anyway. Now there is a movie of this book, released forty years ago, that I intended to watch, but after watching the trailer I don't think I can sit through the whole movie, so I guess this is the end of my strange experience with this disappointing unicorn book. 

1 comment:

  1. Is the book you were thinking of “The Little White Horse,” by Elizabeth Goudge?