Books Movies Reviews: [Review of The Last Unicorn]

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[page 20] THE LAST UNICORN - Submitted by Dorothy Jones, from the Bakersfield CALIFORNIAN Peter Beagle has written a mythological novel in the tradition of J. R. R. Tolkien's _The Lord of the Rings_. Entitled _The Last Unicorn_, the story concerns the considered last unicorn, and she sets out on a quest to find out what happened to her people. The unicorn is a sea-white creature, more graceful than a deer, with a slender neck, and a horn in the center of its forehead. Furthermore, the unicorn is immortal and magical, possessing the power to heal. Wherever the unicorn dwells, there is eternal Spring and whoever recognizes a unicorn, unless that person is truly evil, is filled with wonder and love. Peter Beagle's novel _The Last Unicorn_ is in the traditon of J. R. R. Tolkien's trilogy, _The Lord of the Rings_. The atmosphere and personages of a myth are created in poetic language; the characters are aware that they are part of a special world, a world of kings, wizards, witches, and unicorns. The unicorn of the story overhears a conversation between humans passing through her forest. No one has seen a unicorn for so long a time that humans doubt that unicorns ever existed. Distressed by the thought that she may be the last of her people, the unicorn sets out on a quest to find others of her kind. She is joined along the way by a fumbling magician named Schmendrick. Schmendrick is looking for somethign, too, on this quest--his unrealized powers as a wizard. He is doomed to wander the earth unitl his fate takes hold of him, and he becomes the great magician that his teacher prophesied he would. Until this time he is unaging; though his years increase, his appearance doesn't. "I am older than you might think," he says. Together the unicorn and the magician experience some terrifying moments and some humorous ones. The climax of their travels is a violent encounter with the evil king and his Red Bull. The story of how Schmendrick at last realizes his potential for great wizardry and how he and the unicorn succeed in freeing the oppressed unicorns, bring the tale to a satisfying conclusion. Reviewed by L.U. (Kern County Library)

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