It’s been a long time since I read a fantasy novel in which I could not find any flaws. Don’t get me wrong, I love the A Song of Ice and Fire series, but the rapes and beheadings on every other page are starting to turn my stomach. I liked David Drake’s Lord of the Isles, which I finished a few weeks ago, but I don’t think I liked it enough to read the rest of the series.
So I picked up Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn because I had seen the animated movie on Netflix and enjoyed it very much. The book is almost closer to a fairy tale than it is to a true fantasy novel, and it has no sequels. My copy was only 218 pages long, so it was a refreshing break from 500-plus-page tomes.
What I liked:
- The author’s use of language: “The cage was filled with snake… nothing but a wave of tarnished darkness rolling from one end of the cage to the other…”
- Bits of humor throughout: “But I am a cat, and no cat anywhere ever gave anyone a straight answer.”
- No obligatory sex scenes/romances
- No extreme blood/gore
- Lots of random weirdness and anachronisms
- It was a good story for both kids and adults
- The characters were distinct, well written, and self aware (they knew they were in a fairy tale)
- The movie followed the book very closely, probably because the same author wrote both the book and the screenplay
tl;dr: Highly recommended!