Review: The Last Unicorn: The Lost Journey by Peter S. Beagle

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Publication: May 8th 2018
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Pages:  165 pages (PDF)
Source: ARC (Thanks Tachyon Publications!)
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher (Tachyon Publications) in exchange for an honest review. 

“What good is their fear to us? Let them
rather fear each other, as they do every minute they live, let them fear the world they make. They’ve never feared Hell as they fear their own lives” (Beagle 92).

Let me start by saying that getting the chance to receive and review this book was an honour itself. I adore Peter S. Beagle, have since I watched and fell in love with the movie The Last Unicorn as a little kid and later the novel when I was older. It’s a story that has stayed with me and in many ways has made me who I am today. But enough about me, let’s get on to the book.

The Last Unicorn: The Lost Journey is a look at the beginnings of Peter S. Beagle’s beloved novel The Last Unicorn and what paths the unicorn could have taken on her journey to find the other unicorns. Reader’s meet a cast of old and new characters as well as a new journey that is just as enticing as the one fans of The Last Unicorn are familiar with.

I’m really not surprised that I loved The Last Unicorn: The Lost Journey, I love everything I’ve read of Beagle and this is no different. I loved seeing what parts of Beagle’s original story of the unicorn made it into the final novel, what changed, and what characters and aspects were given to others and which aspects were dropped all together. Probably the most interesting thing about The Last Unicorn: The Lost Journey is how different the journey of the unicorn is from the book we know and love, not in terms of the new characters we meet but in the setting. I won’t spoil anything because 1) this is a review of an ARC and 2) this book is so good you should already have it on your TBR, or at least put it on after reading this review, but the setting was easily the most intriguing part of the journey. I’m glad I got to see a glimpse at what could have been and this setting that Beagle was constructing, even if it didn’t branch out in the end because it really gives a new meaning to the story.

I loved the new characters that were introduced as well as the old familiar butterfly. Though different in many ways from the final product, The Last Unicorn: The Lost Journey reminded me again of why I love this book so much, and it still held that charm and beauty despite all the differences.

And the illustrations! If the cover alone wasn’t enough to get you excited for this book then Stephanie Law’s illustrations will! They add a whole new kind of magic to the story and are absolutely stunning to look at.

My copy of the ARC also included an Afterword by Peter S. Beagle (though not the Introduction by Carrie Vaugh or the Foreward by Patrick Rothfuss, though I hope to read both when the novel is officially released) and offered an honest look at the artist at work and one I highly enjoyed reading. Beagle talks about his struggles writing The Last Unicorn and how and where The Lost Journey in particular was written. I liked reading his insight on his work, how long it took to write this book that is loved by so many and which characters came first and which came later.

The Last Unicorn: The Lost Journey is a must-read for any fans of The Last Unicorn who want to see the bones of the story they love and a journey and experience like no other. The magic is still there, as is the love for this amazing story, only in a different way.

 

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