Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc
This weeks entry: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle (1968)
Hidden away in her own sanctuary, Beagle's unicorn has little cares for the world due to her magic and immortality. However, when she hears that she might be the only unicorn left in the world, she sets out on a journey to see if there is any of her kind left. After being captured by a freak show she meets up with a bumbling magician, Schmendrick, and later, a middle aged maiden, Molly Grue. Together these three head on a quest that will take them into the dangerous realm of King Haggard. It will be here that the last unicorn will have to face her nemesis, the Red Bull, in order to free the rest of her kind.
(Summary from SFFWorld.com)
Okay, not one person who lived through the 80's hasn't at least heard of the cartoon movie The Last Unicorn which starred Mia Farrow, Jeff Bridges and Angela Lansbury. (You can watch the intro here.) The story itself is an amazing tale about the loss of magic in the human world that both embraces and shuns it. The unicorn, believing that she may very well be the last of her kind, sets out on a journey to find out what has happened to her fellow unicorns. She has no idea what she will come across but she is determined to find out.
The Last Unicorn is a classic tale of circumstances. The Unicorn becomes an unintended champion of her species. Because of her travels she is forever changed from who she was before they started. She meets humans she would never have known of and creates lasting bonds with them. The King is a villain because of selfishness rather then maliciousness towards the Unicorn herself. The King set out to collect something he found beautiful, but in his greed he became the unintended villain to the unintended hero. He no more sought out the Unicorn then she did him.
Now in it's 40th anniversary edition (2008) The Last Unicorn (Conlan Press) is considered a classic among Fantasy books. I'm currently reading this book.