Ahoy there me mateys! I received this fantasy eARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
the last unicorn: the lost journey (Peter S. Beagle)
Title: the last unicorn: the lost journey
Author: Peter S. Beagle
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Publication Date: TODAY! (hardcover)
This book is being issued in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of the last unicorn. If ye be one of me crew that has never read the last unicorn, stop what ye be doin’ and go get a copy right now. And then once ye have read and savoured that delightful book, go out and get the 1982 animated movie and relish the experience of that splendid film (the author wrote the screenplay). Then go out and get this one if ye want a glimpse into the origin of this unicorn story. I would not read this it ye have not yet experienced the story in its current form. For those who love the classic fantasy masterpiece that is the last unicorn and are curious about its beginnings, then this be for ye.
Because me hearties, what this book contains is the first draft of the story ye all should know and love. And it is different, oh so very different. For writers, ye get to see into the author’s writing process and see how the first draft can change form and characterization from the final product. For readers, ye get glimpses of what eventually become a favourite character. For both there be elements of the beloved story that remain in the version we know today. In addition this book has tributes from authors Patrick Rothfuss and Carrie Vaughn. Ye also get charming original illustrations and an afterword of Mr. Beagle’s reminiscing of the summer when he was 23 and a unicorn captured his fancy.
I can’t say that I love the 85 page short story that is the beginning of the unicorn’s journey. It is a bit disjointed and more then a little strange. It ends abruptly. It is rather dark. The butterfly seems insane. Ye won’t see beloved figures like Molly, Schmendrick, or Prince Lir. Ye will see a disgruntled dragon and a two-headed demon with heads named Azazel and Webster. While weirdly fascinating, I don’t think a person new to Beagle’s writing should start here. I be so glad that Mr. Beagle’s final edition cut out the demon and changed directions in story telling.. I adore the version published in 1968.
This seems to be the same story published in a limited edition by Subterranean Press in 2006 under the name the last unicorn: the lost version. For fans of the last unicorn, this might be worth yer while. If ye haven’t yet read this wonderful story, then pick up a copy and join me crew, Arrr!
So lastly . . .
Thank you Tachyon Publications!
Goodreads’ website has this to say about the book:
Peter S. Beagle first imagined his beloved unicorn at the age of twenty-three, five years before she would spring fully-realized into the world. Now, alongside Beagle’s wry musings upon his early writing career, is the rediscovered origin story of fantasy’s most famous unicorn. Within this eighty-five page genesis of The Last Unicorn, the equine heroine encounters a cranky dragon, a chatty butterfly, and an exiled demon with a split personality. Discover a might-have-been journey, appealingly familiar yet wonderfully strange, lyrical and whimsical by turns. Somewhere in-between the modern and mythological, lies the first path of the Last Unicorn on a road less traveled by…until now.
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