Tag Archives: J.R.R. Tolkien

Review: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

Review: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

I found the original draft of my Last Unicorn graphic novel review. This is completely different in tone and length from what was  published in the San Francisco Book Review last January 4, 2012.

This review has comments on the ending. To read the hidden spoilers, highlight the invisible text with your mouse.

 

A nice addition to the graphic novel section of the library. Not in photo: my Hellblazers and Alan Moore.

Peter S. Beagle is a familiar name to most fantasy readers since his introduction graced many a paperback copy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Yet for me, growing up in the Philippines, that was the only contact I had with the name for years. Even back then I knew he must be an important writer, because unimportant writers don’t write introductions to other people’s books. But as to coming across one of his books, lack of access was an issue.

 Some college friends were lucky enough to grow up with The Last Unicorn. In hindsight I envy them. I didn’t have any luck finding a VHS tape of the animated version, either, in that part of the world. After a few years of curiosity I simply gave up.

So getting a copy of the new graphic novel adaptation in the mail was nothing short of a dormant dream come true.

I was a little worried about being too old to like it. There are some texts that should be read at the appropriate age. I remembered feeling incredibly let down when I read C.S. Lewis’s The Magician’s Nephew a couple of years ago. i I feel the need to apologize to all hardcore Narnia fans but I simply could not stand being talked down to by that insufferable man. It reeked of the overbearing Catholicism I couldn’t stand since elementary school.

Thankfully, The Last Unicorn is more accessible to my adult mind, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt there were some gaps in the narrative, probably caused by condensing a novel to its graphic novel form, but the basic story still worked well. The art by Renae de Liz and Ray Dillion was also apt and beautiful.

I was worried that after a few pages, The Last Unicorn would explode into full-on shoujo sparkles and glitter, but no, it didn’t happen. The unicorn’s transformation into a mere mortal was incredibly painful to read. I found it awful that she forgot about her quest at one point, but I suppose enchantments will do that, even to a strong character.

The Last Unicorn’s last plight ultimately reminds me of the subtle tragedies of childhood, and how a little experience can taint everything. I probably would have cried buckets if I read this as a child. That it can affect me, even now, is probably a mark of a brilliant piece of fantasy.

Side Comments for the Week

Side Comments for the Week

1. I was beginning to feel like the last person in the Northern Hemisphere not to have seen The Dark Knight Rises, so I finally went out and caught it. I won’t bother commenting about it at length, seeing how everybody else has. I will admit, though, that Alfred almost made me cry.

2. Adam and I finished watching Fate/Zero last week. It’s vastly superior to the earlier series, Fate/Stay Night, in terms of visuals and plotting. Kiritsugu Emiya doesn’t get on my nerves as much as his son does, even if they have the same intentions. Saber is ten times more powerful in this prequel, and I can’t help but adore a woman fighting in full armor.

Even if I found it occasionally wanting, I still appreciate Fate/Stay Night  for giving me one of most memorable quotations in anime: “Extravagance is our enemy.”

Why I find this hilarious is a long, boring story.

3. So Peter Jackson just announced there will be a third Hobbit movie. I have mixed feelings about this. I was lucky enough to visit Matamata two years ago when they were rebuilding the Shire. What I saw there really rocked my little hobbit world. But a third movie?

I remember a time when they couldn’t even get the rights to The Hobbit sorted out and no one wanted to direct it. This current situation feels odd.