May 14, 2012

The Last Unicorn

by Peter S. Beagle adapted by Peter Gillis

I haven't read the original Last Unicorn in years, but I remember it dearly. Saw this graphic novel version on the library shelf and had to bring it home. It's a fitting tribute to the original tale of a unicorn on a quest. She lived peacefully for centuries in her wood until one day overhearing some men talking about how unicorns have disappeared from the world. Afraid of being the only one, she sets off on a journey to find others of her kind. Along the way she meets many different characters, most of whom fail to recognize the unicorn for what she is (they just see a white horse) others who still believe. Although she never asked them, two companions accompany her to discover the fate of the unicorns- a bumbling magician and a bitter woman (who still believes in unicorns). The ending is bittersweet, and the cat is my favorite character (although his personality comes across much fuller in the original book).

 I liked the artwork by Renae de Liz for the most part, except that the unicorn herself often looked awkward to me, the head too small and the lack of a chin kept bugging me - even though I know in the original Beagle said her head was like a deer, and this is, it still doesn't quite fit the image in my mind. And the story often felt fragmented- it was okay because I remember the book so clearly, but I'm afraid that someone reading this who hadn't already read the original might get lost. For example, the part where Lir is writing poetry to Amalthea- it wasn't clear at all that he was even writing poems, or for what reason. For all appearances, he's just saying random things... well, even so I enjoyed it. If you're a fan of The Last Unicorn, definitely give this one a look. If not, I'd suggest reading Beagle's words in full first.

Rating: 3/5 ........ 152 pages, 2011

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Chris said...

I agree…there are certain books that should just be left books! Hope Larson has illustrated A Wrinkle in Time and it's coming out later this year…I'm both super excited and super nervous…excited because Larson is one of my absoulte favorite graphic novelists, but nervous that the story just won't come across the same.

Jeane said...

I never really liked the animation of this story, either. It was better the way I pictured it in my head!