True to tradition, The Last Unicorn is the story of a quest, the search by the unicorn — immortal, infinitely beautiful — for her lost fellows. Early on, she is joined by Schmendrick the Magician — a name pointing to the low comedy that surprisingly (though also traditionally) coexists here with terror, pathos, tenderness, paradox, and wit, and frequent passages where the prose bursts into song and into poetry itself. A kind of upside-down Merlin, Schmendrick is looking for something for himself too, his life perhaps. Molly Grue, the third of the travelers, seems simply to embody every womanly trait. After a richly entertaining variety of adventures — with splendid, quirky characters — the search reaches its climax at the castle of evil King Haggard, where the terrifying Red Bull is encountered and where the handsome Prince L?r plays his predestined role.
Like Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, this odd, evocative, and brilliant book utilizes an imaginary world to connect profoundly with the real questions and aspirations of thoughtful and sensitive readers. The Last Unicorn may well join that widely read masterpiece as a book that speaks with a mysterious but tangible resonance to a receptive audience.