It has been awhile since we posted because we moved from New York to Virginia last Fall, and it took us awhile to get settled and back into our groove. But here we are again!
We have tried to find a new, in-person, teen book club locally with little success, so we asked the members of our previous book group in NY if they were interested in having a virtual book club, and, luckily, they were. The dynamic is a bit different since we meet in Google Hangouts, but Phoebe is happy to be able to chat about books with her peers once again.
The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle, was our second book club pick and Phoebe’s choice. Unfortunately, no one really enjoyed the novel, myself included. It was written in 1968, and that might have been part of the problem. Fantasy has come a long way in that time, and fantasy for children and teens in particular. The genre is a lot more sophisticated now than it was fifty years ago.
The premise was interesting–a unicorn who believes she is the last of her kind, so she sets out on a quest to find out once and for all if she is. She has adventures and misadventures along the way. Some know what she is, but many others do not and see her merely as a horse. She makes friends and enemies, and she eventually discovers the truth regarding what happened to her kind.
That is the core story, and that was the best part. However, much of the other plot is kind of silly. There are anachronisms that don’t make sense–like tacos in a medieval world. That kind of humorous fantasy has never really been my thing, but I can see that it would appeal to some. Many of the other characters are simply unlikeable–except for a talking cat who makes a brief appearance and steals that part of the book.
Sadly, everyone in the chat felt the same way about the novel, though we did have a good discussion anyway. An important lesson that I have tried to impart is that one is not going to enjoy everything one reads, but that doesn’t make the book irrelevant. Phoebe opted to not write a review for this one.