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March 16, 2019

The Unicorn Anthology by Peter S. Beagle, editor ~ a Review

by MK French

Peter S. Beagle has written a lot of books within the fantasy genre, but remains best known for his novel "The Last Unicorn." As a result, he was a natural choice to curate this collection. There are a number of renowned authors of fantasy included in this collection, so it's a great opportunity to see unicorn themed work from them.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this page. A free book was provided for an honest review.

The Unicorn Anthology
March 2019; Tachyon Publications; 978-1616963156
ebook, print (288 pages); anthology, fantasy
Some of the stories have a decidedly adult bent to them, as one takes place in a bordello featuring fantastic creatures of all kinds, and in another, the unicorn's horn that was cut off centuries ago was crafted into a phallus that two warring madams both want. ("The Maltese Unicorn" by CaitlĂ­n R. Kiernan, which tells you right there it's a noirish story that is meant to unsettle.) There are also stories where unicorns were always real and in the world, only hidden from common sight by the way they're able to move and protect themselves. We also have some poetry featuring unicorns in this collection.

One story that really sticks out in my mind is "The Magical Properties of Unicorn Ivory." It's the opening story, whete unicorns crossed over into our universe through microscopic holes punched by particle accelerator experiments. They now exist in our world, and are majestic and magical creatures; this makes them a commodity for poachers willing to abduct children or harm adults trying to save them. Like with poachers of other protected animals, they don't care who they hurt, including the animals they're hunting, and the end of this story still haunts me.

Another beautiful one in this collection is "The Highest Justice" by Garth Nix, where the magic of the Unicorn allows a princess to keep her mother's dead body animated enough to get revenge on the king and his mistress, who had poisoned her. "The Transfigured Hart" by Jane Yolen brings her deft magical realism to a story of two children and an albino deer.

This is a wonderful collection to read, and one I am very grateful to have read.

Buy The Unicorn Anthology at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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  1. I would love to read this collection!

  2. We have unicorns from other cultures in this collection, too, so they're not all gentle creatures. :)