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I m maybe half way through Thomas interminable time with the Queen of the Elves, and I just can t force myself to read any further I really can only echo others who say that the first section, Gavin s, was entrancing The character himself was charming if a bit of a female fantasy of what a good husband should be , his descriptions of the other characters make them come alive, and the action moves at just the right pace Thomas, on the other hand is, as others have said, arrogant, smug, shallow, self centered, self absorbed and very much a Mary Sue I think I know where Rothfuss got his inspiration for the Lay of Felurian The other characters in his section are simply two dimensional objects that exist to reflect him, and the action, such as it is, is repetitive and boring Nothing happens, and it takes a long, long time to do it.It is entirely possible that Meg s and Elspeth s sections redeem the work, but at this point, I want nothing to do with Thomas Count me among those who do not understand how or why this won the World Fantasy Award It must have been a slow year. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report what my dream was I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream. READ E-PUB ♎ Thomas the Rhymer ⚈ Award Winning Author And Radio Personality Ellen Kushner S Inspired Retelling Of An Ancient Legend Weaves Myth And Magic Into A Vivid Contemporary Novel About The Mysteries Of The Human Heart Brimming With Ballads, Riddles, And Magical Transformations, Here Is The Timeless Tale Of A Charismatic Bard Whose Talents Earn Him A Two Edged Otherworldly GiftA Minstrel Lives By His Words, His Tunes, And Sometimes By His Lies But When The Bold And Gifted Young Thomas The Rhymer Awakens The Desire Of The Powerful Queen Of Elfland, He Finds That Words Are Not Enough To Keep Him From His Fate As The Queen Sweeps Him Far From The People He Has Known And Loved Into Her Realm Of Magic, Opulence And Captivity He Learns At Last What It Is To Be Truly Human When He Returns To His Home With The Queen S Parting Gift, His Great Task Will Be To Seek Out The Girl He Loved And Wronged, And Offer Her At Last The Tongue That Cannot Lie A really intetesting, extremely unusual novel Its sort of an example of what fantasy might have been like if Tolkien had never existed, with a deeply character driven storyline and a setting very rooted in old England and its mythology, sort of like Spencer or something its largely a down to earth, almost realist novel, interrupted by 100 pages of the strangest, most surreal storytelling I ve seen in a while A friend of mine compared this section to the wizard knight by Gene Wolfe, and, for one of the first times ever, a comparison to Wolfe actually made sense its unbalanced in a way that maybe isn t productive, but driven by intensely powerful feeling and imagination a weakness, though, is it starts slow, and took about 70 pages to really start working but then, after an otherworldly, surreal hunt scene, interrupted by music and a riddle, a dove starts crying tears of blood, and you understand what makes this book so exceptional i read all but ten pages of this on a cross country flight and it was an intensely powerful experience, even if it was difficult to get into What a quietly beautiful book At a first glance, it s a small story but it has such depth, such insight, it s so full of raw emotions and witty humour, it touches your heart and doesn t let go easily If at all. I love novels like this that flesh out a traditional tale while remaining true and faithful to the source material Like Robin McKinley s Beauty , Donna Jo Napoli s Zel , etc This book retells the legend of Thomas the Rhymer, a minstrel taken under the hill for seven years of service to the faerie queen, who returns with the gift of being unable to tell a lie It brings to life Thomas and those who know and love him, letting a reader feel not that what they d heard previously of the tale was wrong, but that they have been given a privileged glimpse of heretofore unknown details and truths of the past It s not really an exciting or action packed book, but it is a lovely and magical one. It took me a while to get into this version of Thomas the Rhymer The story is told in four voices the voice of an old man who takes Thomas in almost as his own son, Gavin the voice of Thomas himself the voice of Gavin s wife, Meg and the voice of the mortal woman who loves Thomas, Elspeth The part in Gavin s voice didn t grip me so much, but when I came to Thomas s part, I could barely put the book down It s not full of action, and Elspeth doesn t play a part in Thomas coming back from Faerieland Instead, it s full of emotion, which builds right through the story until the final line so innocuous on its own makes my heart ache Without saying any about it, I love the end.There are some beautiful passages in the book, and some smaller lovely stories the story of the dove, for one, and the story of Thomas invisible servant, for another And some of the characters are really wonderful, particularly saucy Elspeth.It s an interesting take on the story of True Thomas, Thomas the Rhymer, and I m glad I kept on with it, after not really getting into Gavin s part of the story I thought it was rather magical, really. A sensually told tale of Thomas the Rhymer pre, during and after his abduction by the Queen of Elfland, with whom he resides for seven years, returning with her gift of a tongue that can tell no lies.Fleshing out the myth and letting us get to know Thomas as he might have been before, with a tongue that flattered and lied easily, the first part of the book was the strongest for me And while I enjoyed the plunge into Faerie, I found that Thomas s return and remaining life, as told by the girl he d loved before the Faerie Queen, didn t quite live up to what preceded it But still, this was a pleasant and dreamy read with which to happily while away a summer evening. Thomas the Rhymer is a worthy and beautiful novelization of the ballad, elegantly told from the perspective of four people Gavin and Meg, the elderly couple who takes on Thomas as a surrogate son, bookend Thomas s own experience in Elfland, and the fourth by Thomas s mortal love, Elspeth, after he returns to the human world with his gift of soothsaying Kushner s language is so subtle, lyrical and magical, some passages near left me in tears She has such a flair for words and this book is all about that the truth of words I really admired the shifting perspectives, and how all four were needed as separate pieces of the puzzle to come together The reason why I remain conflicted over the book, is because it put me through every emotion a human could feel I m not sure I enjoyed that feeling at all, though it attests to its power Some parts were funny, some were unbearably painful It hurt I felt Thomas s anger and loneliness, living his half life in his servitude Might I also add, Kushner s language also extends to some very sexy passages, particularly because they are so restrained and perfectly worded, hoo Some bits I reveled in the normality of country life I felt Elspeth s chapped hands and Meg s hearty food I can t help but come away from this book without seeing it as a tragedy I can t see his time in Elfland except as a CURSE, shiny and glitzy, but otherwise detrimental to his humanity I felt so much pain for Elspeth at the end, knowing he was gone, knowing he had loved others I wanted passion between them I wanted it to prove that mortal love could be just as passionate as whatever Thomas had with the Elf Queen Elspeth is certainly worthy, I loved their arguments at the beginning, but it felt like she got the short end of the stick in pretty much every way Sigh I also wanted exploration of Thomas s soothsaying and whether it was really a gift. This is my all time favorite book about Faerie I ve been reading about and studying Faerie since I was a small child And I am an AVID reader Ellen Kushner has done to bring the world of the Fae alive than anything else I ve ever read Critics of this book need to understand that Thomas the Rhymer or Tam Lin is a legend It is what it is For Kushner to have made him pleasing to all would have been to stray from the legend For the book to have had a climactic ending would have been to stray from the legend It was a story of a Bard taken by the Faerie Queen because of his physical beauty and his musical talent a story of his adventures in Faerie and his subsequent return to the real world The man, though chauvanistic and skirt chasing to some, is a very apt description of what a handsome and talented wandering minstrel s life was probably like.But, if you ever want to experience a peek into the enchanted world of the Fae and if you ever want to just get into a magical frame of mind, this is the book to read I am a Faerie artist and I re read it from time to time because it inspires me While there are many authors whose work I love, no other book takes me to the world of Faerie like this one Kudos to Ellen Kushner