The Innkeeper's Song
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The Innkeeper's Song (Innkeeper's World #1)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,413 ratings  ·  105 reviews
This New York Times Notable Book is the captivating tale of one man's quest to capture the ghost of his dead lover. His odyssey draws him into the lives of three magical women on horseback with a dangerous quest of their own. A dazzling fantasy of love and death, lust and betrayal, from the beloved author of The Last Unicorn.
Hardcover, 0 pages
Published March 1st 1999 by Turtleback Books (first published 1993)
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A plot summary of this book might go something like this: A wizard and his former students fight against another former student who has traded his life to the darkness for power. It would be accurate, but totally misleading. So what was the book really about? Stories. Singing. Love. Hate. Obligations. Responsibilities. Death. Rebirth. Redemption....

If I had to describe The Innkeeper's Song in a word, it would be this--chewy. Some books are like milkshakes. You just drink them down easily and go...more
One of those amazing experiences that come along every now and again was hearing Peter Beagle read from scraps of this book before it was published. And when it was published, what a novel! Nobody has ever kept so many point of view characters dancing in such an elaborate and intricate tale, with it all ending as it should, something only a true master of the art could pull off.
Honestly: I'm not quite sure how to sum up my feelings for this books...or just say anything about it. I found it awesome. I also think many people might find it terribly dull, which I somehow also understand but I still think it's awesome.
Well what's it about? There is a boy who sets out to save his true love (turns out she doesn't want to be rescued), there are two very beautiful and very misterious women, one of which has a name that reads like someone's been sick over a scrabble-board (it ju...more
Michelle Wardhaugh
This was one of those "something to think about" books. Crossroads, change, endings and beginnings. The infamous bedroom scene actually grounded the story in a way that was necessary with all of the wizards' battles and heroes' adventures. It wasn't really a story about wizards and heroes even though many of the characters fit into those catagories. Like The Book of Atrix Wolfe, there's a strong element here of common people mixing in with wonder and a conscious and unconscious search for identi...more
Ана Хелс

Една магична история, изпълзяла изпод кълба непрогледна мъгла, водена от мелодия отвъд живота , водеща към дълбините на смъртта , и по-далече...

Всичко започва в едно пасторално селце, дало ненавременна жертва - половинка на огромна любов. Писъкът на болката привлича своите и чуждите, един недовършен дух изпълзява изпод дверите на тъмнината, и тръгва на пътешествие без смисъл, с неясен спътник без минало и преследвач идващ точно от отминалите дни. Странните пътешественици се увеличават, и намира...more
I've loved The Last Unicorn for years, but never read another Peter S. Beagle book - till now. I enjoyed this story, but it's a very different book from The Last Unicorn, though both deal with wizards and magic and quests.

The Innkeeper's Song has at its heart the intersection of many lives and quests - a young boy who watches his lover drown in a river, only to be resurrected by a mysterious woman; that mysterious woman and her traveling companion, both past students of a powerful wizard; the s...more
Sarah Cook
i read Giant Bones quite a few years ago and loved it. for those unfamiliar, Giant Bones is a collection of short stories. why i mention it here.. at least two of the characters in The Innkeeper's Song are in the book Giant Bones as well. Lal and Soukyan - i immediately fell in love with the old warriors in that book and started wondering if they appeared elsewhere in one of Mr. Beagle's novels. when i discovered The Innkeeper's Song, i was THRILLED to pieces. it was like being reintroduced to a...more
Because Goodreads doesn't allow a half star, I'm placing this one at three stars, though I think it's more like 3 1/2.

I am a big Peter Beagle fan, but this book just didn't hit the mark for me. He tells it from the perspectives of at least 6 different characters, and there just wasn't enough difference in some of the voices to keep me from getting confused. Also, the one thing Beagle does best in some of his other works is create a world that draws you in. I never got that here until just about...more
I quite enjoyed the shifting perspectives of this book -- for some reason, though, I wanted every chapter from a new person's point of view. (Perhaps this was because the initial discovery of each character's distinct persona through a first-person lens was so exciting and entrancing, I just wanted that to keep going!)

Once I adjusted to that, and what all was going on plot-wise, it became a somewhat more introspective, at times almost mystical, fantasy. More creative than most, I dare say (this...more
I loved some of this author's other work, and an online review of this book seemed to strike the right chord. So I ordered a copy, and it is now one of my favorite books. But it didn't start out that way.

It was a bit difficult at first to get used to the rotating points of view, and I wondered if this book was a single, coherent story, or a collection of loosely related tales. Anyway, I got discouraged with this book and I set it down. I'm sorry to say, I set it down for months.

Then one day I p...more
Brian Bergstrom
Aug 09, 2011 Brian Bergstrom rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Beagle fans
If you're thinking about reading this book, lemme tell you something. It's amazing. Peter S. Beagle has created the simplest world with very little, yet it amazes me how thought provoking this fantasy is. It's the story of 3 women and the mischief they cause an innkeeper. Yes, it has wizards and magic and all that cliche fantasy stuff, but Beagle has something very few authors have in this genre. Wit and humor. His style of writing is so unique. It's told through POVs. Now if you're thinking Mar...more
Man, I forgot how much I miss reading genre fantasy novels; between about 15 and 23 years ago I was devouring books like this by the truckload, largely without regard for quality; and now I think I may be getting drawn in again, to the extent that I have the free time.

I picked up this book in particular, of course, because I loved The Last Unicorn, which I first read long ago. There are a lot of similarities -- the charming, hopeless young loves, the strange amnesiac woman, the joking wizard --...more
After reading Peter Beagle's "The Last Unicorn," which I thought of as a reflection on beauty in the form of a fairytale, I picked up "The Innkeeper's Song," which turns out to be more in keeping with what I think of as fantasy. I'm always amazed at the creativity and imagination of authors who do fantasy well. This book is remarkably impressive in this way. Beagle's plot unfolds chapter by chapter from the perspectives of different characters, which is a cool way of giving us insight into the c...more
The consequences of three strange women stopping at an inn are recounted, in alternating chapters, by Lal, a sailor and swordswoman searching for her old mentor; by Lukassa, inadvertently raised from the dead by Lal; by Nyateneri, a woman being chased by assassins; by Tikat, chasing his lover Lukassa; by Rosseth, the worshipful stable boy; by the Fox, Nyateneri's mysterious shape-changing companion; by Karsh, the bitterly singing innkeeper himself; and by the other curious inhabitants of Karsh's...more
Well Peter S. Beagle is officially the bomb. I really liked his writing style in The Last Unicorn, but it was such a wacky book I had a hard time deciding what I thought about it. The Inkeeper's Song is a bit more straightforward (though I don't think "straightforward" is a very accurate descriptor for anything related to Peter Beagle ever) and his writing really shines. The characters are all really interesting and compelling, and the structure of the book is a lot of fun -- each chapter is tol...more
4.5 stars

Mr Peter S. Beagle writes in a unique way that makes you want to live inside his book.(I'm looking forward to read more of his books) He has that rare talent, transforming words into living worlds...

The story unfolds through narration (POV) of several characters in a poetic but simple way. I loved every single chapter-line, except the Fox one. It's not my cup of tea.

After reading about 200 pages, i was so confident that Innkeeper's Song was going to be another addition to my 6-stars she...more
I read this book about twice a year. Sigh.
I think I prefer Beagle's urban fantasy and short stories more than the straight other world fantasy, but then again, I prefer fantasy that exists here and not somewhere else anyway, so that may be just my preference. I will say that this, like The Last Unicorn, is not the really annoying kind of fantasy, where there are all thees and thous and the author tries just a little too hard to be the next Tolkien. And I respect that.

This novel is told from five or six different points of view, some of...more
This book was quite lovely, it starts with a folk song about three women visiting an inn and how they change everything and then the novel tells what actually happens in the song. It reminded me a lot of the traditional fairy tale type stories of Dunsany and Morris, except with women characters and group sex! (Honestly I hadn't been expecting the group sex - particularly from a book proudly stating "from the author of the Last Unicorn" - but it was done quite well and I think the part of the nov...more
Althea Ann
Like several million people, I read 'The Last Unicorn' when it was the big thing (probably around when the movie came out; not when it was first published - I'm not THAT old) - still, it was years ago, I don't remember it that clearly, but it just didn't really strike me for whatever reason. Since then, Beagle's writing hasn't really been on my radar - but I'm going to have to change that.

I got this book after reading Beagle's short story 'Chandail' in the anthology 'Salon Fantastique,' and lovi...more
Zelly B.
It's taken me a while to get through this, and I came out of it feeling satisfied by the ending - as everything did, indeed, get wrapped up quite nicely - but it hadn't been a whirlwind adventure, or a book that gripped me the way Beagle's 'The Last Unicorn' did when I read that for the first time.

I know there have been some reservations and gripes from other readers about Beagle's use of perspective. For me, the first person POV actually worked. I never found myself confused about who I was rea...more
Carol Holland  March
I've been a fan of Peter Beagle's literary fantasies since A Fine and Private Place and The Last Unicorn. The Innkeeper's Song is set firmly in the same tradition, but with a more complex and mature sensibility.

The language is simple yet beautiful, evocative and piercing in its lyricism. The characters may seem like the stock fantasy tropes, but we soon realize that this is an entirely different take on the wizard, the swordsperson, the lovesick boy, even the fox, one of the most engaging shapes...more
A fantasy book for those that don't particularly like fantasy (like me). Beagle, also a songwriter, actually wrote the song (excerpted below) and then several years later, he wrote this book because he wanted "to find out what the hell the song was really about."

"There came three ladies at sundown:
one was brown as bread is brown,
one was black, with a sailor's sway,
and one was pale as the moon by day.

The white one wore an emerald ring,
the brown led a fox on a silver string,
and the black one carr...more
Jacqui Talbot
When three strange women (one black, one brown, one white) arrive at a wayside inn called The Gaff and Slasher, Karsh, the innkeeper, takes them in against his better judgment. Two of the women—Lal and Nyateneri—are searching for their former mentor, a powerful magician who has summoned them to save him from destruction and worse at the hands of his most powerful pupil, Arshadin. The third, Lukassa, is a village girl whom Lal resurrected after she drowned and whose childhood love, Tikat, pursues...more
I read Peter S. Beagle's most highly regarded novel, The Last Unicorn, about ten years ago and I really didn't like it, so I didn't expect to like this much either. It turns out I was wrong. This book is a lot of fun! In a low-tech setting where magic isn't the norm but isn't uncommon either, this is the story of a battle between a good wizard and his gone-bad disciple (Obi Wan versus Darth Vader...only different...), but the wizards aren't the main characters. Instead the main characters are a...more
This book was hard to get through, I'm not sure why. Partly, I think, because the story is told from so many perspectives (I think some people like that, though) and partly because it just had a really strange atmosphere. It reminded me a little of Robin McKinley's Damar stories, with an added element of . . . ridiculousness? weirdness? threat? Not sure. What I liked most about it was that, even though it was a fantasy book, the characters all seemed completely unique and themselves. Beagle is g...more
In comparison to The Last Unicorn, what a departure. I wasn't even sure I liked it at first. It might start a bit slowly with all of the switches in perspective, not something I look for in a novel. Ultimately, Beagle did a masterful job at balancing the narratives and eventually I quite enjoyed this tale. Beagle has done the kind of world building I enjoy - that is, the kind that doesn't thwack you over the head like a giant mallet, but builds slowly throughout the novel.

The complexity that Bea...more

When I was fairly young (maybe 12 or 13), I read The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle. I remember liking it well enough then, but finding it a rather difficult read. The Innkeeper's Song is only the second book by Peter Beagle that I've ever read, 13 years after I read the first one. It kind of makes me want to go back and re-read The Last Unicorn as I am sure that my 26 year old self would find it much easier going than my 13 year old self. (As a side note, I'm almost glad that I waited to read The...more
Bethany Joy
This was an interesting fantasy book, definitely in the Peter S. Beagle style, which seems to involve some smoke, mirrors and shadow tricks. The difficult thing about the book is the rules of the magic are not well defined, so it is hard to know when things are going to be suddenly non-linear. I really enjoyed the rotating narrator view-point. Sometimes this can be overwhelming especially with many characters, but Beagle does a good job bringing each voice to life. The strange sex scene which is...more
Adam B.
After only a couple chapters of this book, I saw the same great writing I'd come to expect from Beagle and I told my wife, "I'm going to read this book to our son." But then came the sex scene a third of the way through the book that really didn't need to be there. Beagle uses it to reveal something about one character, but he really could have revealed it in another way entirely. The scene also seemed completely out of character and out of nowhere. There's another scene later in the book that i...more
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Peter Soyer Beagle (born April 20, 1939) is an American fantasist and author of novels, nonfiction, and screenplays. He is also a talented guitarist and folk singer. He wrote his first novel, A Fine and Private Place , when he was only 19 years old. Today he is best known as the author of The Last Unicorn, which routinely polls as one of the top ten fantasy novels of all time, and at least two of...more
More about Peter S. Beagle...
The Last Unicorn (The Last Unicorn, #1) A Fine and Private Place Tamsin Two Hearts (The Last Unicorn, #1.5) The Unicorn Sonata

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“Her face was a stranger’s face, which was as it should be. Love each other from the day we are born to the day we die, we are still strangers every minute, and nobody should forget that, even though we have to. ” 14 likes
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