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Gossamer Axe

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  324 ratings  ·  32 reviews
A doorway between worlds opened, releasing Christa, her harp--and her quest. Imprisoned for centuries, she had escaped from the faery Sidh and the musician Orfide, weavers of spells and schemes. But the doorway had shut too quickly, leaving her lover behind in the endless captivity of a timeless world.

Now, in contemporary Denver, Christa discovers the way to her loved one'
Paperback, 351 pages
Published August 7th 1990 by Roc
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 654)
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Jeff Bower
First I should say that I'm a guitarist and that I love rock and blues.

This is the best music-themed fantasy novel I have read, no others are even close in my estimation (though I did enjoy Stasheff's Warlock Rock--a festival express of puns, and liked The Gutbucket Quest by Leming and Anthony). It's the story of a Celtic harper who lost her lover (who happens to be a woman, but that's not the focus of the plot or story) to the land of fairie, where she is kept captive. The harper, Christa, has
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]The premise of the book sounds, frankly, awful. Christa, born in sixth-century Ireland but exiled to 1980s Denver, assembles an all-female heavy metal band (called "Gossamer Axe") to blast open the mystical portals and rescue her girlfriend from the twilight realm where she is imprisoned. To do this she reincarnates her magical harp as an electric guitar.[return][return]Yet it's actually rather good. Of course it is rather earnest about paga ...more
WOW. The GoodReads summary of the book is incredibly negative and hateful. I'm rather surprised. But please go read that for a different opinion than mine.

A Celtic harpist woman from the 600s (yes, 1400 years ago) finally broke free from the Faerie lands in the 1700s. She spent the past 200 years trying to perfect her music and magic in order to go back to the Faerie gate and win freedom for her lover. As the book unfolds (in the 1980s) Christa discovers rock and roll, and bends her energy to bu
Aug 10, 2010 Bryan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
The Goodreads description is horribly off-base and should be taken with several pounds of salt. Part of the story involves how each of the band members comes to terms with the issues in their respective pasts, and, yes, each of them has been hurt by men sometime in their past. The fact that the characters deal with real forms of abuse and neglect is not misanthropy; it's crafting a believable cast of characters and showing how the events of the story impact them.

The treatment of the character w
this tale made me want to take up metal - the subculture sounded completely unappealing but the intensity and devotion of the participants...compelling.

red-haired superwoman discovers the power of heavy metal music just as she's about to give up hope, takes on faerie to win her lover back. a teenaged Emma probably would've loved this in her early days of identification with Vanyel et al.
Urban fantasy before there was such a label, this was one of the first fantasy books with a lesbian main character that I ever read (and there still aren't nearly enough of them around, in my opinion). I was a college student, relatively recently out of the closet, and I remember loving it. I should dig up a copy and give it a reread one of these days, see how it stands up. :)
Michael Pate
I read this back when it first came out. And as I recall, a few years later when I was looking for a fun read.

I thoroughly enjoyed it at the time - it combined two of my favorite things (especially in 1990) - fantasy and heavy metal music. It would be interesting to reread it now to see how the story holds up. I would think since the main character was hundreds of years old it would do just fine.

P.S. In the author's note, it describes Baudino's personal experience as a Wiccan. I think that was t
This is an old favorite of mine. It's one of the best fantasies I've read dealing with music and also one of the best dealing with a lesbian relationship. I'm so glad that the GR description of this book is now neutral and acceptable.
Willa Grant
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This story mostly held up over time, other than a few bits of technology. The synthesizer's computer with floppy drives, the obsession of high-level music executives with cocaine and the passing along of demo tapes were old-school, but the story itself was and is solid.
The central character began life as a harper, but in the 6th century. An odd combination of circumstances left her lover in the hands of the Sidh, the folk under the hill, and her in modern America. She was doing fine as a harp te
I thought this was adorable.

As a music person myself, I appreciated the huge amount of music theory that was described in this book. I thought that the female-female relationship (that was not the center of the story, but rather a driving force) was adorable, and I could feel the love they had for each other. I thought the idea of metal music breaking down walls (literally and figuratively), especially by an all-girl band was socio-political statement worth listening to.
Allison Ann
One of my favourite fantasty novels of all time - yes it's particularly dated now and probably wouldn't much appeal to those who didn't live through the 80s and don't have fond memories of backcombing their hair and tying bandanas around various body parts, but I still enjoy every re-read. The music parts of the book still make me desperately want to join a band despite my total tone deafness and the magic parts are lovely. Chick with a harp indeed.
A longtime favorite, currently re-read because of the music and magic aspect.

As a book, its starting to show its age a bit (the music world has changed a little) but there's still something about the characters that gets me every time. And there's one particular bit, on page 346 in the paperback, that has had me in tears every single time I read it: it's the "Yes, I can sing." bit.

I LOVE THIS BOOK! Published in 1990 and I picked it up new in a bookstore so I probably read it for the first time in '90 or '91. I know I've read it at least 10 more times since then. The story is originally amazing, I mean who can't get into a chick from ancient Ireland who plays electric guitar to free her lover from faery? One of my favorite books ever!
I expected this to be terrible, in the way of most Lesbian fiction. Instead I found that I couldn't put it down. It's no revelation, but it is highly entertaining. I loved the author's clear feminist, I love wicca and Ireland bent. When I wasn't curious about the plot I was giggling at the clear biases. A perfect January distraction.
Haha, published in 1990. You wouldn't know it, because this is some full on insane magical guitar battling 80s style with big hair and unicorns and stuff. This book was surprisingly cool (as in real cool, not ironic cool), considering the teal-cloaked lady-mage wielding her musical battle axe on the front.
Heavy metal battle of the bands meets creative Irish mythology. I found this book to be a lot of fun, and far and away the most delightful of this author's books. Keywords, sci fantasy, lesbian, rock music, Colorado. I've read it a couple times since it is a total escape sort of novel.
A fun read, especially if you have any fond memories or guilty pleasures for 80's hair metal. Not as on-course or developed as the Starlight series, but themes are still there. I've been dared to make a mix tape of the songs mentioned in this book, and perhaps I will.
When I read this book in high school I was totally titillated by the whole lesbian thing going on.

Despite that, it's a pretty damn good book. I'll have to read it again one of these days.

Haleigh Hernandez
It shouldn't be so wonderful. It should be cheesy, like cheese whiz. It is pure magic. Fantastic from beginning to end.
Michele bookloverforever
excellent and outstanding tale woven around legends of the fae....really strong female lead character...
Jump into an adventure accompanied by a feisty, magical, rock n' roll Celtic dyke.
This book spoke to me on so many levels. It's exciting, and fun, and just gorgeous. It became a favourite from the start!
Yeah, it is fluff, and not particularly well-written fluff at that, but there's just something about this book that keeps drawing me back. It is stuffed full of cliches and obvious plot points, but I just really enjoy reading it when I don't want to focus on something that will take too much concentration and I am in a fluffy mindset.

Don't expect this to be a great work of literature. After all, it crosses the Sidhe world with heavy metal. But it is fun, and an enjoyable light read.
Sep 04, 2008 Angela rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers
Shelves: sci-fan-para
This is a novel about a woman who is immortal. She is a druidic harper from ancient Ireland and has been doomed to roam the earth by the Sidhe. She is cut off from her lover Judith and must gather a group of friends together to try and rescue her. This is an excellent read with lots of interesting information about Druids and Sidhe and harpers.
How can you not a like a book that starts..."A chick with a harp."? This is a fun mix of Celtic mythology and 80's rock culture. It was first published in 1990. I've read it several times since then. It may not be a literary classic but it is a fun read for those with an open mind.
Cheesy eighties metal fun, with magic and music and all that good stuff. Not necessarily a great book, but compelling, heartfelt, and thoroughly enjoyable.
I like when the ancient Celtic bard stands up on her seat in the concert and screams "Rock and Roll!"
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