Alice's Reviews > Thomas the Rhymer

Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner
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's review
May 11, 2010

did not like it
bookshelves: 2010, fairy-tale, fantasy, romance
Read from April 26 to May 10, 2010 , read count: once

This was such a disappointing book.

I really liked the premise, of combining myths and folklore and songs. But Kushner seems to have forgotten to tie that in with a character I wouldn't loathe. Thomas was self-centered, vain, selfish, dishonest, and unable to think about anything other than his penis for longer than an hour. He says at one point that he was enchanted to follow the "Elf Queen" (hated that "elf" and "fae" were interchangeable) to her domain, but I really didn't see him putting up a fight. I see him later longing to go back, feeling like this world's just a stopover.

But that wasn't the most irritating part. The worst was that Kushner seems to assume that the reader is familiar with the tales she's retelling. Several elements were brought up and never explained in a way that made any sense to me. The great riddle that's central to the plot fell flat. Maybe it made more sense if I'd heard the original song, but I hadn't.

Overall, the cost of admission to this book was too high, and the payoff wasn't worth it. I was severely disappointed. It was such an interesting premise. Don't read this unless you're already familiar with the songs and legends. And even then, you have those songs and legends to go by. I'm sure they're more compelling.
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