PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Musk

Finding a truly great one-off fantasy read can be difficult for many readers, but this could just be the book to get everyone reading fantasy. Originally published in 1990, Thomas the Rhymer has just been published under Gollancz’s ‘Fantasy Masterworks’. This will hopefully enable the title to gain more popularity with a new generation of readers. The title truly has the potential to get people reading fantasy, and this should be on every teenagers reading list. The novel won the World Fantasy Award in 1991, and that alone makes it worth the read.

Ellen Kushner manages to capture the imagination of readers by using the mythical legend of Thomas the Rhymer and creating a magnificent story told effortlessly through the point of view of four very distinct characters. The author sets up the story so the reader gets the point of view of Gavin, who sees Thomas as a bright but misguided boy who still hasn’t fully matured. However, when Thomas is taken by the Queen of Elfland, we see it through Thomas’ eyes. This then allows the reader to discover the ‘real’ Thomas and shows the vulnerability of the character. We then see the character through the eyes of two women, who both hold a special relationship with him. It’s these final two sections that show how well Kushner has been able to craft truly memorable characters whilst they are only in it for a few sections of the story.

The novel is effectively a love story, with many overall themes running throughout. These range from companionship, lies, human emotions and mortality. Kushner created a novel that is suitable for a wide range of readers and is highly recommended to readers of both fantasy and non-fantasy. Melodies are weaved into the novel with an effortless flow, and the deep emotional feel to the novel shows that this is a novel that transcends through multiple genres. This novel has influenced modern day writers and deserves to be on the top of everyone’s reading list.

Thomas the Rhymer is simply one of the best standalone modern fantasies written. A moving tale of betrayal and forgiveness.



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