This is part of my 2nds challenge.

Thomas the Rhymer is based on the ballad of the same name and is the life story of Thomas who is first a wandering minstrel who is then seduced by the Queen of Elfland and spends seven years in her court. Then he has to live with the consequences.

The book has four parts and each has a different, first person point-of-view narrator. The first part is told by Gavin who is an elderly sheep herder. He lives with his wife in a cottage outside any villages and Thomas happens to ask a place to stay for a while. The young man is sick and the couple nurses him back to health. He grows fond of the old couple and returns from time to time to tell about his travels and to play his songs. Here he also meets Elspeth, a girl from the neighboring farm. In due course, the youngsters fall in love but Thomas isn’t ready to stay in any one place for too long. And then, one time he stays away for a very long time.

The second part is told by Thomas himself; about the way he met the Queen and about his time in the Faerie Court which isn’t a friendly place to a human. The third part is narrated by Gavin’s wife Meg and the third by Elspeth.

I’ve heard people complain that despite the first person POV, the characters are all pretty distant. I felt that the narrators weren’t distant to my tastes but I can see how other people might feel differently. After all, they are indeed narrators; they are telling the story to the reader rather than allowing the reader access right into their thoughts. That’s why the secondary characters might feel rather cold, too. We never see what the narrator really thinks about them but just what s/he tells us. I rather liked Gavin, Elspeth, and Meg but Thomas felt more distant. I guess partly because the Elfland Court and the people there aren’t human so they can’t be described that way, either.

The Court had a definite impact on Thomas but I felt that he didn’t impact them or the Queen in the end. But I guess it’s to be expected that the little mortal can’t change much, or anything, in an immortal court.

The parts of the story that where set on Earth were well described and vivid. Unfortunately, Elfland didn’t feel as vivid to me.

Overall: I’d certainly recommend this to anyone who wants more thoughtful fantasy or fairy tale fantasy.