The Innkeeper’s Song by Peter S. Beagle

Innkeeper's SongINFORMATION

Goodreads: The Innkeeper’s Song
Series: The Innkeeper’s World #1
Source: Purchased
Published: 1993


Tikat has just seen his lover Lukassa drowned and resurrected, but before they can be reunited, Lukassa is swept off on a quest to save a wizard’s life.  Tikat will do anything to be with Lukassa again, but the dead do not always remember.


The Innkeeper’s Song contains all the elements of a fantasy that should wound the heart.  Separated lovers.  A hardened warrior with a sorrowful past.  A woman on the run.  A wizard waiting for death. Their stories intertwine, showing the threads that connect us all.  And yet, something is lacking.

Many of the stories contained in this book are full of heartache. I yearned for Lukassa to return Tikat’s love and I wished Lal and Nyanteneri could find happiness despite their pasts.  But that was all. I did not empathize deeply with any of the characters and I did not care particularly what happened to them; my feelings, my wish for their well-being, was the surface feeling you would hope a decent person would have for another.  But there was nothing personal.  And the other characters affected me even less.

I found the wizard so lifeless that I could not feel the terror he faced as he accepted that his death would be no death but an endless nightmare.  I held no strong feelings for Rosseth and I did not care for Karsh, despite an attempt on the part of the author to illustrate his hidden, finer feelings.  Marinesha was likeable enough, but barely present in the story.  My disinterest in the characters and the slow-moving narrative of which they were a part was so little that reading the book almost became a chore. I plugged along with the vain hope that I would see in this story the beauty that I hoped was there. I never did.

The language is beautiful enough, and that was the thing that kept me reading in the end.  It’s not perfect, by any means.  You can sometimes feel the strain as Beagle attempts to make it do something clever or something lyrical.  But it is fair enough.  It is different from what most novels do.

I think Beagle’s The Last Unicorn is a really breathtaking work, and I hoped another story of his would possess that same rare power.  But The Innkeeper’s Song was a lifeless story for me.  And I’m sorry I could not like it more.

3 starsKrysta 64


19 thoughts on “The Innkeeper’s Song by Peter S. Beagle

  1. jubilare says:

    Alas. “You can sometimes feel the strain as Beagle attempts to make it do something clever or something lyrical.” It hurts to see that on page. I am sorry to hear it of this book.
    I think I may have come to the point where I usually recognize when I’m embellishing in order to improve something. It invariably means I need to go back and re-do the whole darn thing because the problem is deep. 😛


    • Krysta says:

      Sometimes a story is good enough that I’m willing to overlook a bit of strain. This was not this story. And I’ve seen Beagle do better so I am a bit disappointed in him here.

      I suspect I may have a deep-rooted fear of sounding too fancy, maybe from learning how to write like a chemist (That’s actually a book–Write Like a Chemist). Or maybe it’s just my own paranoia about accidentally sounding ridiculous instead of beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jubilare says:

        Being the reviewer you are, I suspect the latter has a lot to do with it. The more times you see someone try and fail, the more paranoid it’s apt to make you. I cringe at some of the over-flowery stuff of my earlier years trying to write, and I still worry a lot. Sort of “is this actually meaningful, or does it sound pretentious?” And here I would like to use the tongue -out smiley, but alas! You get the drift. 😉


        • Krysta says:

          I do think it helps to have someone read over my stuff and ask them if they feel slightly nauseated by the floweriness or not. No one has yet admitted to actual nausea. 😉 But I think you’re onto something, too, when you bring up your past writing. I know my past writing was…not the best. And I sometimes worry that maybe I haven’t improved as much as I should have.


          • jubilare says:

            Have you kept any of your earlier stuff? It’s painful, in it’s way, but comparing then and now helps me recognize just how far I’ve come. You’ve probably come a lot farther than you think. But if you ever want to talk writing theory, it’s something I love. ^_^


            • Krysta says:

              I have a binder somewhere of old stuff. Sometimes I go back and I actually think “Hey, that wasn’t bad for a thirteen-year-old!” Sometimes I just cringe.

              You do seem to have a very thoughtful philosophy of writing. I admire that as I haven’t had much time for writing in recent years and I’ve fallen off for the most part. But it’s part of the reason I love reading your blog!

              Liked by 1 person

            • jubilare says:

              I mostly just cringe. But then, I’ve always been pretty hard on myself in that area.
              Hopefully you will get back to it. 🙂 My muse seemed to dry up for a while, until discussing writing with another person revived it. ^_^


            • jubilare says:

              Time is always at a premium… the only reason I write at all is because if I don’t, my muse (and my critique partner) will give me no rest. If you’re not in a stage of your life where writing can shoulder out other things that take your time, then I wouldn’t worry about it. When it’s ready, the muse will make you make time.

              Liked by 1 person

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