Thuvia, Maid of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As is true for most series that continues on for several books, the weight of worldbuilding often takes on much more significance than the outright plot of the tale before us. To be clear, I don't think that's a bad thing. It showcases the author's imagination and the depth to which he can take it.
By this point, Mars feels like a very fleshed-out character in its own right. Its kingdoms vivid, its battles, the weight of its history is bright and shiny in my mind. Little of it is old history. All the epic battles and drastic measures of the first three books showcase the highest ideal, indeed. Bravery! Conquest! War! And of course, Women!
This next book moves away from John Carter and illustrates how his son can take over the page. Again, this isn't a bad thing. The old lions ought to step away for the young blood. Interestingly enough, the oft-spurned Thuvia finally gets her own pride of lions fighting for her.
We'll ignore, just for a moment, how much blood is spilled for her sake.
All told, the adventure is quite excellent. Every time the fighting starts, I'm always in the thick of it. The worldbuilding lends a lot of weight to everything, so much so that I am hard-pressed not to compare this old, old SF series with so many that have come later by well-respected writers... only to find the later types lacking.
Consider me surprised. Burroughs, even though it totally lacks modern feminist sentiments, has staying power. And, believe it or not, it actually feels REFRESHING. Men can be real men again, folks! And yes, I laugh, but none of this is a bad thing. :)
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