Thuvia, Maid of Mars and The Chessmen of Mars (Barsoom 4 and 5)

Monday, May 6, 2013


Thuvia, Maid of Mars, 1920
The Chessmen of Mars, 1922
Edgar Rice Burroughs

Premise: Books 4 and 5 of the Barsoom Series, following Warlord of Mars. John Carter has built an alliance over much of Mars, but there are still plenty of dangers to challenge the younger generation. These are the further adventures of the children of John Carter and Dejah Thoris.

Yes, these books are dated and silly and really repetitive, but I love them anyway.

I enjoyed Thuvia, Maid of Mars, which follows Cathoris (John Carter’s son) and Thuvia of Ptarth. Others try to keep them apart, and Thuvia quickly gains a stalkery admirer who kidnaps her and blames Cathoris. The young lovebirds have to rescue each other, escape, and get home in time to stop a war. It’s more of the same from the earlier books, although I still found it a really fun read with some new supporting characters and enjoyable action.

On the other hand, I really adored The Chessmen of Mars, which I think is best described as a fairy tale retold as a space opera adventure with romantic comedy elements.

I mean, here's the beginning: A princess meets a foreign prince at a ball. He seems to be just a rich jerk, so she won't give him the time of day, but he falls hard for her. The princesses' transport is caught in a storm and she's stranded halfway around the world, so the prince rushes after her. He suffers his own setbacks, and by the time they find each other, he's in disguise as a common soldier, and he swears himself to her service. More adventures, escapes, new friends, new enemies, and romantic banter follows.

I really enjoyed Tara of Helium (daughter of John and Dejah), she was strong and brave and honorable. It takes her time to love Gahan of Gathol, and I have a better sense of their romance than of some of the others in this series. While she doesn’t get as much time to be badass as I’d like, she is badass, and she gets more time following her point of view than the other ladies of Mars.

The humor in Chessmen of Mars tickled me as well. At times the narration seems to be having a great deal of fun with its own heightened romantic style.

I have been a huge sucker for the blend of chivalry, adventure, romance and wonder in these books so far, and I very much enjoyed the fourth and fifth entries in the series.

Thuvia, Maid of Mars - 4 Stars
The Chessmen of Mars - 5 Stars

Both books are out of copyright in the United States. Download for Free: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/72
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1153

2 comments:

Tony Laplume said...

I'll be reading the first few books in this series maybe next year (I have a whole list), so it's good to hear that they're fun reads.

Lindsay said...

I think they're quite fun, although the plots are formulaic and get repetitive if you read more than a couple in one sitting. :)

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