Customer Reviews


52 Reviews
5 star:
 (34)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (3)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A memorable tale
I'm not entirely sure what I expected when I picked this book up - a tired rehashing of the old ballad, perhaps - but it certainly wasn't the intriguing, heart-wrenching and utterly real tale Pamela Dean spins for us. I have never seen such a perfect synthesis of the "natural" and the "supernatural," if indeed such a division exists. "Tam Lin" made me grateful to be an...
Published on 3 Oct 2002 by witchfinder_general2

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tam Lin? Where are you? Come here, boy!
I picked up this book because I was already familiar with the Fairy Tale Series, and especially with the ballad of Tam Lin. So here's my major complaint: Where is the legend? For 75 % of the book, there is almost no resemblence between the detailed lives of the students and the dark, exciting legend. Oh, you can pick up a few tidbits here and there: the names Janet...
Published on 2 Aug 1999


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A memorable tale, 3 Oct 2002
I'm not entirely sure what I expected when I picked this book up - a tired rehashing of the old ballad, perhaps - but it certainly wasn't the intriguing, heart-wrenching and utterly real tale Pamela Dean spins for us. I have never seen such a perfect synthesis of the "natural" and the "supernatural," if indeed such a division exists. "Tam Lin" made me grateful to be an English Literature student and appreciative of my time as a student - and that time is flying just as it does with Janet and her friends, despite several comments here as to the speed at which the four years of their education pass. There are several loose ends, but life doesn't always tie up neatly and the Otherworld of the story is something that cannot be explained in detail - it is haunting, confusing and powerful, just as this book is.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Famous, 17 Nov 2001
I've read Tam Lin three times now, and enjoyed it very much each time. That's always a good sign, but I still can't puzzle out exactly why I enjoy it so much. Here, then, are the pros and cons!
Pro -
Lovely writing style.
Lots of quotes.
Not afraid of being clever.
Lots of lovely detail.
Complex enough to stand re-reading.
Allusive and elusive.
I enjoyed Janet's character.
Another version of Tam Lin's story - reminding me of other books I enjoyed. These are Diana Wynne Jones' "Fire and Hemlock" and Elizabeth Marie Pope's The Perilous Gard. Both of those are 5 star books.
Cons.
Odd pacing. Not enough detail in the later years.
A few loose ends... such as the ghosts. Or maybe I just haven't got that yet!
The characters don't quite come off for me. I feel that Dean knew them so well she could see and hear them, but didn't pass that on to me. I mean, I know Tina is meant to be annoying, but she seems no worse than a lot of others.
There are some things that seem to have little connection with the story, but *should* have had.
Despite the details, the book read almost like first draft... an editor could and maybe should have had a hand on the reins.
And yet -
Still I like it a lot.
I'd recommend it to anyone who loves words and ideas, who is tolerant of loose structure and who, like me, loves a book that doesn't spill all its secrets at once.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The sheer joy of language, 30 Aug 1999
By A Customer
As an English major, and avid and passionate reader, and a lover of all that language has to offer, it's no small matter for me to select a favorite book- but I can, and that book is Tam Lin. And if you don't derive pleasure from reading incredible prose, this isn't really the book for you- and it definitely isn't the book for you if you don't want to take the time to reread, to search for the hidden gems. Many reviewers complained that it didn't focus enough on the ballad- and it's true that she didn't write a direct translation. What Pamela Dean did do, however, is create a masterpiece that captures the original ballad's essence and meaning, and gave it a unique spin of its own. That is no small feat, and I am eternally grateful to Ms. Dean for writing this book; it is frequently honest and insightful; it has the most realistically drawn characters I've ever seen in a novel of its kind. It's perfect for anyone who loves literature, for it's jam-packed with allusions that never seem forced, but rather carefully selected to enhance some element of the story. I recommend this book to everyone, even though I realize many won't appreciate it for all that it is.
And I, too, would love to see a sequel- I spend enough time making one up in my head.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tam Lin? Where are you? Come here, boy!, 2 Aug 1999
By A Customer
I picked up this book because I was already familiar with the Fairy Tale Series, and especially with the ballad of Tam Lin. So here's my major complaint: Where is the legend? For 75 % of the book, there is almost no resemblence between the detailed lives of the students and the dark, exciting legend. Oh, you can pick up a few tidbits here and there: the names Janet and Thomas are the same as in the legend, and sure enough, Thomas has grey eyes, but most of the connections the reader is expected to make are reaching. The book would have done better to give more information about the twisted world of the Classics department - especially after hours. The setting - a college in the early 70's, is not particularly well-suited to the legend. I was hoping for a more original blending of the two settings (college and that of Tam Lin) because I have read another of the series - Briar Rose - which blended the two so well it was sickening and beautiful. If you like English or have been to college (in any year - the descriptions are timeless) you will enjoy the apt, witty, and all-too-real representations of class, annoying roommates, dorm food, etc. But the descriptions get tedious - especially the unending stream of allusions we are supposed to get to romantic English. This story could have been made 200 pages shorter and lost nothing. Characterizations are sound and believable. But still, the legends are incomplete. Just when the author begins to get into a scene in which we think we will FINALLY learn some dark important information, some clues to the puzzle, she cuts it off short, and forgets it for another fifty pages. The one exception is the play the students put on in the middle of the book - that scene really delievers metaphorically. But that's about all we see of that. Then at the climax, the author seems to remember that "Oh yeah, this is supposed be about Tam Lin and the Queen of the Faeries," and she crams an almost direct copy of the ballad into the last fifteen pages. Is this book bad? - No. It just left me wanting something more. What we have here is a portrait of college life and relationships, and not the entrancing, wrenching retelling of Tam Lim.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars She missed the point of the ballad, 10 April 2012
By 
R. Draper - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tam Lin (Paperback)
I absolutely adore the ballad of Tam Lin. I thought that I would adore this book. I didn't. Unlike my husband, I didn't give up after a couple of chapters. I thought that, with all the great reviews, it would have to get better. Unfortunately, that was not the case and it is a very long book to read just to find that out. I could not relate to the characters or the situation which was, no doubt, a realistic account of 1970's American Campus life with a group of adolescents who take themselves far too seriously. Dean, according to the afterword, connected the ballad with the experience of adolescence. However, I feel that the main point of the ballad is the concept of true love holding throughout the trials and tribulations of life. Without giving too much away, I felt that this treatment of the ballad went against its true character. The climax of the novel left me cold. Or maybe I just got incredibly frustrated with the reference to the faerie lands as "Elfland"! In summary, don't read this if you love British folklore. Do read this if you would like to see such folklore given the "Twilight" treatment.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tam Lin, 16 Aug 2011
By 
This review is from: Tam Lin (Paperback)
I enjoyed it on the whole, but it was a bit hard going if you don't know too much about the American educational system. I suspect it might be more appreciated by the transatlantic audience that I guess it was written for.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent on its own merits..., 15 Aug 1999
By A Customer
A lot of the other reviews that I've read have criticized this book as not devoting enough of it's time to the retelling of the old ballad. That may or may not be true for a person that reads it for that aspect. I came to Dean's _Tam Lin_ through the recommendations of multiple friends, so all I expected was a good read. I found it. In fact, I almost felt that her marvelous characters and setting were wasted on a story that didn't leave much room for a sequel. I liked the slow set up that allowed us to get to know the characters and the way the relationships grew and changed over time. While the big jumps through time were a little jolting, I can't imgaine how long this book would have had to have been to describe all four years with the detail spent on the first year, or on the last two months. This is one of the few books that really stuck with me for days after I read it, and one that I definitely want to read again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtle and engrossing, 8 Jun 1999
By A Customer
If you aren't the type who likes subtlety, don't bother. If you have to be hit on the head with parallels and have the 'fantasy' environment thrown in your face from page one, go read Jordan. If you like your mysteries to creep up on you, your fantasy to slowly interweave with real life until it comes out in a final conclusion... then read this. If you have already read and liked this, look for Diana Wynne Jones' Fire and Hemlock.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow! This is the good stuff., 9 Mar 1999
By A Customer
I, too, found this book by chance at the library. It was lying on the checkout counter and when my selected books had been processed, the clerk asked, "Do you want that one, too? It's been lying there a long time?" Impulsively I added it to my selections. Ah, serendipity! What a thriller, what a human drama, what a delicious smorgasbord of literary references. This was my first taste of Pamela Dean, but won't be the last. The girl can write! For the record, I'm a picky sort and fantasy is *not* usually my bag. Score!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, wonderful book!, 12 Jun 1998
By A Customer
I loved it. I absolutely did. Before reading it, I did know the plot of the ballad, having heard the Fairport Convention version and having read the text through (and having read _Fire and Hemlock_ by Diana Wynne Jones) so I did look carefully for the elements I knew should by in there. And even though the actual plot of the ballad doesn't start until, probably, page 408, there are some things (like the guy named Thomas Lane, and Janet Carter herself) that should throw up red flags. I adore Shakespeare and other works of literature and although I didn't get most of the allusions (having never read much romantic poetry; give me a break! I'm only 15!) I still loved it. Her writing style is wonderful. I wish I could write like that. The book almost made me want to major in liberal arts when I get to college (I'm a musician). Those who really love the ballad and are sticklers for actuality probably won't like it. Those who like good literature and people who aren't theater majors but probably should be will. Read it!!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xa516fb58)

This product

Tam Lin
Tam Lin by Pamela Dean (Paperback - 3 Aug 2006)
Used & New from: 0.78
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews