ERB Book Reviews
Edgar Rice Burroughs book reviews from fans like you.
THUVIA, MAID OF MARS
Reviewed by: Karen Pharo 2000-10-20
When Thuvia of Ptarth first appeared in the unforgettable adventure chronicled in "The Gods of Mars" she became my favorite Barsoomian heroine, and a vague part of me realized that she would stay my favorite-- a premature vote considering I was only on the second book of the series. But Thuvia was intelligent, resourceful, intrepid, and had a kind of exotic beauty and self-possession that colored the infamous Dejah Thoris quite pale in comparison.
Needless to say, then, I was rather disappointed with Thuvia when she starred in the novel bearing her own name. ERB whittled her down into something of an immature and often annoying version of her former glorious self. Now, I have no qualms about the guy-rescuing-girl thing: that plot is one that ERB does best, and despite all the feminist reminders that some of my friends have offered, I find it quite engaging-- repeatedly, as I continue to read and re-read his books. However, considering what a relatively complex female character ERB created in MARS #2 (we must recall we are talking traditional ERB cardboard cut-outs here), the Thuvia of MARS #4 is in my eyes little more than a pretty statuette who, when abducted, supplies the means for our master adventure-writer to invite us once again into his boundless imagination.
"Thuvia, Maid of Mars" carries us to far-off Lothar, a mythical place where the population of a once mighty empire has dwindled into a forgotten few who have developed their mental powers significantly. There are both "realists" and "etherealists" who constantly debate the truth of one's existence: are things honestly as they seem to be or are they just what humans want to see and have caused themselves to believe? The novel is, in my opinion, another of ERB's fascinating commentaries on our own world and the schools of thought that circulate within it; and despite my disappointment with ERB's portrayal of Thuvia in this adventure, "Thuvia, Maid of Mars" still remains one of my favorites of his Barsoomian tales.