Werthead

Guy Gavriel Kay

340 posts in this topic

shame, i never find these when they're going on

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On 2017-01-08 at 7:46 PM, unJon said:

Make sure to read Sarantine Mosaic before Children of Earth and Sky. It's not a sequel but there are tons of references and Easter Eggs to the former in the latter. 

From the AMA, the "historical" order is:

Quote

There is a rough timeline, some hints of it are in all of them. The Mosaic is 6th century (Justinian and Theodora), Last Light is King Alfred, Lions is around the millennium, Children is late 15th c, after the fall of Constantinople ... in other words, our world's timeline is pretty much mine.

 

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For someone who hasn't read the Sarantine Mosaic, and won't be able to for a while, what are some of the easter eggs that appear in Children of Earth and Sky? I felt like I was missing references to the artifacts that Pero discovered in the forests, and the flame and feeling of sorrow he encountered in the passageway beneath the palaces...

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There were a number of them. In addition to the two you mentioned:

Spoiler

The small chapel with it's crumbling mosaic and the silent brothers are in the Sarantine Mosaic. Several other locations from Sarantium like the circus, the tunnel between the palaces where a pivotal scene in the Sarantine Mosaic takes place, the temple/church which was the location of the main mosaic being commissioned in the Sarantine Mosaic. I can't remember if the island off Sarantium is mentioned. The mosaic of the two queens in Rhodias which the protagonist in the Sarantine Mosaic creates is referenced. I am missing a few that jumped out at me while I read it.

Shame it will be a  while before you read the Sarantine Mosaic. It's one of GGK's best imo.

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Just read through all these posts. I am a great fan of GGK after stumbling upon Tigana during one of the lulls between ASoI&F books.  Lions is wonderful, wonderful. And reading Under Heaven often leads to tears. River of Stars is beautiful. I like his Viking inspired book (Light is in it, but the title escapes me), but it seemed to lack the lustre of his other books; a bit disjointed in places.

Going to order those books missing from my collection.

Thank you all for reminding me I was neglecting this writer

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8 hours ago, Beathag said:

I like his Viking inspired book (Light is in it, but the title escapes me), but it seemed to lack the lustre of his other books; a bit disjointed in places.

That's Last Light of the Sun you are thinking of. I agree with you that the plot lacked focus (even ignoring Kay's determination to tell the life story of every minor character we meet), it's not a bad book and I did enjoy reading it but I'd say one of his weaker novels.

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I am thrilled to f ind a thread devoted to Guy Gavriel Kay!  I loved most all of his books that I've read.  I started with Sailing to Sarantium, just picked it up off the discount shelf in a store and it sounded interesting.  Fionovar Tapestry was good, but doesn't compare to his other works.

Has anyone read Ysabel?  The description has just never appealed to me so even though I am a big GGK fan, I have never read it.

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49 minutes ago, SansaJonRule said:

I am thrilled to f ind a thread devoted to Guy Gavriel Kay!  I loved most all of his books that I've read.  I started with Sailing to Sarantium, just picked it up off the discount shelf in a store and it sounded interesting.  Fionovar Tapestry was good, but doesn't compare to his other works.

Has anyone read Ysabel?  The description has just never appealed to me so even though I am a big GGK fan, I have never read it.

Yes, Ysabel has a few characters in common with Fionavar.

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5 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

Yes, Ysabel has a few characters in common with Fionavar.

How does it compare to his other works?

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Kind of similar in themes and emotions seen in his other work.  It's been a while, I don't really remember a lot.  Old tragedy continuing on into the present, as it does with history.

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13 hours ago, SansaJonRule said:

How does it compare to his other works?

I'm not that far yet (only in the middle of Fionavar book 2 at the moment).  But I've seen several people say that Ysabel is his weakest book.

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5 hours ago, End of Disc One said:

I'm not that far yet (only in the middle of Fionavar book 2 at the moment).  But I've seen several people say that Ysabel is his weakest book.

Thanks, won't put it on my to read list then!

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23 hours ago, SansaJonRule said:

Has anyone read Ysabel?  The description has just never appealed to me so even though I am a big GGK fan, I have never read it.

I think it is one of his weaker books, but I still enjoyed reading it. It perhaps doesn't have quite the same depth as some of his other books. The most obvious difference is that it is set in the present day (although history and mythology play a big role in it), there was something slightly disconcerting about pop-culture references in a GGK book.

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Having just finished Tigana, I've realised that I have somehow managed to read The Fionavar Tapestry, The Last Light of the Sun, A Song for Arbonne, The Lions of Al-Rassan, Ysabel, and Tigana without actually liking any of them. Kay clearly has a strange addiction to me that transcends the actual story - I think it's the prose.

Tigana was a frustrating one - I actually enjoyed the first part, and was pleased by the magical element (which is otherwise minimal outside Fionavar), but as the book went on, I found it more and more bloated and problematic. I started cheering for Brandin half-way through when the Tigana terrorists started torturing people (and I do see them as terrorists). Oh, and while I have no problem at all with sex scenes, I'm rather scratching my head about the multi-page, lovingly described BDSM scene between our protagonist and a character who then plays no meaningful role in the story. I get that Kay was drawing a connection between an oppressive political situation and odd sexuality, but reading it in 2017, I don't find anything particularly odd about BDSM.

Oh, and I can't be the only one who thinks the Night Walkers/Others/Ember Nights bit influenced ASOIAF - the dead walking, and all that.

Edited by Roose Boltons Pet Leech

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On 5/5/2009 at 6:40 PM, Foreverlad said:

Thank you for saving me the trouble of choosing between a new and old GGK thread.

 

I picked up Tigana awhile back but kept putting it aside. After finishing my most recent book and waiting for my next shipment to arrive, I gave the book another shot and I must say, I looooooove it.

 

Only halfway through, but he makes me feel like a kid reading fantasy for the first time all over again. I never know what's coming next or how things will play out. At this point I'm just along for the ride, waiting to see where the story will take me.

I could not get through this book! I actually asked Audible to refund my credit I found it so bad.

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That feels like quite a fast turn-around! Wonder if it's a follow-up to one of the more recent settings, requiring less research on his part or research he'd already done in the course of a previous novel.

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Oh that’s very exciting. A definite “must read” ASAP for me.

 

thanks for the unexpected good news.

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In the last couple of weeks I've finished both River of Stars and Children of Earth and Sky.  I enjoyed both, but would have to say that River is a much better novel just because there's a sense of direction to it that's mostly lacking in Children. I always felt while reading it that River of Stars was going somewhere, while Children of Earth and Sky felt entirely the opposite. While enjoyable for the individual character stories, Children seems to never get to to it's main story. In fact, I don't think it has a main story line. Maybe that's fine, because, as I said, I still enjoyed reading it. But I didn't absolutely love it and I think that lack of a compelling, integrated central story is one reason why. Also, I think that time period in Eastern Europe, the Adriatic, and the Eastern Mediterranean, following the fall of Constantinople, should be prime source material for history-inspired fantasy or historical fiction. With Children, GGK kind of scraped the surface, sort of like when you go to Baskin Robbins and they give you that little taster spoon of whatever ice cream flavor you ask for. But, what I want is the full half-gallon treatment. Depth is what is missing here, I believe. Of course, to be fair, that wasn't what GGK set out to do. But someone should! 

As an aside, one sort of glaring observance that really stuck out to me was that when Pero finally begins painting the portrait of the Khalif, it was right around the 2/3 mark in the book, but I felt like that scene should have taken place somewhere in the first 100-150 pages. Of course, that's just my opinion. 

Also, I'm not sure how I feel about the style of prose GGK is using in these novels, where he switches occasionally into the present tense. I don't hate it, exactly, but it feels a bit gimmicky to me. I don't know how long he's been doing that, but he does it a lot in both books. I've not read Under Heaven or Ysabel yet, so I'm not sure when this started. I don't recall that technique being present in Last Light of the Sun, which was the last novel I had read of his before about two weeks ago. 

I'm starting Under Heaven tonight and then will re-read Lions of Al-Rassan, which is easily my favorite of his novels. After that, I'll probably start the Fionavar books, which I've not read before. 

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