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Guy Gavriel Kay

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For me, the scenes with their family, before Catriona dedicates herself to the 'mission', were deeply moving.

Juxtaposing these with the family life scenes in Rovigo's home, with his variety of daughters, deepened all that.  One didn't see this sort of thing in fantasies before.

The scenery, the skies, are lovely.

Tigana is rich, though perhaps a little over complicated with not one, but two tyrants, etc.  But real politik is like that!  It was such a delight, reading a fantasy about adult matters, and relatively sophisticated too.

Edited by Zorral

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7 hours ago, Jo498 said:

 (Partly because I would have to buy them, if I could easily check them out at a local library, I'd probably have read them but I cannot get English books here in rural Germany, unless I buy them myself.)

Did you check if your library system now lends English ebooks over Overdrive? Because it made a huge difference for me in a somewhat similar situation.

I loved Tigana - it used to be my favorite Kay along with the Sarantium duology, but I haven't re-read it in a long time, so the suck fairy might have visited. As chance would have it, I have recently read his "River of Stars", which I liked, but not as much as "Under Heaven", and am now in the middle of "Children of Earth and Sky", which, for some reason proved a somewhat tough going for me. In general, I am disappointed by his obstinately cleaving to what I can only call secondary world variations on RL history... particularly since  even those changes that he makes don't affect things long-term. Maybe that's the reason for my present difficulties - because in my beloved Sarantine duology, history was primed to go in a different direction for Sarantium than for Byzantium, but now it was revealed that apparently it had all been all cosmetic?!

That's why, but to much greater degree, I also couldn't warm up to the much lauded and excellently written "The Dragon Waiting" by John M. Ford - I just couldn't stop thinking that in such changed circumstances none of those people would be around/in power and War of the Roses wouldn't be still happening. Some other war for succession, possibly, but then again maybe not even that, given how much of it was rooted in the previous events, which in this secondary world took a completely different track.

Still, as long as Kay keeps writing, I'll be reading his stuff... eventually.

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1 hour ago, Maia said:

Did you check if your library system now lends English ebooks over Overdrive? Because it made a huge difference for me in a somewhat similar situation.

I loved Tigana - it used to be my favorite Kay along with the Sarantium duology, but I haven't re-read it in a long time, so the suck fairy might have visited. As chance would have it, I have recently read his "River of Stars", which I liked, but not as much as "Under Heaven", and am now in the middle of "Children of Earth and Sky", which, for some reason proved a somewhat tough going for me. In general, I am disappointed by his obstinately cleaving to what I can only call secondary world variations on RL history... particularly since  even those changes that he makes don't affect things long-term. Maybe that's the reason for my present difficulties - because in my beloved Sarantine duology, history was primed to go in a different direction for Sarantium than for Byzantium, but now it was revealed that apparently it had all been all cosmetic?!

That's why, but to much greater degree, I also couldn't warm up to the much lauded and excellently written "The Dragon Waiting" by John M. Ford - I just couldn't stop thinking that in such changed circumstances none of those people would be around/in power and War of the Roses wouldn't be still happening. Some other war for succession, possibly, but then again maybe not even that, given how much of it was rooted in the previous events, which in this secondary world took a completely different track.

Still, as long as Kay keeps writing, I'll be reading his stuff... eventually.

I feel that way too.  This coincides with his poor and very simple 'fantasy' language substitutions for the RL languages.

Like you too, I will keep reading his books.  This hasn't been the case for a whole lot of other writers.

 

Edited by Zorral

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44 minutes ago, Calibandar said:

Got an arc of Brightness Long ago. That's what I call early :)

Seriously? Through the U.S. or U.K. publisher?

Edited by Ran

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1 minute ago, Calibandar said:

It's from the US publisher.

Huh. Penguin Random House. That name is familiar somehow... :pimp:

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That is early as publication isn't until May, 2019.

The work appears promising, judging by the publisher's catalog descriptive text.

 

 

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I was asked to wait before posting my review for A Brightness Long Ago. Now that the pub date is just a few weeks away, you can now check it out here.

Not as sprawling or as vast in scope as Under Heaven or River of Stars, Kay's latest remains another memorable read. :)

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1 hour ago, Lord Patrek said:

I was asked to wait before posting my review for A Brightness Long Ago. Now that the pub date is just a few weeks away, you can now check it out here.

Not as sprawling or as vast in scope as Under Heaven or River of Stars, Kay's latest remains another memorable read. :)

Many thanks.  So, I would guess it takes place about 30 years before the events of Children of Earth and Sky?

My impression (from the latter) was that the fall of Sarantium and subsequent conquest of the Balkans equivalent was a far swifter process than in real life.  The Empress was described as having had the East at her feet when she was young, which suggests the Empire was still a great power until it fell, unlike 15th century Byzantium.

 

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Something like that. There are no exact dates, but the tale begins a year or so before the fall of Sarantium and ends not long after news reach the West that it has fallen.

As mentioned in the review, I'm dearly hoping for a book or series that will focus on the fall of Sarantium and its aftermath.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Lord Patrek said:

Something like that. There are no exact dates, but the tale begins a year or so before the fall of Sarantium and ends not long after news reach the West that it has fallen.

As mentioned in the review, I'm dearly hoping for a book or series that will focus on the fall of Sarantium and its aftermath.

This places the novel before Children of Earth and Sky in Kay's European setting, chronology-wise. Thank you for telling us!

I'm not quite sure if Kay succeeded in his goal of balancing the five principal characters of Children of Earth and Sky. Marin didn't feel like he had quite the same emphasis placed on him in the work as Danica, Pero and Leonora. I still really like the work, however.

A novel depicting the fall of Sarantium would allow Kay to juxtapose Gurcu (his version of Mehmet II) in Children of Earth and Sky with his younger self, so I'd be interested in that. As a tangent, I can't recall if there's any references in Children of Earth and Sky to the Fourth Crusade, which is one of the key events that broke the back of Byzantine power.

Edited by Cithrin's Ale

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On 5/6/2009 at 7:47 PM, Prince Who Was Promised said:

Was the Fionavar Tapestry any good?

 

On 5/6/2009 at 8:22 PM, williamjm said:

 

I'd say it was reasonably good, but not as good as Kay's other books, and different in that it is a fairly traditional High Fantasy with mages, elves (called the Lios Alfar, but they're fairly close to traditional elves), dwarves (who are actually called dwarves), dragons, an evil god in a dark fortress, bits of Arthur legend (including Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere as major characters) etc. Some bits of it are very good (the three nights on the Summer Tree, for example) but some bits I was unconvinced by. My biggest problems with it were mostly related to the five main characters who come from modern-day (well, the 1980s) Canada and are essentially kidnapped by a mage to join the fight against the evil god in Fionavar. I'm not particularly keen on that plot device in general, and there quite a few times when I found the reactions of the modern-day Canadians to the medieval fantasy realm to be unconvincing, they were just too accepting of some of the wild things they saw and the radically different society they encountered.

I agree with 'williamjm'. I loved the use of Celtic lore in the first 2 books of the trilogy, and I did like the basic idea of transporting modern day people into a medieval fantasy realm, even if it was not always executed very well. I hated the inclusion of Authurian legend. That was just too much to take. It's been more than a decade since I've read it, but I recall the ending feeling out of sync with the rest of the story.

I'm thrilled to see a GGK thread on here cuz I love his books but no one I talk to ever seems to have heard of him. My favorite was Last Light of the Sun, followed by the Sarantium Mosaic. One of the things I liked to do was after I read the book was to read about the historical period and events on which they are based.

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I am sure this book has been discussed, but as there are 20 pages of discussion on this thread and I don't know any way to search a thread...comments/feelings about Ysabel? I have read and loved most of GKK's books, but every time I read the description of Ysabel, it just doesn't grab me.

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2 minutes ago, SansaJonRule said:

I agree with 'williamjm'. I loved the use of Celtic lore in the first 2 books of the trilogy, and I did like the basic idea of transporting modern day people into a medieval fantasy realm, even if it was not always executed very well. I hated the inclusion of Authurian legend. That was just too much to take. It's been more than a decade since I've read it, but I recall the ending feeling out of sync with the rest of the story.

When I saw the notification about a reply to a post in this thread, I wasn't expecting it to be quoting something I said almost 10 years ago. I haven't really changed my mind on it since then, but I will say that I do still remember clearly some of the scenes in the book despite it being over a decade since I read it, so it must be doing something right.

3 minutes ago, SansaJonRule said:

I am sure this book has been discussed, but as there are 20 pages of discussion on this thread and I don't know any way to search a thread...comments/feelings about Ysabel? I have read and loved most of GKK's books, but every time I read the description of Ysabel, it just doesn't grab me.

It isn't a bad book, I enjoyed it but I wouldn't rank it among his best books. There did seem something disconcerting about Kay writing a modern teenager, although he does still manage to throw in plenty of history as well to form the backstory.

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Posted (edited)
On 10 April 2019 at 12:37 PM, Cithrin's Ale said:

This places the novel before Children of Earth and Sky in Kay's European setting, chronology-wise. Thank you for telling us!

I'm not quite sure if Kay succeeded in his goal of balancing the five principal characters of Children of Earth and Sky. Marin didn't feel like he had quite the same emphasis placed on him in the work as Danica, Pero and Leonora. I still really like the work, however.

A novel depicting the fall of Sarantium would allow Kay to juxtapose Gurcu (his version of Mehmet II) in Children of Earth and Sky with his younger self, so I'd be interested in that. As a tangent, I can't recall if there's any references in Children of Earth and Sky to the Fourth Crusade, which is one of the key events that broke the back of Byzantine power.

One minor comment I'd make is that (to me) Gurcu is a mix of Mehmet II and Suleiman the Magnificent, given that his armies have conquered the entire (fantasy) Balkans.

In the same way that I saw Leontius as a combination of Belisarius and Leo III (the Iconoclast).

Edited by SeanF

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54 minutes ago, williamjm said:

When I saw the notification about a reply to a post in this thread, I wasn't expecting it to be quoting something I said almost 10 years ago. I haven't really changed my mind on it since then, but I will say that I do still remember clearly some of the scenes in the book despite it being over a decade since I read it, so it must be doing something right.

It isn't a bad book, I enjoyed it but I wouldn't rank it among his best books. There did seem something disconcerting about Kay writing a modern teenager, although he does still manage to throw in plenty of history as well to form the backstory.

OMG!!!!  :D That must have been some surprise! I didn't even look at the date this thread started. In fact, I didn't know this forum was that old.

What about the Under Heaven books?

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13 hours ago, SansaJonRule said:

OMG!!!!  :D That must have been some surprise! I didn't even look at the date this thread started. In fact, I didn't know this forum was that old.

What about the Under Heaven books?

I am very biased and forgive Kay for most of his faults, but I'll give my thoughts on this. Under Heaven feels like Kay is writing 'about' characters rather than from their perspective. It doesn't feel as 'personal' as Lions of Al-Rassan or Song for Arbonne. It's hard to describe, admittedly. I do love the work, however. I like the descriptions of the nature in the work and feel that Kay's commentary on historical forces works best in this work. 

River of Stars is interesting in that it explores the eventual consequences of the political conflict in Under Heaven. It makes the books feel like a duology of sorts. I also appreciate that it has a character who is thinking of his role in history. The book is very much focused on military events. In all honesty, it sort of feels like Kay tried to do his version of a Bernard Cornwell novel.

SeanF, I never made the association between Suleiman and Gurcu. Thank you for pointing that out to me. I always found myself thinking of Suleiman when I read about Brandin in Tigana, however; Brandin and Dianora feel like a parallel to Suleiman and Roxelana to me. In fact, I sort of see Tigana as a hypothetical scenario in which the Ottoman Empire (as symbolized by Ygrath) manages to become a dominant power in the Italian peninsula. Not quite sure what this makes Alberico, admittedly. Maybe some amalgamation of French/Spanish/Norman influence? 

 

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