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Guy Gavriel Kay

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The Lions of Al-Rassan is a ferociously readable terrible book. The further I get from it the more it annoys me. Everything is too pat in the worst, most David Eddings sort of way. Everyone is too witty, the two main characters are too perfect

Sorry for the tangent, but who do you consider the two? I'm asking because I thought of there being three, and I'm curious about which one doesn't stick out in other people's minds.

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Sarantine Mosaic


Under Heaven


River of Stars


(really big gap)


Lions of Al-Rassan



If Lions had been my first GGK book, instead of my third after Sarantine, there's no way I would have read a second one. I still regret that I slogged through 100 pages in instead of quitting earlier.


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Very curious to hear more boarders weigh in on this. I've only read Lions and Tigana and like but don't love both and yet feel like it's an author that could do better. Early returns not good on this account!

I'm looking to see who weighed in on this so that for anyone who said Lions was good, I know never ever ever to take any recommendations from them.

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Hmm, seems I was mixing up Kay with Kim Stanley Robinson and Clive Barker.



Don't think I've ever read him. And the works don't really seem to appeal to me either.

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I've only read six GGK's so far (and that's counting Fionavar Tapestry as 3).



My ranking of what I've read would be



1. Tigana


2. A Song for Arbonne


3. The Lions of Al-Rassan


4-6 Fionavar Tapestry.



As I understand it Fionavar is very different from his later books. I believe he actually worked for the Tolkien estate when he was young, and Fionavar is quite specifically his own response to Tolkien and was sort of getting that out of his system when he was a young man. I think it's actually meant to be "derivative." I didn't care for the Arthurian part of it myself -- but on the other hand I think it's better than a lot of other books by authors who are doing just a pure Tolkien rip-off.



It used to be on this board that Tigana was a book people either loved or hated. I loved it and found its ending made me think about the morality of the characters in a new way. There have been others on this board in the past who simply hated some of the characters and find it their least favorite of GGK's works.


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I believe he actually worked for the Tolkien estate when he was young,.

He helped edit the Silmarillion (he gets a shoutout in the acknowledgements). I actually give him a lot of credit for going the way he did with his career after Fionavar, since he could easily have made pots of money churning out Tolkien-lite fantasy quests and using that connection to sell them.

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I'm looking to see who weighed in on this so that for anyone who said Lions was good, I know never ever ever to take any recommendations from them.

Yeah, I read the Fionavar Tapestry way back in High School)I liked it back then, God knows what I would think of it now), then read Lions and stopped. Always meant to give another novel a shot, I have Last Light of the Sun sitting here on the pile, because VIKINGS!

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1. Last Light of the Sun- it's a "sparer" style than Kay's other books, and I think that works well with the setting. Plus it's smaller in scope than most of Kay's books, and the most melancholy.


2. The Sarantine Mosiac novels. I loved the juxtaposition between the sophisticated court and the more pagan aspects of the fringes of the empire


3. Under Heaven This was an absolutely gorgeously written novel


4. A Song For Arbonne


5.Tigana There are problems with this novel, but IMO it has the most memorable characters of all of Kay's works



Those are the first five. Of the next four, I'd say that they are all worth reading but Ysabel. I wouldn't reread Lions, but I'm glad that I gave it a shot.


6. A River Of Stars


7. Fionavar Tapestry. These are very simple books, they have a YA feel to them


8. Lions- I just didn't enjoy this book. Neither the characters nor the plot ever grabbed me.


Ysabel- I didn't finish this one. I can't believe that Kay even wrote it.


Melanie

Edited by Mellybelle

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Merged at my whim.

Whimsical mods! Do you see what power has done to you?

On topic: Under Heaven: awesome.

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There is no heavenly and poetic tale of western and midwestern Canada!!

Perhaps Lions vs. Bluebombers?

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Roughriders vs Bombers, maybe. Annual heartbreak on Labour Day weekend, unless that hits too close to home for GGK as a one-time Winnipegger.



The occasional whim has to be indulged or there would be an epidemic of blue pencil across the board.



I used to like GGK more than I do at the moment: a phase I'm going through, I think. There are bits that are always beautiful to read, though.


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I mostly like Tigana very much. As well, the more I learn of the relationship between Venice and Poland in her golden age, the disappearances of Poland, which included enforced laws against using the Polish language, any expression of Polish culture -- including lullabies, and the politics of the great powers that made for the devouring and disappearance of Poland -- the more I like it. What I don't like is the wholesale theft or borrowing, what ever it might be classified, but it still indicates a failure of true imagination -- from Carlo Ginzberg's The Night Battles, which was published in English not too long before Tigana was published here. I also found something just "off" with the author being enthralled with himself to the point of self-gratification for writing dominance and submission sexual scenes. My reaction to the opening of Song of Narbonne, with the lord of the baddie kingdom having himself publicly fellated before his court was equally if not more offensive, particularly since it came with a sense that Kay had watched the BBC I, Claudius scene of Caligula doing the same thing too many times. (I get that sense from grrm's stuff a lot too.)



Otherwise though, I like very much everything about Tigana. But then, I have had splendid times in Venice, so there's that.



But ye gods and little fishes! Lions of al-Rassan was such a disappointment -- and generally dull too, that I even re-read it last summer to see my memories of how poorly it was imagined were correct. Far too earnest, in his attempts to create an everybody is equally wonderful, admirable, etc. out of the very long history of cultural / political / military conflicts of the Iberian Peninsula. And what he did with the Spanish language -- that is just plain embarrassing.



His latest two China novels are better written, but nothing original.


Edited by Zorral

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it reminds me of a movie novelization. A movie intended as pseudo-historical reenactment Oscar-bait with beautiful sweeping landscapes and beautiful actors and actresses who take it all so damn seriously. The women are spunky (I hate that word, but not as much as I hate Jehane) and inappropriately modern while remaining in the margins - props to the masculine deeds of the leading men. Every fight is a show of athleticism, perfectly choreographed. A light-hearted moment that isn't actually funny. Characters don't have sex, they indulge in lovemaking (yes, the word lovemaking was actually used in the book), perfectly cleaned bodies in soft light draped by strategically placed sheets. Side-boob, half in shadow. Banter between the female lead and the men who would give their lives to protect her. Scenes open with a view of the city or enclave that the next group of characters occupy. The hint of tragedy, because without tragedy, how could the viewer not feel all the feels? But ultimately, you know that it's Joaquin Phoenix in a wig and makeup pretending to be someone who lived long ago. No matter how the book ends, this movie will end with a sweeping shot in melancholy light of the lands that these manly men fought their way across. And maybe whichever of the men ends up being the ultimate hero looking out across that land. You leave the theater feeling a little melancholy yourself, not just because of the story, but because of the beauty and unattainable perfection of the characters, and then you get a burger and coke and forget about it.

:rofl: Spread the hate! And I quite like a nice sweeping historical...incidentally, I watched Quills yesterday, and came away kind of impressed that in a movie featuring Kate Winslet's breasts and Geoffrey Rush full frontal, the most unapologetically fetishized and objectified thing in the movie is still Joaquin Phoenix's face...but that romanticism in book form, that tries to layer of the Meaningfullness of it all just tips me over the edge.

Gun to head, Last Light of the Sun might be the most tolerable Kay novel of the ones i've read. I have a soft spot for Fionovar, because I read it when I was actually 15 and there's something to it's blatant, shameless ridiculousness I kind of admire. Nobody who is sufficiently good looking is ever really a villain, is the take-away, IIRC. Lesson for life, kids!

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From the Bright Weavings facebook wall:





GGK revealed today that his new book will be released in the spring of 2016. It is called CHILDREN OF EARTH AND SKY.


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From the Bright Weavings facebook wall:

Very interesting. Above all I want a new setting. No info whatsoever on what it is about I assume?

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