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Guy Gavriel Kay

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Lions is fine but I thought a bit gimmicky in how Kay handles a few twists. I prefer the Sarantine Mosaic and the two Asian themed books. 

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It's been long enough since I read it for me to have forgotten almost all the details of the plot, but I remember A Song For Arbonne being a lot closer in tone and style to The Lions of Al-Rassan than it was to either the Fionavar books or The Last Light of the Sun.  So I'm not sure somebody who hated Song would enjoy Lions that much -- there are plenty of stereotypical Kay characters and, as unJon notes above, Lions has a couple of potentially irritating narrative devices as well.

That said, if you enjoyed LLotS and haven't read either Song or Lions yet I'd probably guess you'd be happy with both?  If anything, LLotS is usually considered the weakest book of those three, I think.  (Personally, the Sarantine Mosaic duology and Under Heaven are my favourite Kay novels.)

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Personally I loved Lions of Al-Rassan when I was reading it. In hindsight, just thinking about the plot, it all seems very melodramatic though. Still, I never really thought about that when I was reading because I found the style engaging and easy going. I would certainly recommend it.

Somehow I have still not got around to reading Tigana, as I promised myself I would

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55 minutes ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Personally I loved Lions of Al-Rassan when I was reading it. In hindsight, just thinking about the plot, it all seems very melodramatic though. Still, I never really thought about that when I was reading because I found the style engaging and easy going. I would certainly recommend it.

Somehow I have still not got around to reading Tigana, as I promised myself I would

I found Tigana more melodramatic than Lions, FWIW. Still enjoyed it though. 

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Which is his best book after Tigana and Lions? I loved Tigana and found Lions very good. Still somehow, I have read only these two books of him despite that I read Tigana two years ago and usually when I like an author so much, I read more books from him/her.

Also, I find his writing as arguably the best in the genre. 

Edited by TheRevanchist

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I prefer his Sarantine Mosaic, which consists of his novels Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors.

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Kay knows what he's doing.  Melodrama is a tool like any other used in fiction, but too many seem to think it is a derogatory slur.  He knows it is melodrama and wants it so.  He's not interested in small events.  He's exploring the large ones, turning points in history that are heightened and given meaning by arranging a tableau of emotion.  Most of his novels use history for find those events, except in Fionavar he used myth.  I don't think "it shows it's age" or is silly; melodrama is an old tool, and timeless, and that's what he wants his work to be.

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16 hours ago, TheRevanchist said:

Which is his best book after Tigana and Lions? I loved Tigana and found Lions very good. Still somehow, I have read only these two books of him despite that I read Tigana two years ago and usually when I like an author so much, I read more books from him/her.

Also, I find his writing as arguably the best in the genre. 

A Song for Arbonne is probably the next-best book in that mode from Kay, followed by Children of Earth and Sky and The Last Light of the Sun (which is good, but possibly Kay phoning it in a bit).

The Sarantine Mosaic I found good but "cold" by Kay's normal standards, where the warmth of the characters (even the antagonists) comes through more clearly. I also found it overlong: I think he could have done the same story in one novel with a bit more focus and clarity.

Under Heaven and River of Stars are very good, probably somewhere between his European books in tone and the coldness of the Sarantine ones.

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I really enjoyed both The Sarantine Mosaic (probably because I'm fascinated by Byzantine history) and Children of Earth and Sky when I read them last year, and look forward to working my way through the rest.

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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. 

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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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