Book Review: The Lions of al-Rassan

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The Lions of al-Rassan The Lions of al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first experience with Guy Gavriel Kay and I have to say that I’m really impressed with his writing chops. I really enjoyed this book and, since reading it, I’ve gone on to read more works by this author.

The Lions of al-Rassan is set in a fantasy realm that loosely resembles Medieval Spain. The story follows two characters on either side of opposing forces and, somehow, Kay writes each character so eloquently that you love them both, making it impossible to pick a side.

That’s really Kay’s strongest talent in my mind, his ability to write compelling characters. Although, Kay’s prose is also very well-written and eloquent…

Overall, Lions has a good plot and great characters. In fact, the characters are so good, the plot almost doesn’t matter, but it’s pretty darn good too. If you like well-written fantasy, give this a shot. Highly recommended.

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Book Review: Tigana

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Tigana Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s really not much more to say than I LOVED TIGANA. Not too long ago, I was introduced to Guy Gavriel Kay with The Lions of Al-Rassan and I was really impressed with his ability to develop characters that you couldn’t help but fall in love with, flaws and all.

Tigana had that AND it was a true high fantasy, where Lions was more historical fiction with a touch of magic. It had been a long time since I had read good high fantasy and, man, I had no idea how much I missed it. So much of what I’ve read lately has been hard, gritty fantasy in the vein of Martin, Weeks, and Abercrombie, I had almost forgotten that fantasy can come in many flavors.

There’s just something about the elegance of high speech flowing from the mouths of true, noble characters that really speaks to me and Kay nailed it. I’m serious when I say this is the best high fantasy I’ve read outside of Tolkien.

As I mentioned previously, Kay has a way with characters and that was especially true in Tigana. I don’t think there was a single character that I couldn’t relate to expect for Alberico.

Combined with that, the story is beautifully written, part wonder, part glory, part sadness. It has all of the bittersweet elements that a great fantasy novel needs.

After reading Tigana, there’s no doubt in my mind that I will read more from Kay’s catalog–I owe it to myself and you owe it to yourself to read Tigana if you like fantasy at all. And if you prefer audio books, this is perfect–Simon Vance’s performance could not have been more fitting.

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