Townhouse Books

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay

Kay is a modern master of story telling and one of my favorite authors (props to Todd for originally recommending him). I was delighted to discover that he had written a new novel recently (school generally keeps me away from the bookstore).

I hold Kay to a high standard; this historical fantasy falls short.

Last Light takes place roughly when the balance of power begins to shift toward the Anglcyn (English) from the Erlings (Vikings). Characterization is strong and there are at least three stories which become intertwined, making it difficult to summarize succintly. I will not try.

Unfortunately, women play only a minor part. Kay's novels often have a certain sense of romantic fate which is either executed poorly or missing from Last Light. Also, magic in Kay's world has an alien, incomprehensible mystique (think LeGuin or Tolkein, not Jordan). The character's in Last Light struggle directly with this "half-world". For another reader, this might be compelling while I found it to lessen the sense of the extraordinary.

If you never read anything by Kay, then you're missing out. Of course, if you only read Last Light, you're still missing out. I suggest The Lions of Al-Rassan (which avoids magic altogether) or Tigana (Todd's favorite).

Oh, uh. Let's say 3 out of 5 stars (but this was mainly because I felt let down).


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  • I have given up on Kay. The two books you mentioned were good, but everything else I've read has been a disappointment.

    By Anna, at 9:16 AM  

  • Oh, that's sad. But, I'm begining to agree. What else have you read?

    By jch1530, at 11:27 AM  

  • See, and I know Todd would disagree, but I read the Fionavar Tapestry series and it just did nothing for me. It felt like a big, random mish-mash of Big Fantasy Tropes just tossed in to move units.

    But then I really liked Lions of Al-Rassan, so go figure.

    By lillygog, at 12:28 PM  

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