Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Guy Gavriel Kay is someone whose work I have struggled to appreciate to its fullest. Yet here is Kay at his sublime best, writing with poetic elegance and in a unique present tense with omniscient voice that few other authors could carry off with the skill Kay does.
The essential premise of this novel focuses on several different characters all travelling to a distant city and beyond. Each of these characters are unique heroes: merchants, painters, pirates, child-slaves-turned-warriors, false-wives, and so on. There is no grand plot to tell in this narrative, because this is a narrative driven by a fantastical history. Essentially, Kay is narrating a fictitious history and conveying truths about the world through a story of interlocking lives and it is beautiful.
The one reason I did not give this the full five star rating, however was due to the way in which one of the main female characters simply hopped into bed with several main characters. It was not the action of this occurring but the way such scenes were described which I disliked, yet others may find these elements perfectly acceptable.
This is a slow-burning, beautifully elaborated novel. One that, like a fine wine, is to be sampled by the correctly attuned palate. If you do not love language and only wish to try the thicker ciders and beers of fantasy look to more populist authors. If you love language, then certainly do read this novel. It has plenty of fantasy elements and is a showcase of beautiful prose.
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