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24 August 2013 @ 12:53 pm
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay  
I read this entirely because a) it was on our bookshelves, and b) bunn described it as likeable and readable.

Despite being a Tolkien fan, role-player and keen on fiction which relies on detailed world-building, I rarely get on with overtly fantasy books for reasons I've never satisfactorarily teased out. I get on even less well with fantasy trilogies and their ilk which tend to outstay my patience. Tigana won points instantly by existing only in the one volume. It's stylistic links to historical Italy probably also helped lift it from what I often tend to find somewhat bland settings in a lot of the fantasy I have read.

It contains, as bunn pointed out, it's fair share of silly moments - though I'm not 100% certain that both the virgins having sex silently while hiding in a cupboard in one of the early sections, are actually virgins. Though I'm not sure that necessarily makes the situation any more plausible.

At any rate, I liked all the viewpoint characters, though I found several of the others a bit bland (making the closing "romance" somewhat of an "eh?" moment for me), the plot was interesting and engaging without being too silly on the macro-level. The thematic ideas about the importance of names and culture, and the cost, purpose and nature of freedom, justice and retribution were well-sustained and the world-building sufficiently detailed to avoid the sense of "generic fantasy" which I'm sure is one of the things that puts me off such things.

At any rate, as bunn said, this was likeable and readable.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/104691.html.
Elizabeth HeffnerElizabeth Heffner on August 24th, 2013 12:45 pm (UTC)
Have you read GGK's Sailing to Sarentium and Lord of Emperors? Later writing of his and superlative, especially in comparison to some of his earlier work. I think you'd enjoy them. They remain among my favourite fantasy books even after discovering that some of GGK's earlier works no longer 'do it' for me as much as they used to when I was twenty years younger.

Also see Last Light of the Sun, based on the time of Alfred the Great. I loved that one too.

louisedennis: bookslouisedennis on August 24th, 2013 02:33 pm (UTC)
This is the only GGK book I've read. As I said, I don't really get on with fantasy so have read comparatively little of it compared to most people I know. I love LoTR and the Queen's Thief series but I don't think there's any other fantasy I've read that I'd take to a desert island with me, if you see what I mean - compared to piles of SF and Detective Fiction that I'd happily take.
philmophlegm: Toenailsphilmophlegm on August 24th, 2013 11:28 pm (UTC)
"This is the only GGK book I've read."

Does The Silmarillion count? He helped Christopher Tolkien with that.
louisedennis: tolkienlouisedennis on August 27th, 2013 10:03 am (UTC)
I don't know if it counts or not, maybe I should give it a half?
bunnbunn on August 24th, 2013 07:03 pm (UTC)
I can't remember now why I thought they were virgins! To be honest, the whole book has kind of slipped away from me, so I can probably now add 'likeable, readable, but ultimately a bit forgettable'.
louisedennislouisedennis on August 27th, 2013 10:02 am (UTC)
In your defence, one of them is clearly a virgin!