Janet's Reviews > Under Heaven

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
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Apr 26, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy
Read in April, 2010

Guy Gavriel Kay is one of my top two or three favorite authors, one of the very few whose books I buy in hardback. His "Lions of Al-Rassan", "Song for Arbonne", Sarantium duology, and Fionavar trilogy stand up to endless re-reading. I have high expectations for his books.

This story, while definitely engaging, did not sweep me up as the previously mentioned stories did. The setting was unique, but the characters were not as vivid as those in other stories. The court intrigue felt like a somewhat pale echo of the Sarantium books. Shen-Tai was a pleasant enough protagonist, but did not burn with Crispin's passion nor capture my imagination or heart as Ammar or Rodrigo did. The mystery of strange gods was there, but -- again -- not as deep or as vivid as the Bull, or the gods of Fionavar, or the goddess of Arbonne.

And yet. . . I read this book, all 576 pages, in two days because I did enjoy it, and did want to know what happened next. I wanted to know what would happen to the horses, to the family, to the poet, the women. I just wish Kay had somehow given them the lighning brilliance of his other characters and work.
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Comments (showing 1-2)

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Ribblefizz With a very few minor details, your review matches my thoughts precisely. Good, really good, kept me up four hours past bedtime good - but not Sarantium good; not Al-Rassan good; not "I want to live there and then instead of here and now" good.

I expect that, as with most of Kay's books (except the Fionavar trilogy, which leaves me utterly cold), I'll like it more and more each time I read it. There is ALWAYS something I pick up on that I hadn't noticed the last time (and I've read Lions and the Sarantine Mosiac at least a dozen times each; you'd think I'd have gotten everything out of them by now), so I expect it will move up to 4 starts for me as time goes by.

Janet Thanks for your comment.

I'm thinking of going back and re-reading "The Last Light of the Sun" which also didn't grab me the first time I read it, but I'm wanting to re-visit.

I know a lot of people love "Tigana" but I didn't care for it at all, and when I tried to re-read it, I couldn't get more than few pages in.

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