Rafe Sacks's Reviews > The Last Light of the Sun

The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay
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M_50x66
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Mar 12, 11

Read from January 31 to February 20, 2011

Before reading this book, I think Guy Gavriel Kay lost me after a Song for Arbonne. While not as good, this book is a hypnotic and worthy read.

Each of the characters are driven by their own needs and histories, and so come together believably. While the setting is, what I am lead to believe, a historically-factual way of life. The coincidences and superstition-turned-real fantastical creatures makes the story feel like a modern version of an epic cycle.

Aside from the main characters, threads of lesser lives are woven in which briefly come together but are altered forever, sometimes telling whole life stories. The way he does it forces some deep self-reflection on the meaning of life and the vast consequences of the smallest encounters.

I also loved the way this book communicates the larger world it is set in, with the beginnings of modern religion pushing against the mystical old faith and the beginnings of an appreciation for art and education; for building a civilization.

While I enjoyed this book, for some reason I constantly confused a few of the main characters. I suppose this came from a lack of individuality in their personalities, as well as the common way they are written when thinking or in dialogue. I'm not sure I can put my finger one it, but while they have character-specific thoughts, the narration of their thoughts doesn't feel like different characters. Perhaps it is his writing style in this book. The halting pace of the delivery fits a couple of the characters really well, but he doesn't change it up when he gets to the more refined characters. When I started the book I thought it was brilliant, but then the pacing of the sentences just kept going. If he reserved this style when writing from the point of view of the rougher warrior-romantics he loves so much, it would be a stunning work. Without a break or change it falls short. You'd have to read a couple of chapters to know what I mean buy this. Joe Abercrombie's "The Blade Itself" comes to mind as an author that does this really well, if memory serves.

Overall I recommend this book for the experience of it. It is different enough to be a nice change. I think the lack of deeper characters and a more realistic experience is forgivable because of the song-like-saga-style it embodies.
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