Chrissy's Reviews > Tigana

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
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's review
Apr 29, 2013

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, recommended-by-friends
Read from April 13 to 29, 2013

A sprawling epic adventure that sets its roots in the rather unexpected (but welcome, personally) theme of memory: what happens to a people when all memory of them is erased from the world they remain forced to live in? It's a rather humble seed of an idea, but Guy Gavriel Kay works his magic on it slowly and lovingly until it blossoms into an impressive specimen, replete with compelling and wonderfully flawed characters and a plot that takes a slow boil to a satisfying enough, but far from perfect, climax.

I thoroughly enjoyed the read, but I dearly wish it was, well.... less of a fantasy novel. And I'm not lamenting the central focus of magic or gods or an underdog's battle against tyranny or the swords and bows and minstrels. I'm cool with all that, and think each of them can be used to great effect. I'm deeply disappointed, instead, in the neat happy package that Kay ties the novel off with. It's too easy. It's too perfect. It falls into place too well, stripping itself of the delicate realism it had built up over 600 pages.

At the risk of labeling myself a cynical George R. R. Martin fanatic, I wish Kay had a touch less mercy for his characters. With a plot on the grand scale with which the novel deals, it should not have been half so clean. The sole glimpse of the darkness and loss that should have realistically filled the novel from start to finish was snatched away at the last moment by deus ex machina, and I knew then that it would be *that* kind of fantasy-- my enthusiasm faded a bit, and suddenly I was just reading to finish it. I knew how it would end: well.

I will grant Kay the hint of an upset in the final line of the Epilogue, but that's by far the laziest way to evoke uncertainty.

Nevertheless! Despite its broad lack of suspense, particularly toward the end, the tome was a fun one to take in. Delicious, but with less substance than I'd originally expected.

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Reading Progress

04/13/2013 page 41
04/29/2013 marked as: read
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