Oct 02, 14
Read from September 20 to October 02, 2014
This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for *coughcough* six years. And then, wouldn't you know it, but I don't even read it, but instead download an audiobook. Because knitting. (I do that a lot, actually.)
This is my second GGK novel, and I liked this one quite a bit more than I liked the first one, though apparently that makes me a heathen or something. I DID like The Lions of Al-Rassan, but I just didn't love it. Jeez! I'm not sure that I necessarily loved this one either, but it spoke to me much more than Lions did. I really liked the themes in this one - loyalty, pride, love, duty, honor - and how those things can hurt us as much as anything else in life.
I loved how the characters (the main ones - Brandin, Alessan, Dianora, Sandre, Erlein...) all existed in this gray area. That was by far my favorite thing about this book... I loved how the characters were, all in their own ways and for their own reasons, striving to right wrongs that they feel have been inflicted on them, and must do terrible things at times to make that happen. I love morally ambiguous characters... even if I don't necessarily like them at times.
Dianora was my favorite and least favorite of the characters for this reason. She is from Tigana, has lost her father, her country, her heritage, and her family has been shattered by all of this. She decides to infiltrate Brandin's court as part of his harem to get close enough to try to kill him... but time has a way of altering things. I could understand that, and identify with her conflicted feelings about Brandin and her role in his court and his heart... But there were other things I couldn't get past with her, and couldn't forgive. There are levels of cruelty that are unforgivable.
I did have a few issues with the book though. The writing often felt a little too... purple for my tastes, and the pacing was a little off. There was a ton of build-up and political maneuvering, and then the end just felt rushed to me. And I couldn't quite help but roll my eyes at all of the sex in the book and how it was portrayed. Devin's getting more ass than a donkey herder (is that a thing?) and I kept feeling like it was supposed to represent something, but I'm far too dense to get those kinds of things, so it just felt gratuitous and out of place to me.
Aside from those things though, I did like the book and I'm glad that I finally got around to reading it.