Felina's Reviews > The Lions of Al-Rassan

The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
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's review
Feb 27, 2016

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2010, favorites, star-5, 1dead-tree, shelf-4
Read from October 24 to November 17, 2010

The dialogue is witty and meaningful and the characters are well developed and have depth. Kay weaves an intricate tale and trusts you to figure out the plot. He doesn’t talk down to the reader by handing them the story’s intricacies through dialogue or useless plot shifts. He expects you to pay attention and if you don’t, well then to bad, you won’t get it.

The dialogue, the description and the inner thought processes of the characters are all written in beautiful prose, sometimes poetry. A writing style that instantly moves and transports the readers to Medieval Spain. This book isn’t fantasy, it isn’t historical fiction, it is it’s own sub-genre with traits from many different genres…a brilliance rarely tapped into.

Kay writes amazing characters that face modern day problems, relatable problems, in a medieval society. Its easy to hate the face of an entire people, easy to kill the faceless masses but it becomes much more difficult when one of those people has earned your trust or saved your life. It’s harder to hate a group of people on principle when so many of them have proven to be better than your own peers. This is a book about a group of people from many different walks of life who are thrown together and find amongst themselves the very best of humanity, love and trust. I really haven’t seen this kind of character development to the point of me actually grieving over the death of a character, since Harry Potter. And I fully believe that Kay has mastered in this single book what Rowling took seven books to achieve. If you are a character driven reader then this book will definitely move you.

I fear I must get on my soap box and offer a tiny tiny rant. Nobody can know that their religion/belief structure is correct because nobody has gone to the afterlife and come back to report (seeing a light at the end of a tunnel does not count, sorry). There is no greater act of arrogance then to claim to know the truth behind the unseen. To claim to have looked into the cosmos and seen the very mind of God. And I would count it as the very highest level of egotism and folly to engage in a holy war; to kill, rape and mutilate people who have different beliefs as you because of the will of a God you have no proof of. So many horrible things have been done in the name of God. How dare a person claim to be better than somebody based on birth right, class or sex! In my opinion, any idiot claiming that their religion and their God has told them that they are superior to a group of people and therefore have the right to deal the death card, will eventually get theirs in the afterlife. If there is no God I hope there is at least Karma or something akin to it.


This book is amazing and everybody should read it. It is the best book I have read this year and probably the most enveloping, intense and emotional book I have read since finishing the HP series. Intelligent and poignant, simply beautiful in it all its writing, even, or especially during, the horrible parts.

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02/27 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Grego Oooh. Nice Review. Great Rant. And I agree. I love Guy Gavriel Kay. Sooooo good. Have you read any of his other stuff? I just finished his Sarantine Mosaic books. So good. Not as good as Lions though.

Felina I haven't read any of his other books yet although they've been moved up the list. I've got a book club read for Tigana in March I think so I'll be getting to that one. You were actually the first person who recommended this to me back when we worked at the library. Its taken me this long. Epic fail.

Grego Lol. No, no. Amazing accomplishment that you remembered the recommendation after so long.

Felina Ha ha. I remember well all the books I want to read. It's getting to them all that's the problem.

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