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May 2017: 2004 > The Last Light of the Sun - Kay - 4 stars

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message 1: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 2817 comments The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Last Light of the Sun - Guy Gavriel Kay
Audio performance by Holter Graham
4 stars


In this fictional medieval saga, Kay’s King Aeldred of the Anglcyn is a stand-in for the historical Alfred the Great. However, the story begins with the other side of the territorial coin, with the Vikings (or Danes), which Kay mutates into the Erlings. In addition, there is the neighboring tribe of the Cyngael, place holding for the Celts. The Cyngael bring along their traditional mythology of fairies existing in a ‘half’ world which threatens the tenets of Jad, a sun god whose worshippers resemble medieval Christians.

Have you got all of that?

The amazing thing is that eventually, I did get it, all the little pieces of the story puzzle fell into place. It was a bit more difficult with this book than with some of Kay’s other books. There were too many subplots; so many that much of the resolution at the end of the book was rushed and underdeveloped.

Still, I have only minor complaints. Once again, I found that persisting with the complicated, interwoven plots of a G.G. Kay saga paid off in the end. This is essentially a tripled coming of age story. There are three young men, one from each of these warring cultures. Athelbert, son of King Aeldred; Prince Alan ab Owyn of the Cyngael; and Bern, the runaway son of the mercenary Erling, Red Thorkell. There are some interesting dynamics between the various fathers and sons and some less interesting interactions with fairies and dead people. I was engaged in the difficult lives of these young men, but this book would have been better without the supernatural element. (There was a bit of telepathy thrown in at the end that really made no sense to me.) The female characters in this book are vibrant and interesting, but they are not major players in the story. To give Kay credit, he did allow more than one of his ladies to express frustration with the restrictions of their lives.

I did have the audio performance of this book, but I gave up on it. There were too many names that sounded similar and too many plot convolutions to keep track of. Holter Graham’s fairy voice was very annoying and may be why I disliked that aspect of the book. The text provides a character breakdown of the three cultures, which I found very helpful, even necessary, to understanding the story.


message 2: by annapi (new)

annapi | 4984 comments I need to read more of Kay! Another one for the TBR...


message 3: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 2817 comments annapi wrote: "I need to read more of Kay! Another one for the TBR..."

I wouldn't say this is his best. But it does fit this month's tag.


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