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ARCHIVE 2020 > Sailing to Sarantium (Sarantine Mosaic #1)

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message 1: by SarahKat, Buddy Reads (new)

SarahKat | 2811 comments Hello all! I started this already because I have a bunch of books slated for February. I've gotten through the prologue and chapter 1. The prologue was really difficult for me to maintain interest. It could be partly my fault as I started this in bits and pieces where I couldn't concentrate fully, like waiting rooms or my son's taekwondo practice.

Chapter 1 was much more enjoyable. Started to get a feel for the characters and there's even some humor.


message 2: by oshizu, Challenges (last edited Jan 28, 2020 04:04PM) (new)

oshizu | 5090 comments I confess that I nothing about the Byzantine era on which this historical fantasy is based.
I'm also going to start reading this book this evening, with plans to finish it next month.

Nicole and Trisha, what about you?


message 3: by SarahKat, Buddy Reads (new)

SarahKat | 2811 comments I know nothing about the Byzantine era either, oshizu. I am confused as to why the second genre on goodreads classifies this as "Historical Fiction." It seems to me that while based on a historical period in time, the places and people are all completely fictional.

I guess it's just not what I think of for that genre. I'd keep things in Historical Fiction that actually mention real world events happening alongside the fictionalized character story, like Pillars of the Earth.

Otherwise things like Superman and Batman could be considered Historical Fiction because Metropolis and Gotham are based on real cities. Or Game of Thrones because he pulled a lot of history from the War of Roses and the geography is United Kingdom-esque.


message 4: by oshizu, Challenges (last edited Jan 29, 2020 09:30AM) (new)

oshizu | 5090 comments Oh my word, I started this last night and ended up finishing five of its 10 chapters. I am putting this book down until next month. :D

I read the Prologue in one sitting but, like SarahKat, found it a bit dry. I realized later that the Prologue's objective was to set up the socio-political world of the novel. Luckily, it's short.

Below are some random thoughts and impressions

Chapter 1
(view spoiler)

Chapter 2
(view spoiler)

Chapter 3
(view spoiler)

Chapter 4
(view spoiler)

Chapter 5
(view spoiler)

My apologies for posting in this thread so early. I truly didn't expect to read so much last night. But if I wait until next month to post my impressions, I will have forgotten everything.
I will resume reading this book next month. Obviously, I am enjoying it.


message 5: by oshizu, Challenges (new)

oshizu | 5090 comments SarahKat wrote: "I know nothing about the Byzantine era either, oshizu. I am confused as to why the second genre on goodreads classifies this as "Historical Fiction." It seems to me that while based on a historical..."

I believe the author does have at least one historical figure appear later in the story under a different name. Plus, Kay does use imaginary place names even though they're inspired by real places.
I agree that it's more of a historical fantasy--I wouldn't consider this historical fiction, either.


message 6: by SarahKat, Buddy Reads (new)

SarahKat | 2811 comments Response to oshizu's Chapter 1: (view spoiler)

Chapter 2: (view spoiler)

Maybe when I finish the book I'll look up an essay or something on the real-life historical events/places/people that Kay included in this book. That would be interesting. But if I do it while reading I'll just get confused.


message 7: by SarahKat, Buddy Reads (new)

SarahKat | 2811 comments Just finished chapter 3! I'm going to try to slow down and read a book that isn't for a February buddy read this weekend. I'm getting ahead of myself.

(view spoiler)


message 8: by Trisha, Buddy Reads (last edited Feb 02, 2020 11:00AM) (new)

Trisha (trishabisen) | 2005 comments @SarahKat & oshizu - That’s cheating when you start with the book before the agreed time - just kidding! I started with the book today and agree with you both that the prologue seemed a bit dry - too much of background buildup! It could have been shortened with some details pushed to the later chapters.

Byzantine Empire & Religions: I spent some time googling about the Byzantine empire (or the Eastern Roman Empire, as it is commonly knows as) today and will agree with oshizu that Rhodes seems to be suggestive of Rome. I was also curious about the various religions being spoken of in the book and later found that Jaddites, Kindath and Asharites are based on Christianity, Judaism and Islam respectively. I’m sure you girls already know that but still noting it down here.

Historical Fiction: I think the book is rightfully categorised as Historical Fiction because it is loosely built on real life historical figures. Valerius 2nd is based on Justinian 1st, an Eastern Roman Emperor of the Byzantine Empire while Empress Alixana is modelled on Justinian’s Empress, Theodora. Even the places roughly translate to genuine Roman and Italian cities. Varena is suggestive of Ravenna, a Northern Italian city which served as the capital city of a few Empires and Sarantium alludes to Constantinople ( modern day Istanbul) which again served as the capital city for some major Empires. Rhodes has already been decoded by oshizu.

Crispin: I, like SarahKat, just assumed that Crispin was a nickname.

And like you both, I loved Linon - love for female characters even when it’s just a bird, and not even a living one! (view spoiler)


message 9: by oshizu, Challenges (new)

oshizu | 5090 comments @Trisha
I know, I know. I'm embarrassed by how much I read before February started. I didn't enjoy the prologue so much but I love this author, so I proceeded to read Chapter and then, and then, I found it hard to stop. 🙄
Thank you so much for all the background information.
I appreciate knowing about the religious equivalents, I have to admit that--based on my grasp of the novel's descriptions of the three religious practices--I would never have made the associations.

I'll resume reading this book when everybody's done with Part 1.


message 10: by SarahKat, Buddy Reads (new)

SarahKat | 2811 comments I have 3 buddy reads and other books slated for February so when I finished my January reads I tried to start on all the Feb ones at once so I wouldn't get too far ahead in any one book. Problem is, this one is on my phone so it's the one that's always on me when I find odd times during the day to read. And if I start a chapter I have to finish it, and these are long chapters!

Trisha, thank you for doing all that research! I attempted to look up who Valerius might be in history but with my limited knowledge I wasn't getting anywhere. I try not to read too much book-related stuff before I finish a book in case there are spoilers.
I don't remember which religion the people at the inn are (view spoiler), but they had more than one god right? All the religions you mentioned (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) all only have one.

Chapter 4: (view spoiler)


message 11: by Trisha, Buddy Reads (last edited Feb 02, 2020 11:34PM) (new)

Trisha (trishabisen) | 2005 comments SarahKat wrote: "I have 3 buddy reads and other books slated for February so when I finished my January reads I tried to start on all the Feb ones at once so I wouldn't get too far ahead in any one book. Problem is..."

As I remember, the religion of the people in the Imperial Inn is not one of the three main religions spoken of at length in the book i.e. the Jaddites, Kindath and Asharites. They worshipped Ludan, a tribal God. People of Sarantium are Jaddites, the religion suggestive of Christianity, however, I agree with you that Jaddites seem to worship more than one God - Jad (the sun god) and his son, Heladikos, the charioteer. The author has merely drawn parallels between the two religions and has added a lot of hi own fictional elements. There is more information about the religions in the below links which you can go through once you are done with the book. 😊

https://www.thewinedarksea.com/2016/0...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_S...


message 12: by Trisha, Buddy Reads (new)

Trisha (trishabisen) | 2005 comments oshizu wrote: "@Trisha
I know, I know. I'm embarrassed by how much I read before February started. I didn't enjoy the prologue so much but I love this author, so I proceeded to read Chapter and then, and then, I ..."


oshizu, I’m reading Guy Gavriel Kay for the first time and like you say, it’s hard to stop once you get into the chapters. The story is delicious!

Also, I’m done with Part 1. I would never want you to hold up your reading because of me. 🤓


message 13: by SarahKat, Buddy Reads (new)

SarahKat | 2811 comments Thank you again Trisha! I could not remember what the people at the inn's religion was. There are too many to keep track of. Jaddism seems to be the main one and the only one I fully grasp.

I too am done with Part 1. Feel free to move forward, oshizu! Like you said for chapter 5, (view spoiler)


message 14: by oshizu, Challenges (new)

oshizu | 5090 comments Trisha wrote: "People of Sarantium are Jaddites, the religion suggestive of Christianity, however, I agree with you that Jaddites seem to worship more than one God - Jad (the sun god) and his son, Heladikos, the charioteer."

I guess this could be suggestive of The Father and his son, Jesus, though.


message 15: by SarahKat, Buddy Reads (new)

SarahKat | 2811 comments oshizu wrote: "Trisha wrote: "People of Sarantium are Jaddites, the religion suggestive of Christianity, however, I agree with you that Jaddites seem to worship more than one God - Jad (the sun god) and his son, ..."

I thought of that; though Christians don't worship or think of the two as two separate gods, just aspects of the same one God. But similar enough I suppose


message 16: by oshizu, Challenges (new)

oshizu | 5090 comments SarahKat wrote: "I thought of that; though Christians don't worship or think of the two as two separate gods, just aspects of the same one God. But similar enough I suppose ."

@SarahKat Thank you for clarifying that. I'm not familiar enough with the doctrine of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam to grasp their parallels with the novel. I believe trying to understand the fictional analogies will just bewilder me.

To everyone
I've just finished reading Chapter 6 and 7 now. I'm surprised at how easy to keep reading this book!

In response to SarahKat's comments on Chapter 4
(view spoiler)

Chapter 6
(view spoiler)

Chapter 7
(view spoiler)


message 17: by SarahKat, Buddy Reads (new)

SarahKat | 2811 comments Chapter 6: (view spoiler)


message 18: by oshizu, Challenges (new)

oshizu | 5090 comments SarahKat, I doubt that you have moronic pregnancy brain.
I do think reading both this book and World Without End must be difficult because both series revolve around a rather large cast of characters and layers upon layers on intrigue.

In response to SarahKat's comments on Chapter 6
(view spoiler)


message 19: by oshizu, Challenges (new)

oshizu | 5090 comments I only planned to read Ch 7 this morning but ended up reading Ch 8 as well.
I have only three things to say about Chapters 7 & 8 for now:
(view spoiler)


message 20: by Trisha, Buddy Reads (last edited Feb 05, 2020 12:07AM) (new)

Trisha (trishabisen) | 2005 comments Hey ladies, I finished off the book last night (sorry, didn’t get a chance to update here)! I think the real fun starts from chapter 7. Agreeing to your shared thoughts -

Races: (view spoiler)

Victory Riot: (view spoiler)

The Women: (view spoiler)


message 21: by SarahKat, Buddy Reads (new)

SarahKat | 2811 comments I've been reading this almost all morning at work and now I should probably take a break and actually do some work... I finished chapters 7 and 8 though. I loved chapter 7! Like oshizu said, there is so much intrigue there!
Trisha, I get what you're saying about the women (view spoiler)


message 22: by oshizu, Challenges (last edited Mar 01, 2020 12:24PM) (new)

oshizu | 5090 comments I think it's hilarious that all of us didn't enjoy the description of the chariot racing. I bet it seemed thrilling to male readers who watch car racing and horse racing.
To be fair, chariot racing was such a central part of Sarantium's warfare and recreation at the time, and even their theology (Helaklidos, which I'm too lazy to check for correct spelling).

Women redux
(view spoiler)

Lyssipius(view spoiler)

Crispus/Crispin (Chapter 10)
(view spoiler)

I finished the book's final chapter last. I could not resist staying up late, lol.
The final chapter is quite marvelous and I look forward to Book 2.


message 23: by Trisha, Buddy Reads (new)

Trisha (trishabisen) | 2005 comments SarahKat wrote: "I've been reading this almost all morning at work and now I should probably take a break and actually do some work... I finished chapters 7 and 8 though. I loved chapter 7! Like oshizu said, there ..."

SarahKat, like I said, I myself don’t mind women using their sexuality intelligently to get things done their way (I think I’m guilty of doing the same, intelligently or not, to get things done by my husband) but I don’t appreciate that all three women in the royalty are portrayed that way - Alixana, Styliane and in the last chapter (view spoiler) My problem is with the generalisation. I wouldn’t want to typecast all of them - women have other moves too besides our sexual power. I wanted more flavour, perhaps! And all of the above is not applicable to Kasia, who is the only woman in the book to have a contrasting character. That being said, I loved all the women and how they were celebrated in the book.


message 24: by SarahKat, Buddy Reads (new)

SarahKat | 2811 comments That makes sense. I haven't finished the book yet so I've really only noticed it with Alixana.


message 25: by oshizu, Challenges (new)

oshizu | 5090 comments More about women (under spoilers because I'm not sure how far Nicole has read)
I feel that Alixana's character has really set the tone for the other prominent women associated with the court.

Alixana
(view spoiler)

The third woman (first appears in Chapter 9?)
(view spoiler)

By the way, I gave this book 4.5 stars and a 4-star rating. The 1/2 star had to go because of that overly long chariot racing scene, haha. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I think the author writes lovely prose.


message 26: by Trisha, Buddy Reads (last edited Feb 07, 2020 03:11AM) (new)

Trisha (trishabisen) | 2005 comments oshizu, I’ll add another woman to your list - (view spoiler)

I’ve rated the book 4 stars, -0.5 for chariot racing(with you on this) and another -0.5 for typecasting all the royal/aristocratic women - (view spoiler) (I know that you don’t agree, alas!).


message 27: by Trisha, Buddy Reads (new)

Trisha (trishabisen) | 2005 comments And I agree, Kay’s prose is beautiful!


message 28: by SarahKat, Buddy Reads (new)

SarahKat | 2811 comments Finished! As for the women, (view spoiler)

I don't currently have any deep thoughts to share about the end of the book except that (view spoiler)

Are you ladies going to start the second book before March?


message 29: by oshizu, Challenges (last edited Feb 07, 2020 08:26PM) (new)

oshizu | 5090 comments @SarahKat
I'm not sure where Nicole is with this book as she hasn't posted on this thread yet.
Personally, I have a 449-page book and three 500+-page books that I'm aiming to finish reading this month for challenges and such.
If I finish early, I could start reading Lord of Emperors early; if not, I will begin in early March.

P.S. Does this mean you plan to read Book 2 as well? I didn't see your name in the spreadsheet, but would be beyond ecstatic if you stayed with us.


message 30: by Trisha, Buddy Reads (new)

Trisha (trishabisen) | 2005 comments SarahKat wrote: "Finished! As for the women, [spoilers removed]

I don't currently have any deep thoughts to share about the end of the book except that the Zoticus thing was so sad! But also really interesting tha..."


I should be able to finish off my remaining two buddy reads by next weekend and have deliberately kept my second fortnight free of any planned reads. If any of you are starting the book 2 earlier than planned, I’m game for it - otherwise March it is!


message 31: by SarahKat, Buddy Reads (new)

SarahKat | 2811 comments Yes I plan on reading book 2 as well. I have a bunch of books I'm working on for February too. I'll probably start the next at the end of the month or early March.


message 32: by oshizu, Challenges (new)

oshizu | 5090 comments SarahKat wrote: "Yes I plan on reading book 2 as well. I have a bunch of books I'm working on for February too. I'll probably start the next at the end of the month or early March."

So glad you'll be with us as CrispyCreme begins work on the Great Sanctuary!
Also (view spoiler)


message 33: by SarahKat, Buddy Reads (new)

SarahKat | 2811 comments oshizu wrote: "SarahKat wrote: "Yes I plan on reading book 2 as well. I have a bunch of books I'm working on for February too. I'll probably start the next at the end of the month or early March."

So glad you'll..."


I am very curious about that too! As well as (view spoiler)


message 34: by oshizu, Challenges (last edited Feb 14, 2020 09:22PM) (new)

oshizu | 5090 comments This is not quite related to this book, but I'm currently reading The Architect's Apprentice by Elif Shafak.
It's the story of a young boy who becomes an elephant-tamer and later (surprise) an apprentice to the Royal Master Architect Sinan (who is a historical figure).

It is set in 16th-century Istanbul so I've enjoyed learning about how much the city has evolved. Plus, there was one scene in the Hippodrome but without the chariot racing. Haha!

Curiously, the exophonic author originally published this book in Turkish in 2013 then published an English-language edition in 2014.
Anyway, I just thought I'd mention this book. It's only my 2nd book set in Istanbul (the 1st being Sailing to Sarantium).


message 35: by SarahKat, Buddy Reads (new)

SarahKat | 2811 comments That is on my to-read list oshizu! I added it because I love elephants but I knew next to nothing about the book.


message 36: by oshizu, Challenges (new)

oshizu | 5090 comments I just re-read my previous post and it said "a young boy who becomes an elephant." I meant an "elephant-tamer," haha.

There's another elephant-related book that Elif Shafak mentioned in her Acknowledgements: The Elephant's Journey by the Portuguese author Jose Saramago. I've added that to my TBRs, too.
We can save our elephant books for September which has a monthly theme of Wildlife. Maybe you could suggest a menagerie challenge? :D


message 37: by Nicole (last edited Mar 01, 2020 12:24AM) (new)

Nicole Woods (nicole_woods65) | 909 comments (I feel really bad, but my physical & mental health were not the best this month and I didn't feel motivated to read that much, unfortunately. :P I'm still gonna read this book [hopefully within the next few days], but Idk if the thread will still be open. If not, I still plan on reading Book 2 w/ y'all.
Sorry! I hope y'all had a good time reading!)


message 38: by Trisha, Buddy Reads (new)

Trisha (trishabisen) | 2005 comments Hey Nicole, that's completely okay! I hope you are feeling better now. Your well-being is foremost and you can anyway always catch up on reading! I think this thread will remain open (oshizu/SarahKat, please correct me if I'm wrong) this month, however, please read at your own sweet pace and hopefully, we'll read the Book 2 together.


message 39: by SarahKat, Buddy Reads (new)

SarahKat | 2811 comments Yeah I think the threads usually stay available for about month after the month they slated for.


message 40: by oshizu, Challenges (new)

oshizu | 5090 comments Nicole wrote: "(I feel really bad, but my physical & mental health were not the best this month and I didn't feel motivated to read that much, unfortunately. :P I'm still gonna read this book [hopefully within th..."

Nicole, I'm so sorry that you haven't been feeling well lately.
I hope you've taken the time to pamper yourself--we all deserve that now and then. More "now" than "then," in fact.

Don't guilt yourself into joining the Buddy Read. In truth, I've abandoned a Buddy Read or two in the past (but I need to get better about "declaring" that I won't be reading instead of silently slinking away). I'd rather leave a Buddy Read than fall into a reading slump.
So, when you're feeling better, don't stress about this Buddy Read. We would of course love for you to join us, but we'd rather you are feeling happy and healthy.

Sending you some cyber healing vibes, Nicole, in hopes that you feel better soon! 💖


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