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Book Club Picks > MARCH 2010: The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

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message 1: by Novel Tea Book Club (last edited Mar 24, 2010 09:06AM) (new)

Novel Tea Book Club  (NovelTeaBookClubModerator) | 38 comments Mod
The Novel~Tea MARCH 2010 book choice:

The Lions of Al-Rassan (1995)
by Guy Gavriel Kay

The Lions of al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

Amongst the members that were able to finish The Lions of Al-Rassan (1995) by Guy Gavriel Kay, this novel was very well received by our book group.

We found the book to be an entertaining and imaginative epic that was full of interesting characters and events. Everyone loved the character of Jehane and found her to be very well drawn. As well, the mix of political intrigue and religious complication made for a fascinating read. For most the book held our attention and was a pleasure to read.

We were disappointed that this novel has been categorized as “fantasy” as it did not feel like a novel typical of that genre. We felt that The Lions of Al-Rassan would be better categorized simply as fiction. However, as the novel was somewhat fantastical it was an excellent introduction into the fantasy genre.

Some had a difficult time with Guy’s use of “imaginative historical fiction.” If the reader is already aware of the historical events that this novel is loosely based on then it can be difficult to allow the authour to tell a fantastical story around those events. As well, Guy had some erratic shifting between characters and situations that made the novel difficult to follow at times and had everyone repeatedly referring to the character list at the front of the book. For one member the book felt very much like a fantasy pulp fiction with predictable events and character reactions.

Most of us would recommend The Lions of Al-Rassan for a book group choice, but with the warning that this is a very long book and could potentially be difficult for some to finish in a month.

Our rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis:
Home to three very different cultures, Al-Rassan is a land of seductive beauty and violent history. Peace among the Jaddites, Asharites and Kindath is a precarious, elusive thing, made so by the ever-present shadow that divides the peoples but draws extraordinary individuals together. Ammar ibn Khairan-poet, diplomat, soldier; Rodrigo Belmonte-accomplished military leader; and Jeanne bet Ishak-brilliant physician; these three find their lives interwoven by a series of remarkable events that take Al-Rassan to the brink of war.
Hauntingly evocative of medieval Spain, The Lions of Al-Rassan is an exhilarating story of love, divided loyalties, and what happens to men and women when passionate beliefs conspire to remake-or destroy-a world.


message 2: by Kokeshi (new)

Kokeshi | 48 comments I really enjoyed the first 100 or so pages of this book and then the story became very predictable for me. At the end the novel seemed to almost be fantasy pulp fiction.

I had a hard time with the "imaginative historical fiction" style of Guy's writing. I just couldn't stop thinking about the events of the Spanish Reconquista. As well, I struggled with the erratic character changes - I must have referred to the list of characters a hundred times while I was reading the book. I just could not keep the male characters straight. I loved the character of Jehane, but the male characters were not very well drawn or developed.

All this said, however, Guy can write a great story. I will try another of his works and hope for the best. Plus, he is Canadian and you can never give up on a Canuck!


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