Tag Archives: tigana

Trilogies, We Have To Talk…

Anyone else notice that it seems to be impossible for a story to be contained in just one book, these days?  I love a good series, and more writing from authors I enjoy is always a good thing.  It is, however, becoming more and more difficult to read a story from beginning to end without buying at least three books, sometimes more ( a lot more if it’s Robert Jordan).

I’m not sure if it’s authors or publishers who are pushing for the three book arcs, but it is resulting in a lot of book series that start off great, but leave you less than satisfied.  The Hunger Games trilogy is one that I was disappointed with – I loved the first two, but it seemed like Collins couldn’t figure out how to finish it, and eventually said “whatever, stuff happened, the end.”  Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder, was fantastic, but I was not as thrilled with the books that followed, and gave up on the series.  I love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, but I think part of the reason it works so well is it isn’t tied to a single storyline.  Also, he’s Terry Pratchett.  Ender’s Game was great, the rest of the books, meh. Also, don’t get me started on Orson Scott Card.

If you are getting series fatigue, here are a few great books that can be read on their own:

David & Leigh Eddings’ The Redemption of Althalus was written in their classic style, epic fantasy with sly humour and cutting satire.  One of my all time favorites, and completely re-readable.

Most of Neil Gaiman’s work is standalone, Stardust is a lovely fairytale, magical and gorgeous.

Always amazing, the hardcover illustrated edition of The Princess Bride is coming out in November (on the fifth!).  I’ll be ordering my own copy of William Goldman’s book, re-watching the movie, and saying “As you wish” a lot.

Guy Gavriel Kay is my favorite author, and this is one of my favorite books by him.  It was this book that convinced my dad that he liked fantasy.  If I had to make everyone read one book, Tigana might be it.

Go forth and read with no pressure!  The only next book you need to read is one you choose.  If you have any books that are standalone to recommend, I’d love to hear about them.

On a completely unrelated (snort) note, apparently the paperback edition of Dance With Dragons will actually finally come out this month, since we checked store inventory, and it is in fact in the process of shipping.  See you in a few days!

Happy (stress-free) reading.


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Oh Kay!

I have now read everything Guy Gavriel Kay has written, except his volume of poetry.

Have you ever felt compelled to do that, find and read everything by a certain author? It doesn’t happen to me often. Many authors are inconsistent in their writing quality, which is only natural. Also, not every book is necessarily going to appeal to a reader, even if they like the author’s other work. Mercedes Lackey also does this for me – she is the literary equivalent of coffee and cinnamon toast for me, warm and comforting.

Guy Gavriel Kay makes me want to write, if only to go the places he does to research, like Provence. Lucky jerk. His books are all fantasy, but can be very, very different. The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy (high fantasy, elves and dragons) is quite different from Ysabel (urban fantasy), even though Ysabel kind of ties in to the trilogy.  The Sarantine Mosaic books (Byzantine historical fantasy, and doesn’t he have the best names for his series?) are quite unlike A Song for Arbonne (medieval fantasy), which is also unlike Under Heaven (Asian epic fantasy).   Tigana – George R.R. Martin wishes he wrote this book, with its complex storyline, magic, conflict.

They are all, however, so beautifully written it could make you cry, and the descriptions are so vivid you have to stop yourself from packing up and heading to Provence, or China, or just about anywhere he sets his stories.    The characters are so perfectly done you feel you would recognize them in the street – since he and I are both in Toronto, I’ll let you know if I see any.

The Fionavar Tapestry may just be my favorite series of all time.  He builds slowly, so don’t get impatient at the beginning of the book.   It really is tapestry like, since he presents threads, here and there, and then weaves them together.  We’re so used to fast-paced books, but these are worth the wait, believe me.

You can thank me after you’ve read them.  Probably repeatedly.  I will be modestly gracious.

P.S. He has a new book coming, River of Stars.  So excited!  You have One Direction, I have books.  I win.



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Guy Gavriel Kay

I’m currently reading Under Heaven, by Guy Gavriel Kay, for the second time.  I love this book, and the beautiful images it evokes.  It is set in a fictionalized version of historic China and Mongolia, at the height of imperial power and influence.  Although there are definitely elements of fantasy, I would say that they are there almost as metaphors, and it is not high fantasy, like his Fionavar Tapestry (the best word for trilogy yet).  The first time I read this book, I experienced such a strange sense of deja vu that it distracted me from the story line.  I had the feeling that I had read a short story with very similar elements, but I still haven’t figured out what story that might have been.

Guy Gavriel Kay’s writing is always gorgeous, and often has some very interesting philosophical and moral questions that come up.  I’ve also read his Ysabel, which is somewhat of a fourth book in the Fionavar series, and may be my favorite, Tigana, The Lion of Al-Rassan, and others.   No wait, A Song for Arbonne is my favorite.  I think.

If you are looking for a book that will stay with you, that you will drag around with you and force other people to read, so they can exoerience that sensation that only comes with reading a beloved book, I highly recommend Guy Gavriel Kay.  Just don’t blame me when you are still reading at three o’clock in the morning.

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