Children of Earth and Sky

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Guy Gavriel Kay
Berkley, 2016
Historical Fantasy 

When I was working full-time I always bought myself a special book to read at the start of my summer holidays.

Three years ago I bought this one and was so excited to read it. Weirdly, it just sat on my night table all this time until I picked it up a few weeks ago! I'm not sure what happened that summer, but I'm glad I finally read Children of Earth and Sky.

Excerpt from Amazon

From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request—and possibly to do more—and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman, posing as a doctor’s wife, but sent by Seressa as a spy.

The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he’s been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif—to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.

As these lives entwine, their fates—and those of many others—will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world.

What I Thought

This was a BIG book. It took me a couple of weeks to read and I have to admit I skimmed through a few of the parts.

Kay is an amazing and gifted writer but sometimes I find the detail too much (think Diana Gabaldon -- although I adore her books, too).

The first couple of hundred pages were hard for me to get into but the last 300 I was fully there and invested in the story.

I felt like the plot and various sub-plots were extremely well-developed, but not so much the characters. I mean there were just so many of them ... at times it was a bit hard to keep track of them all. Personally I like it when I really get to know the characters well and can fully understand what motivates them, and I didn't quite get that with this book.

On the other hand, the intrigue, cunning, brutality, tenderness, love, bravery, devotion and betrayals portrayed in this tale were absolutely dazzling. And these factors alone make this book a worthwhile read.

I enjoyed reading Ysabel and Summer Tree years ago and now Children of Earth and Sky has whetted my appetite for more.

Happy Reading!

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