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  1. #16
    "hot and jolly" Nevyn's Avatar
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    Good call Erfael !!

  2. #17
    et in arcadia ego Calandra's Avatar
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    I loved this book, and find that it is one of the few fantasy books I have read that have stayed with me more than a few days. I really like the fact that there was a strong central female character, but I suppose that Ammar stole the show for me (never quite got into Rodrigo as a character, but I thought that he worked well in the central triangle).

    I have found myself rereading some of the poetry from the book, describing the lost or soon to be lost beauty of the world, and I found that this kind of Tolkein evocation was much more subtly effective than his attempt at something similar in Fionavar.

    Anyway, I am interested to note that the world seems the same as in the Sarantine mosaic which I just started. But I assume that Sarantine must be either pre or post Al-Rassan. Anyone know? (or will this be made clear further on in Sarantine?).

  3. #18
    "hot and jolly" Nevyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Calandra
    Anyway, I am interested to note that the world seems the same as in the Sarantine mosaic which I just started. But I assume that Sarantine must be either pre or post Al-Rassan. Anyone know? (or will this be made clear further on in Sarantine?).
    Without spoiling anything . I wouldn't say it will be made clear , but after you've read The Sarantine Mosaic you'll pretty much know the answer ! *hint* religion

  4. #19
    et in arcadia ego Calandra's Avatar
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    There was a hint early on - something about how the Kindath worshiped the moon and the Jaddites worship the sun, but no one worshiped the stars - so I presume that somewhere along the way a prophet will appear that worships the stars, thus making Sarantine pre Lions. Which would also fit with the quasi-historical context of Byzantium vs. medieval Spain. But I will wait to find out and look forward to hopefully a good read.

  5. #20
    Cranky old broad AuntiePam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erfael
    My one little gripe: Kay takes too much liberty sometimes witholding information from the reader for dramatic effect. I think I can forgive it, though, for how well the effects usually work out.
    I agree. I think.

    I just finished the book, and it irked me that Kay would foreshadow something that didn't happen, or that happened differently than expected. The death of Velaz (we were led to think it was Rodrigo), the death of the guy who was protecting Diego (we were led again to think it was Rodrigo), Alvar marrying a doctor (we were led to think it was Jehane).

    I felt like I was being teased, and I didn't need teasing to keep reading, or to maintain dramatic tension.

    I don't like tricky foreshadowing. For example, when the uprising against the Kindath began, he says that Jehane's parents didn't leave Fezana soon enough.

    Well, of course they did! They didn't leave before the riot, but they left alive and were safe. That's "soon enough", in my book.

    I loved the aspects of the story that others have described here, especially how the book made me think about religious wars and loyalty.

    I loved the characters. Jehane was sometimes a bit coy, but I liked that she was able to enjoy and accept her attraction to Ammar and Rodrigo without stewing unnecessarily about it.

    Like others have said, this is one of the most well-structured fantasy books I've ever read. Overall, very enjoyable.

  6. #21
    I thought it was a great book with amazing characterisation, and it was the first historical fantasy I've read. There were a couple of things that annoyed me:
    The death of Velaz (when it seemed like it should have been Rodrigo) - it seemed that the expendable one died, not the one who you'd grown really attached to
    The revival of Diego
    The outcome of the final duel

    They were all handled excellently, and were done for a good reason, but I can't help thinking that particularly the revival of Diego was unnecessary. It was a very powerful scene - but it lost that power when he didn't actually die. To me, it feels like Kay is someone who doesn't want his major characters to be harmed, but he realises that it's necessary for them to die sometimes. It definitely works quite well, but sometimes I think he could afford to be a bit harsher.

    Calandra - I haven't read the Sarantine Mosaic, but its supposed to be based on the Byzantine Empire with a pseudo - Emperor Justinian, which places it a few hundred years before The Lions of Al-Rassan. It's the same world because it is effectively our world, with a few changes.

  7. #22
    Cranky old broad AuntiePam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brys
    They were all handled excellently, and were done for a good reason, but I can't help thinking that particularly the revival of Diego was unnecessary. It was a very powerful scene - but it lost that power when he didn't actually die. To me, it feels like Kay is someone who doesn't want his major characters to be harmed, but he realises that it's necessary for them to die sometimes. It definitely works quite well, but sometimes I think he could afford to be a bit harsher.
    Exactly. I relaxed about halfway through the book, because it was evident that Kay was too fond of his major characters and nothing serious was going to happen to them.

    When Rodrigo died, I had no emotion left for him. I had already spent it earlier, the times when he should have died. The duel made no sense to me.

  8. #23
    Witch of the Woods Miriamele's Avatar
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    After having Lions on my shelf for probably two years now, I finally got around to reading it this past week.

    For the most part, I liked the book, for the same reasons people have outlined in this discussion, but I can also say that I liked all of Kay's other books more. In fact, about halfway through, I almost considered stopping this book. But I'm glad I continued, because the ending was worth it.

    My main complaint with the book is that there are so many points of view. Kay has done a remarkable job creating characters in this book (as always), but I felt like none of them were as fully fleshed out as they could have been. Especially in the first half of the book, where the POV must have changed a dozen times over a few chapters...every time I started to love a character, the focus shifted to someone else. Even the main three characters could have used more development. But some secondary characters (like Miranda, Ibero, Queen Ines, King Badir, Jehane's parents) I really liked, and I felt Kay was teasing us by having only 2 or 3 short sections from their POV. I would rather the POV stuck with the main characters, or the POV sections of the secondary characters would be lengthened. Does that make sense? I guess what I am saying is that the book could have been longer to fully realize the rich cast of characters. Or, the secondary POVs could have been cut out.

    The overall effect for me of having this huge cast of characters in a not-overly-long book is that I didn't really care for anyone as much as I might have, simply because there were too many characters and the story was so complex. Until almost the end of the book, the story had little focus for me.

    Another factor that made me care less for the characters was their mercenary status. "All's fair in love and war," but some of the violent actions the main characters in the book took as a means to an end I found lessened my sympathy for them. Namely, the massacre of the Jaddite company bringing the parias gold north, planned by Ammar and Rodriguo. And Jehane--who is a doctor--helped them, and didn't seem to mind much that the result was a couple hundred dead bodies on the ground.

    It was at this point actually that I almost stopped reading. I understand that Kay was not glorifying any of the bloodshed in the book, but still, sometimes it was hard for me to read.

    Another gripe I can't help but mention is the one that others have already mentioned:
    Quote Originally Posted by AuntiePam
    I agree. I think.

    I just finished the book, and it irked me that Kay would foreshadow something that didn't happen, or that happened differently than expected. The death of Velaz (we were led to think it was Rodrigo), the death of the guy who was protecting Diego (we were led again to think it was Rodrigo), Alvar marrying a doctor (we were led to think it was Jehane).

    I felt like I was being teased, and I didn't need teasing to keep reading, or to maintain dramatic tension.

    I don't like tricky foreshadowing. For example, when the uprising against the Kindath began, he says that Jehane's parents didn't leave Fezana soon enough.

    Well, of course they did! They didn't leave before the riot, but they left alive and were safe. That's "soon enough", in my book.
    Indeed, Kay did tease the reader A LOT in this book. The final duel was also tricky, because he wrote the whole thing without using names, so you never know which man (Rodriguo or Ammar) or which woman (Miranda or Jehane) he was talking about. I can't say I liked it that way, but it was a powerful scene all the same.

    I did cry during that scene, and I cried when Rodriguo found his son, as well as when Ishak performed the surgery without his sight. And there were a few other scenes that brought a tear to my eye. Kay's writing, above all else, always holds the power to move me.

    Probably the most moving part of the book though, for me, was the final image of the wine glasses on the side of the moon-lit fountain. It held so many layers of meaning.

    A few other scenes I liked:
    -The assassination attempt on Zabira's sons
    -The witty banter between Ammar, Rodriguo and Jehane in the infirmiry
    -The entire carnival section
    -The sections which take place on Rodriguo's ranch with his family

    In all, I liked the book, because there were some very memorable and emotional scenes, and because there is a lot of food for thought in the ruminations of the charcters the last few chapters as they ponder the meaning of war and religion. But, I don't think I would read it again for the reasons above.

  9. #24
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    Just finished the book. It was pretty good. Probably a bit better than Tigana (as far as the writing goes) but not quite as good as A Song for Arbonne (my favorite Kay so far). The one problem I had with Lions, is that the plot felt rather tangled and all-over-the-place. What were they doing in Ragosa for so long?? And why were the last 50 pages so rushed, skimming over years and years of events in a matter of pages? It didn't make much sense to me, several plot threads were left unresolved, and I feel that Kay was a little lost. But maybe the plot wasn't the point; maybe the point was to give a snapshot of the warring cultures and divided loyalties in the peninsula. Anyway, over all it was a good book.
    Brys: I haven't read the Sarantine Mosaic, but its supposed to be based on the Byzantine Empire with a pseudo - Emperor Justinian, which places it a few hundred years before The Lions of Al-Rassan. It's the same world because it is effectively our world, with a few changes.
    Brys, I know this post of yours is a year old, and I'm not sure if you've read any more Kay since then... but I think you've misunderstood. All of Kay's "historical" novels seem to take place in different worlds, though they all resemble our own. They're parallel dimensions or universes, if you will. Tigana, A Song For Arbonne, and The Lions of Al-Rassan all take place on different worlds. The only thing that remains the same is the presence of the two moons, one blue, one silver. For example, depending on which book you're reading, "France" is called Arbonne, or Ferrieres. "Italy" is called the Peninsula of the Palm, or Portezza, or Batiara. "Germany" is called Gorhaut, Waleska, etc. But I think the Sarantine Mosaic takes place in the exact same world as Lions of Al-Rassan, because on the maps Italy is still called Batiara. Does that make any sense?
    Last edited by Evil Agent; July 21st, 2006 at 11:37 PM.

  10. #25
    Witch of the Woods Miriamele's Avatar
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    Are you sure about that, EA? I was always under the impression that all his "historical" books took place in the same world, one which was an alternate to our own. If not, why else would be make every world have the same two moons? And why would the religions (Jaddite, Asharite, Kindath) always be the same? Of course different countries would be called different things anyhow, depending on the place of the story.

    In our world, Germans call themselves Deutch, and in Canada we call them Germans, but it is the same thing and we are indeed in the same world.

  11. #26
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    If not, why else would be make every world have the same two moons? And why would the religions (Jaddite, Asharite, Kindath) always be the same?
    There are no Kindath, Jaddites, or Asharites in Tigana or A Song for Arbonne. There are very different religions in each of those books.

    I think in A Song for Arbonne there are two major religions, either worshipping the god Corannos, or the Goddess Rhiannon. In Tigana, the god was named something like Adaon, and again had a totally different system of religion. The Kindath/Jaddites/Asharites (based on Jews/Christians/Muslims) worship the moons, the sun, or the stars, and they only first appear in Lions...

    I think that the books written after Lions (the Sarantine Mosaic, and Last Light of the Sun) all take place in the same world as Lions. But the other books take place in a different universe. The two moons are supposed to be the only similarity. There were two moons in The Fionavar Tapestry as well, which is considered to be the original true world. Kay mentions several times how there are many worlds, but they are all reflections of Fionavar.
    Last edited by Evil Agent; July 24th, 2006 at 12:53 PM.

  12. #27
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    Guy Kay Worldbuilding 101:

    Guy Kay's books do not all take place in the same world, but all of his worlds are in some way reflections of the "One True World," Fionavar. The books that do take place on the same world (or ones close enough together to share names of places, religions, etc.,) are Lions, The Sarantine Mosaic, and Last Light of the Sun. Kay afficionados refer to that world as Jadland. These are the only ones that share the same religions. Tigana, Song for Arbonne, and the forthcoming Ysabel do not take place in Jadland, though they are also refelctions of Fionavar, so there are likely to be references to Fionavar or the other places. Fionavar is mentioned in some way in all of his works, and all of his works have "reflections," of things that happened in the Fionavar Tapestry, things that parallel the story in some way.

    So it's not our world that ties all of Kay's works together, but Fionavar, much like King's Dark Tower ties many (some would argue all) of his works together. Any similarities to our own world is only a reflection that our world, too, runs parallel to Fionavar.

    Hopefully that helps to clear things up a little.

  13. #28
    Witch of the Woods Miriamele's Avatar
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    Ah, I understand now, thank you both of you.

  14. #29
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    No prob. I'll take any chance to sound like a know-it-all.

  15. #30
    A very special tree...... lovely_elm's Avatar
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    Just finished!

    I finished Lions last night. I found getting my head around the names and places at the begining fairly hard and was very glad for the map and name reference at the front of the book.

    I am quite well travelled in Spain and was fascinated by his descriptions of places such as Grananda (Cartada I presumed) and Seville.

    It didn't help that the book was written by so many character's perspectives, but I did become fond of most of the main players, and I liked to see all sides of a story. I liked Rodrego alot and was very sorry when it became clear (finally) that he had been killed my Ammar. I thought Diego could have died too - that all felt a bit too schmultzy for me!

    I love GGK's ability ro write really strong female characters who are neither damsely, wimpy or somply eye candy.

    I think I loved Tigana more but there was just so much more time with everyone to become more involved with their stories. Saying that, I was more in love with both Rodrego and Ammar than I was with Alessan. Plus Catrina annoyed me a bit whereas I loved Jehane.

    In all it was a wonderful story and I expect to be thinging about it alot over the next few days...............

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