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Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay

Ysabel (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Guy Gavriel Kay

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1,446None5,171 (3.68)206
Authors:Guy Gavriel Kay
Info:Roc (2007), Ausgabe: First Edition First Printing, Hardcover, 421 Seiten
Collections:Your library, Gelesen, 2012 neu, 2012 gelesen
Tags:new in 2012, read, read in 2012

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Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay (2007)

Recently added byColona, deek1618, coralice, whwatson, wuolong, Davidmullen, confusedpet, private library, swarmack, malloyd
2007 (21) Canadian (30) Celtic (18) Celts (27) contemporary (11) fantasy (386) fantasy fiction (12) fiction (160) France (81) Guy Gavriel Kay (12) hardcover (12) historical fantasy (34) historical fiction (21) library (12) magic (12) mythology (24) novel (16) Provence (37) read (24) read in 2007 (12) Romans (12) sf (11) sff (24) signed (15) speculative fiction (13) supernatural (14) to-read (28) unread (24) urban fantasy (30) YA (13)

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» See also 206 mentions

English (69)  Dutch (2)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
I have read many of the reviews of this none of which seem to mention thestory is basically a ghost story. ( )
  Davidmullen | Mar 16, 2014 |
Reread it. I cried. I smiled. I couldn't put it down. Again. ( )
  dogwooddenizen | Jan 7, 2014 |
A wonderful book. I really enjoyed it. A young Canadian gets embroiled in a a story retold over two thousand years. This was aimed at young adult readers as there is a fair amount of teen angst over sex and their place in an adult world. It is typical high quality writing by Kay. ( )
  stuart10er | Nov 5, 2013 |
Ah.Not so good.The weakest of all his books.Well enough written but dull.Girl goes back in time as her ancestor ( )
  babybelle | Jul 2, 2013 |
A bit of warning: Guy Gavriel Kay is only my most favorite author in the entire world. Given how many different authors I admire and follow, that's a pretty big honor for me to bestow. His novels evoke a certain range of emotions that no other author has ever been able to achieve, and without a doubt makes it impossible for me to honestly critique any of his books' weaknesses. Ysabel is no different, and if you take one thing from this review, it's that you should read it. Now.

Kay has mostly written historical fantasy books; he chooses a historical conflict or time period and then weaves a fantasy novel out of his lengthy research. Sometimes the 'fantasy' tag indicates the use of mystical elements, and other times it simply allows him to twist fact into fiction without being admonished for being historically inaccurate. Ysabel is a slight departure from this; the historical elements smash head-first into modern-day France when 15-year-old Ned stumbles upon a 2,500-year-old love triangle.

Ysabel is written very informally and much more simply compared to Kay's previous novels. This is due to the main character being a teenage boy, as well as the fact that it takes place in a modern setting and has a far less epic scope than his other books. I had some problems with the dialogue feeling a little forced and insincere in a few places (most notably when large groups of characters were talking with each other), but for the most part, it still retains the elegance of Kay's voice. The only word I can summon to describe his prose is "beautiful," as trite as that might be.

One of the touches that Kay adds to his novels are the subtle "grace notes" that nod to his past works and suggest that his stories are all part of a shared history of one world. I'd been wondering how he was going to do that in Ysabel, since it clearly takes place in our world, not a world where there are two moons in the sky. To my surprise, Ysabel is nearly a coda to one of his earlier books. As I was reading, I started musing to myself, "Why is Kay re-using character names? This is only his tenth book, he has plenty of names to pick from." At one point, the realization struck me rather forcefully that the name was not being reused, and was in fact referring to the same character. Ysabel is still a fully stand-alone novel, and can be understood and appreciated without reading any of Kay's other works, but knowing the history of the reused characters makes it even deeper.

For those who haven't read Kay's other novels, this untold back story simply folds into another of the author's signature touches: the hints that there is far more to the world than the current story can show. It's as if Kay is saying, "There are many, many stories in this world, and they often collide with each other, but this is the one I'm telling right now." This is illustrated in Ysabel, particularly when the members of the love triangle insist repeatedly, "This is only about the three of us," while everyone else replies, "No, it's not." There are many things in Ysabel that are left untold and unexplained, but it's done purposely and leaves the reader imagining those stories as he or she feels they might be told.

I always feel depressed when I reach the end of a brand new Kay book far too quickly and realize I have roughly a three-year wait until the next one. At the same time, I'm thankful that he doesn't crank them out at the high frequency that publishers often demand when the author is a mainstream hit who guarantees massive sales. I highly, highly recommend any of his books, although Ysabel might be the best starting point for a Kay newbie, since its prose is the least dense out of all of them. ( )
1 vote BrookeAshley | May 21, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Guy Gavriel Kayprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Banning, GregCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rostant,LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There is one story and one story only
That will prove worth your telling,
Whether as learned bard or gifted child;
To it all lines or lesser gauds belong
That startle with their shining
Such common stories as they stray into.

-- Robert Graves
For Linda McKnight
Anthea Morton-Saner
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The woods came to the edge of the property: to the gravel of the drive, the electronic gate, and the green twisted-wire fence that kept out the boars.
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Iedereen komt ergens anders vandaan.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451461908, Paperback)

Saint-Sauveur Cathedral of Aix-en-Provence is an ancient structure of many secrets-a perfect monument to fill the lens of a celebrated photographer, and a perfect place for the photographer's son, Ned Marriner, to lose himself while his father works.

But the cathedral isn't the empty edifice it appears to be. Its history is very much alive in the present day-and it's calling out to Ned...

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:51 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

While his photographer father works to record Saint-Saveur Cathedral of Aix-en-Provence, Ned Marriner wanders the halls and rooms of the ancient structure, uncovering some of the many secrets of the monument and discovering that it is not as empty as it appears.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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