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Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay
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Children of Earth and Sky (edition 2017)

by Guy Gavriel Kay (Author)

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4322736,526 (4.06)31
Member:rococourt
Title:Children of Earth and Sky
Authors:Guy Gavriel Kay (Author)
Info:Penguin Canada (2017), 592 pages
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Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay

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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
If you love GGK, you'll love this book, it felt like peak Kay as I was reading it. It has historical fantasy, chapter cliff hangers, repeated "time running like a horse on the plain" phrases, women doing the best they can in a male world, lots of call backs to the Sarantine Mosaic and some references to the Lions of Al'Rassan, as well as a very very very subtle nod toward the Fionvar Tapestry. It took a while to figure out that it's set about 900 years after the Sarantine Mosaic, with Sarantium fallen to the Asharites and renamed. A portrait painter and a merchant travel there, at first accompanied by a doctor and his spy wife, but an encounter with pirates changes everything. One of the pirates travels with them for a while, and there's a side story about her brother. It feels like there are a few different books mashed up together, the point of view characters are scattered geographically and I didn't quite feel like I got enough time with any of them. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't recommend that a new to this author reader start here. ( )
1 vote silentq | Dec 31, 2018 |
I love everything about this author. ( )
1 vote | CarolBurrows | Dec 6, 2018 |
You know when you read a book, and you figure you're going to like it, but you don't expect to totally become obsessed with it? I didn’t expect to love Children of Earth and Sky. I thought I would enjoy it and I knew I wanted to read it, but it really blew me away. I saw the ARC listed on the Goodreads giveaways, so I entered. Guy Gavriel Kay is a bestselling Canadian author, who for some reason I hadn’t read yet, but have always wanted to. I thought Children of Earth and Sky was going to take me a while to finish, but once I got past the beginning, I couldn’t put it down.

The beginning is a little slow, but after reading the whole novel, totally necessary. Kay takes you on a journey, introducing his characters, some are main characters, some are minor characters, but all are important to the story. There's even a "cast of characters" in the beginning. As I read that, and moving though the beginning of the story, I was thinking I was going to need it. Admittedly, I did have to refer to it a couple times in the beginning, to remember who the Seressini ambassador was and who certain people were in Dubrava. But that's really it. Kay created such real and memorable characters, that the main ones, the ones you love, stay with you.

Danica was amazing. I thought she was brilliant. From the first moment we meet her and her dog, I knew she would be my favourite in this book. I love how she sticks to her mission, but also finds room for more. I love when she's with her grandfather. I love her instincts. I loved Zadek, Neven, Marin, Leonora and Pero. I read each page just to be closer to them, just to see what would happen. Marin was brilliant. I love how he grew and how he changed from the first moment he met Danica, to when they meet again.

I thought I was going to hate the khalif, but I didn’t. I thought I’d at least dislike most of the rulers, based on how many of the people lived, but I didn’t. Except for maybe the adviser in Obravic, he was terrible. What happened to all those people, based on his decisions, his indiscretions, is terrible. The khalif was nice, sort of. I liked his easy way with Pero. I liked that he just wanted and appreciated honesty. How rulers treated their children though, the khalif and Eudoxia, was just awful. I know they were both revered by their own peoples, heroes to their peoples, but to me, they were just opposite sides of the same coin. I enjoyed Eudoxia a lot though, liking her more than I expected.

The way women were treated in this novel was terrible. It's not that Kay was writing them poorly, Danica and Leonora were intelligent, multi-dementional, fascinating women. It's that this novel is based on life during the 16th century. Women weren't equal back then (not that they are now), and there were a lot of women being used for their bodies or hidden away because of them. Fighting through that, there are some powerful women in this world, doing their part to make their own way, finding ways to change the minds of the men around them. Even women we only see for a short time, are finding small ways to make their own decisions. With women like Danica and Leonora, it gives hope to the women of that world.

I've read that Kay has described his novels as historical fiction with a quarter turn towards fantasy, and that's pretty accurate. There are all things you would expect from a story set in 16th century Europe, but there's just a little hint of magic, something "pagan" going on in addition to something else. I kept expecting that this would somehow result in the fall of the khalif and the Asharites, but maybe I've been reading too many epic adventures lately. This novel didn't need the fall of a kingdom, it just needed characters to live their lives.

Children of Earth and Sky was a fantastic novel, by an amazing Canadian author. I definitely want to read the other novels set in this world. It was really great luck to have had this book land in my hands. Children of Earth and Sky is a beautifully woven tale that transports you to another world. ( )
1 vote Loni.C. | Aug 17, 2018 |
In Children of Earth and Sky, a return to the world of both The Sarantine Mosaic and The Lions of Al-Rassan, Kay draws on a different chapter of real-world history to build a compelling story. Several factions compete for power: Seressa, the fictional representation of Venice, plots through political intrigue and economic control; Senjan and Dubrava, representing Balkan nation states, alternately either resist or comply with stronger factions through guerilla warfare and piracy or through mercantilism and political neutrality; and Asharias, which was once Sarantium, rules through both religious and militaristic might.

The heart of why I love to read Kay is his amazing ability to create characters with complexity and nuance, a feat he repeats in Children of Earth and Sky. Leonora, a woman struggling to find her place in a world with too many closed doors, was my personal favorite, but no less compelling are Danica, a fierce young woman from a city of raiders and pirates; Pero, a young artist sent to both paint a portrait of and also spy on the most powerful man in the world; Marin, the younger son of a merchant family seeking his place in the world; and Damaz, and young trainee in the army of the khalif who has never known another life.

Kay’s use of fantastical elements differs slightly here from earlier works. Previously he has tended to use singular moments of power where characters brushed the half-world only briefly, but emerged deeply changed – Pwyll on the Summer Tree, or the zubir in the forest grove. Here the supernatural element is more constant and sustained, and so by necessity is less cataclysmic, although it is no less important or meaningful for it.

My only complaint for this book was in the final act, where at times the scope of the work changes drastically. Kay zooms in and out of history, and sometimes that shift is jarring – where we had just been spending every day with our characters suddenly we are learning what will happen in the decades and centuries to come. While it scratches the "but what happened after that?” itch quite nicely, it also sometimes felt a little bit too much, or maybe a little too pat… or maybe I’m just greedy and would rather Kay had written several more novels at the same time, to cover those intervening years.

Many sincere thanks to NetGalley for my opportunity to review this work. ( )
  alchemie | Apr 2, 2018 |
Children of Earth and Sky is classically Kay: four characters (a spy, an artist, a pirate and a Janissary) pass through and in various ways influence events following the fall of Sarantium to the Asharites (that world's analogue of the fall of Constantinople). Like Crispin in The Sarantine Mosaic, they are peripheral: their various actions just miss having an immediate major impact until the one whom one would think least likely - the artist - changes the course of events for the next couple of generations decisively.

One obvious parallel is Dunnet's The Year of the Ram, set mainly in Trebizond in a similar time frame. Kay is not in a position to provide as close-grained an image of the life of the time and place as Dunnet is: he has to deal with the limitations as well as the advantages of a made-up world. But Dunnet can't alter the succession of events, and Niccolo remains a onlooker to a course of events he (by definition) can't really affect.

This is not quite at Kay's very best, but it is rewarding reading and throws some interesting perspectives on some of his earlier novels. ( )
  jsburbidge | Mar 21, 2018 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451472969, Hardcover)

The bestselling author of the ground breaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new novel, Children of Earth and Sky, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands—where empires and faiths collide.
 
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...

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:49:38 -0400)

"The bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new novel, Children of Earth and Sky, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe. Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands--where empires and faiths collide. 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..."--… (more)

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