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Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay


by Guy Gavriel Kay

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tigana Universe (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed this book. Tigana is set in a medieval or renaissance world, in a planet orbited by two moons and with some of the most unforgettable characters. The characters are all so meticulously developed. They aren't all good or bad, they are all just so human. This is not a typical fantasy book. It does have some magic, but it is the people and their conflicts that drive the story.

Dianora is my favourite character in this book. Her inner conflicts and her story arc really made the book for me. The ending of her story is one of most poignant moments i have read. Brandin was another wonderful character- an antagonist you can't help but sympathise with and root for in the end. The relationship between Brandin and Dianora is one of the best love stories i have ever read.

Tigana does suffer from a lack of a very strong plot and sometimes it dragged a bit, but the prose and the really wonderful characters make up for it.

( )
  kasyapa | Oct 9, 2017 |
1.5 stars


characters: boring and bland
- the character dynamics were so cringey and forced they were honestly painful to read
- I couldn't give a single iota of shit about Devin if you paid me to
- all I know about Alessan is that he likes to run his hands through his hair
- that's it, that's about how impressionable these characters were for me

female characters: boring and bland and SHITTY
- "Alais's delicate, pale beauty and diffident grace singled her out like some flower transplanted here from a garden in a cooler, milder world" ah yes I love it when female characters are Delicate and Beautiful Flowers
- Kay just LOVES using the Madonna-whore dichotomy when it comes to his female characters
- The female characters in this book are basically either: A) Beautiful (AS THE BOOK WILL REPEATEDLY TELL YOU, OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN. THESE FEMALE CHARACTERS ARE BEAUTIFUL!!! DON'T FORGET IT!!!! BUT, JUST IN CASE YOU FORGOT, IT'LL REMIND YOU OF THEIR IMMEASURABLE BEAUTY ON EVERY OTHER PAGE!!!) and Perfect and Pure or B) Sexually active, which is a Big No No of course
- Because when female characters are sexually active and actually enjoy a certain kind of BDSM-oriented (CONSENSUAL) sex, Devin hits them with Dat Bullshit by claiming their sex is "an admission that somewhere in the soul we deserve no more than this, nothing that goes deeper. Since we are not free and have accepted that." MY DUDE. CHILL. DID YOU NOT WILLINGLY ENGAGE IN AND ENJOY THIS SHIT??? what is your problem.
- I don't know I feel like the female characters in this book were just there for the sake of being there or there for furthering some male character's plot. By the end, all the male characters are the ones who get Shit Done and all the female characters are discounted or gotten rid of or just NOT THERE. And the (very) little they do contribute is largely in the form of using their bodies for sex. :))) lovely.

plot: too damn drawn out
- was that incest subplot really needed though
- I don't understand how this book was 800 pages it felt like not that much happened??
- also why the hell were there so many gratuitous sex scenes. like I-just-met-you-less-than-maybe-two-hours-ago-but-now-we're-having-sex-on-a-hill gratuitous.
- LOL when Alessan tells Catriana he loved her all along. I actually LOLd because it was so cheesy and out of nowhere and just plain BAD.
- Also, just so. much. weeping.
- also LOL when Catriana has sex with Devin to distract him from what's being talked about. LIKE WHAT KINDA DUMBASS IDEA IS THIS??? WHY IS THIS A THING CATRIANA DOES??

writing style: repetitive and so grandiose that it lost sight of any hint of the personal
- Oh how the writing style GRATED on my nerves. It was sOooOooo MELODRAMATIC and in your face and after almost 800 pages of it I was just 1000000% ready for this book to be over
- if you love the same things being repeated in a million different ways then you're gonna love this book!!
- E.g. Dianora is all like I LOVE BRANDIN!!! but I MUST KILL HIM!! but omg I love him though!! I MUST BRING BACK TIGANA THOUGH!!!! but omg Brandin is looking at me my heart is flutterring so bad I love him so much!!!! GIRL GET IT TOGETHER
- if I had to describe my reading experience in one word it'd be "FRUSTRATING"

Conclusion: this book just read like a shitty version of The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta. If you want actually moving fantasy novels with great, complex characters (male and female), then read that series, because as far as I can tell, those things are nowhere to be found in Tigana. ( )
  fatmashahin | Sep 23, 2017 |
A great read. Nice to see a doorstopper fantasy with some ambiguities to the characters, but not so much to be all grim-n-gritty. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | May 26, 2017 |
Sword and Laser - June
  GoldenDarter | Sep 15, 2016 |
The world seemed to be a place of more beauty and more pain than he could ever have imagined it to be." (pg. 458).

Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana is an impressive, stirring and intoxicating fantasy novel. I was swept up in the current of the novel in a way that I very rarely am. I enjoy a great many books but there are rather few that I am consistently eager to devour once opened. Tigana was one of these rare books.

The story is a fascinating one, balancing lofty concepts of freedom and memory alongside an engrossing adventure plotline, with likeable and identifiable characters who you never tire of reading about. Kay matches the richness and colour of the story with a classy, poetic style of prose which had me jotting down dozens and dozens of page numbers when a particular paragraph or line or description impressed me, in order to savour them further at a later date.

I was particularly touched by the consistent theme throughout the novel regarding memory and its effects on us. We all have things from our past which weigh down on us with an often unbearable heaviness: regrets, mistakes, a longing for lost love. When one character is described on page 329 as walking "through a world shaped and reshaped every single moment around the knowledge that Tigana is gone", we know how it feels, even if it's not a country we long for. But I've rarely heard such emotions described so eloquently and poetically and heartbreakingly as in Kay's prose. On page 430, Kay uses a phrase, "the keenness of longing and an aching tenderness", and I believe this effectively sums up these more introspective parts of the novel.

But despite its introspection, the book is also a gripping page-turner. The action is well-described and the fantasy locales brought to vivid life. It is important to note that Kay also provides resolution in the story: everything is wrapped up by the end. This might seem like a rather dense thing to say but, if you think about it, it's very rare to find a self-contained, single-volume book in the fantasy genre. Most are ongoing series, and for that reason alone Tigana should be cherished. You know by the end that you're going to get closure on the story. (Ironically, though, I loved it so much I wish there was a follow-up!) But of course, as I've tried to explain, there are many other reasons to cherish this novel.

There were one or two drawbacks, as there always are for ambitious novels, but none so large as to diminish my love for the book. I suppose sometimes Kay gets a bit carried away with some of the lofty things the characters say; most of the time it's appropriate but once or twice it seemed a bit awkward. For the most part, however, the characters' dialogue is believable: I was particularly surprised by and welcomed the amount of humour in the novel, especially the snarky camaraderie which develops between the members of Alessan's group.

The other - larger - problem I had with the book was the whole Brandin/Dianora relationship. I am surprised when people who review the book describe Brandin as a likeable or sympathetic character: an anti-villain as opposed to a tyrant. I mean, yes, he mourns his son, but his son died because of an aggressive and unprovoked war of conquest he started. What he inflicts on Tigana is completely out-of-proportion and sociopathic, and I am really surprised that some readers still say he has inner goodness when even more revelations about what he has done (and continues to do) come to light at the end of the book. The torture he has inflicted for twenty years is not the conduct of a decent chap. Sure, he is affable enough in person but so, by many accounts, was Idi Amin. Even Hitler liked his dog. It is with this in mind that I had a problem with Dianora too. She falls in love with Brandin, a man who has killed her beloved father and, even more importantly, committed genocide against her entire people. I know Kay was trying to inject some romantic tragedy arc into the story, but that's like Anne Frank falling hopelessly in love with Hitler. Some things should just kill the prospect of love for good: your lover systematically murdering and torturing everyone you've ever known or cared about is surely one of them.

In contrast, I loved everything about Alessan's group: the interactions, the adventures, the roaming around in exotic locales. It's everything fantasy should be. I found I could also hear the music (Alessan's group travel under cover as a troupe of musicians) just from Kay's evocative descriptions. He doesn't include lyrics or anything, but nevertheless I feel like I've heard 'Lament for Adaon' in my bones. Kay strives for emotion throughout the novel and if you allow yourself to be swept up by it, Tigana will really touch your heart.

Overall, Tigana is a fine example of what the fantasy genre can achieve. It is a large book, like most fantasy books are, but the time just flies by. It balances its lofty themes of freedom and memory alongside a page-turning plot and characters you care about. As Kay wrote in his Afterword for the tenth anniversary of the book's release, the novel demonstrates "the universality of fantasy... allow[ing] escapist fiction to be more than just that." (pg. 792). Even if it was just escapist fiction that would be fine, but to provide such a great read and still address eloquently and intelligently such poignant themes is incredible. To appropriate a delicious quote from the later stages of the book: what a harvest, Tigana." ( )
1 vote MikeFutcher | Jun 3, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Guy Gavriel Kayprimary authorall editionscalculated
Odom, MelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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All that you held most dear you will put by
 and leave behind you; and this is the arrow
 the longbow of your exile first lets fly.
You will come to know how bitter as salt and stone
 is the bread of others, how hard the way that goes
 up and down stairs that never are your own.
—Dante, The Paradiso
What can a flame remember? If it remembers a little less
than is necessary, it goes out; if it remembers a little
more than is necessary, it goes out. If only it could
teach us, while it burns, to remember correctly.
—George Seferis, "Stratis the Sailor Describes a Man"
For my brothers, Jeffrey and Rex
First words
Both moons were high, dimming the light of all but the brightest stars.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the complete story in one volume. Please do not combine this with either part one (Tigana Chapters 1 - 12) or part two (Tigana Chapters 13 - 20).
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451457765, Paperback)

Tigana is the magical story of a beleaguered land struggling to be free. It is the tale of a people so cursed by the black sorcery of a cruel despotic king that even the name of their once-beautiful homeland cannot be spoken or remembered.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:25 -0400)

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The people of a land cursed by the sorceries of their tyrant king seek to overthrow their conquerors and heal their broken land.

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