Monday, July 4, 2016

The Children of Earth and Sky Book Review

by The Wanderer

Author: Guy Gavriel Kay
Publisher: New American Library
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: Standalone
Pages: 567

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You Had To Grow Into Your Own Significance - Or Come To Terms With The Lack Of It


Guy Gavriel Kay has been been writing great books that are based off historical time periods in our own world's history for over two decades. The Children of Earth and Sky continues with this trend and focuses on the historical time period just after the Ottoman Empire conquered the Byzantine Empire. With a significant number of narrators it gets difficult to really describe the main plot. Essentially characters from various regions of the Jad Empire (Holy Roman Empire) journey together to Osmanlis controlled Sauradia (The Ottoman Empire) to achieve their own personal goals.

Although there are over a dozen narrators, the majority of the storytelling is taken in stride by five characters: Danica, Damaz, Marin, Pero, and Leonora. Danica has grown up in the small coastal city of Senjan, which is known for its loyalty to the Jad religion and for its fierce fighting (and quite frankly fanatical) warriors. The Senjan have never forgiven the Osmanlis for destroying Sarantium (Constantinople), and it is Danica's quest to kill as many Osmanlis as she can and to find her younger brother who was sold to them when he was a young child.

Pero is from Seressan, the son of a famous artist, and an aspiring artist himself. His father's untimely death has left him with a famous name to look up to, but very little time to have built up a customer base. His desperation makes him the perfect choice for Seressan's Council of Twelve to anoint him with the task of painting Gurcu the Destroy, ruler of the Osmanlis.

Leonora is a young women disgraced by a pregnancy out of wedlock. She's sent to Seressan to become a spy for them. As part of her new found role she must marry a much older doctor, and accompany him as he travels to his new full time occupation.

Marin is a wealthy merchant's son from Dubravik, who enjoys sleeping around and sailing his family's ship. He kind of acts like a different supporting character during the journey to Asharias. He's a lover, an adventurer, and loyal friend.

The final narrator provides an opposing point of view to the four narrators that have grown up around the Jad religion, and that's Damaz. He's a djanni in training, and soon he will be part of one of the most elite Osmanlis military units.

Leonora, Marin, Pero, and Danica each spend a great deal of time together for most of the plot, but they do split up and come back together at various points. Three of the narrators take a leading role in terms of controlling the plot. Leonora owns the first third, Danica the second, and Pero the final third. Marin switches between his various supporting roles for each of the leads when they take over the plot. Interspersed is the narrations of Damaz who provides an alternative point of view to what's going on in the greater world.

The problem with this structure the other characters become a lot less interesting when they're not the focus of the main plot. Pero is fairly frustrating character until the end of the book, and likewise Leonora's plot mostly fades to the background after the first third passes by. Marin's personality shifts to whomever is carrying the plot, making him come across as the least authentic character in the whole book.

When characters do take over as leads, they have excellent stories to tell, and they all come together in some very satisfying climaxes. The prose is still fluid (except for the sex scenes). And the way the final few paragraphs of chapters (like many of Kay's other books) are always filled with some of his most emotionally impactful writing. Despite this, The Children of Earth and Sky is a very disjointed book, or at least more disjointed then usual for Kay, but it's still a strong read.

Score:8.4





1 comment:

  1. The novel investigates the lives of leaders, villagers, and souls in the middle of, really every one of the "children of earth and sky." Discuss the ways in which the novel investigates contrasts and likenesses among a range of social classes. Michelle Rodriguez New Jacket Filmstarlook

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