Tigana Review

By | January 31, 2010

Tigana (10th Anniversary Edition)
by Guy Gavriel Kay

Jakob’s Goodreads Rating: (5) of 5 Stars – “It was Amazing!”
Recommended for: Fantasy readers of any type.

Book description:

A masterful epic of magic, politics, war… and the power of love and hate.

This is that rare, spellbinding novel in which myth comes alive and magic reaches out to touch us.  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 cannon be spoken or remembered…

But years after the devastation, a handful of courageous men and women embarks upon a dangerous crusade to overthrow their conquerors and bring back to the dark world the brilliance of a long-lost name: Tigana.  Against the magnificently rendered background of a world both sensuous and barbaric, this sweeping epic of a passionate people pursuing their dream is breathtaking in its vision, changing forever the boundaries of fantasy fiction.

I have read Kay books before.   I discovered him through a friend about a year ago reading The Fionavar Tapestry and Sarantine Mosaic, The Fionavar Tapestry being right up there in books that I now love.  Kay books usually take me a little bit to get into, but once I do I cannot put them down. Tigana was no different.  Yet now that I have finished it, it ranks up there with the best books I have read period.  It grabbed me on an emotional level that makes me wish I had discovered it years ago.

As the description states, the book is about a land that was conquered.  Not only was their land taken from them, but their name was taken from them. The implications of this are what Kay explores in this novel.  This struck a cord with me partially because I have a similar theme in the novel I am working on, but Kay takes it in a different direction.  With their name goes their identity.  Their history, deeds, story all lose the root and focus.

Pain, loss, hate are all explored here.  Yet also we see love, sacrifice, and wondrous deeds done in the effort to regain what was lost.  Magic exists in this novel and world.  (As the basis of the novel is a spell that makes everyone except the people born in that land before the spell was cast forget the name as soon as they hear or read it.) Yet, it is really a sideline for most of the novel.   They interactions of the people and what they feel are what Kay focuses on.

As this is a stand-alone novel, if you haven’t read Kay before, this would be a great place to start with his works.  This specific edition was nice to read with the afterword by the author.  It helps explain some of where he came up with the ideas and what he was going for with the plot themes. He accomplished his goals very well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *