I just finished reading Tigana today and I must say that I loved it.
The first chapter starts very slowly. But I slogged through it, and by the time I was a few chapters in I was totally hooked. The story builds slowly, but it does build, and by the last chapter of the book I could hardly breathe because I was so eager to find out what happened.
The story is not predictable. I like complex stories like this that take lots of twists and turns, and contain significant surpises. I also like books like this that mostly deal with shades of grey instead of black and white, because they make you think. Often while reading Tigana I had to put the book down to think for a few moments if a character had been justified for doing something. I felt every bit as much sympathy for Brandin and Dianora, because their deplorable actions were done with love in mind, as I felt for Alessan and his group. This is like real life, where bad guys and good guys rarely exist.
Kay's writing contains a message of compassion for all people. But there was one character I really disliked and could feel no sympathy for: Alberico, not only because he killed so many innocent people gruesomely because he seemed to have no feelings at all, no soul, only a cold meaninless ambition. He didn't care about anything except his desire to be Emperor.
As well as the dark and pensive themes of the book, I enjoyed Kay's writing style as always. Although his poetic prose sometimes borders on melodrama he has the power to take my breath away. Rarely do I read a book and want to read certain lines over and over again because they're so beautiful.
The book is full of memorable scenes that are dripping with strong emotion. I felt everything along with the characters: the fear, the pain, the helplessness, the love and elation. I don't think I've ever read another author who conveys such depths of emotion as Kay.
If you like shocking surprises you'll like this book, because it contains quite a few. My jaw dropped open more than once!
All in all a great book that I'll always remember. Kay is a master of emotional, poignant writing that also makes you think. If you're willing to dedicate some time to this book (it's on the long side) as well as some mindpower (it's not something you can breeze through) then you won't be sorry.