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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kay does it again
Anyone who's had the pleasure to read a novel by Guy Gavriel Kay will knowwhat to expect from "The Last Light of the Sun", namely a wonderfullymoving fantasy based around a certain time or culture in our own history.As this is Kay's "Northern" book, it is easy to identify the Erlings,Cyngael and Anglcyn from the novel to our own Vikings, Welsh Celts andAngles of England...
Published on 21 April 2004 by Sev

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stock writing from Kay
This is a solid but unspectacular offering from Kay. It is set in the same alternate earth with which we are familiar from his other novels, and it benefits from many of the same familiar ingredients. In many ways this feels more familiar than normal, but this is perhaps because I have had greater exposure to British history than the various European regions in which...
Published on 6 Sep 2006 by Ben W


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kay does it again, 21 April 2004
By 
Sev "Sev" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Anyone who's had the pleasure to read a novel by Guy Gavriel Kay will knowwhat to expect from "The Last Light of the Sun", namely a wonderfullymoving fantasy based around a certain time or culture in our own history.As this is Kay's "Northern" book, it is easy to identify the Erlings,Cyngael and Anglcyn from the novel to our own Vikings, Welsh Celts andAngles of England. Each and every character has their own believablemotives, history and depth, no matter how minor or incidental to the mainstory, and Kay has never been afraid to put many of them through theemotional wringer or to kill off main characters as an integral part ofthe story.
Kay has always been one of the few authors who can generategenuine lump-in-the-throat moments for me, who could forget the finalscene between Paul and Jaelle in "The Darkest Road", and this one iscertainly no exception, especially in the more magical scenes.
Though certainly a lesser work in scope and size than "The SarantineMosaic" or "Tigana" I still have no hesitation in giving this top marks.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book, 29 May 2006
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One of the best fantasy books. It is better than Tigana imho. Tigana was sort of epic fantasy with wizards, etc. This one is a dark fantasy reminding me of Black Company by Glen Cook but in some ways it is even better. I am not very good at reviews, so I can only say that I really really liked the book. I would most definitely recommend this one. Love, death, heroes, loyalty, battles, ugliness of the war, unpredictable events and mystery. I am stunned. I never expected so much from a single volume fantasy work. 10 out of 10 without a cloud of doubt. The only slight drawback is a missing map.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book by Kay so far, 27 May 2005
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I have finished this book in 3 nights, and that says a lot for a full-time working mother of a small baby ... This is Kay at his best, the only one of his books I loved more than Tigana.
Every time I pick up one of his books, I am amazed how the writer has managed to create an imaginary world similar enough to our own to be realistic, but completely different and fascinating at the same time. The Last Light of the Sun has the proper mix of familiar places and everyday people on the one hand and magic creatures and violent battles on the other, to satisfy any serious fantasy reader. I also personally enjoyed a lot the references to places and events of previous books (e.g. Sailing to Sarantium) that create a sense of familiarity, while at the same time the story and characters are completely original. I wish more writers of "series" could be inspired by this example, and avoiding repeating themselves over and over.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, if Long, Historical Fantasy, 18 Mar 2005
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
About ten years ago I read Kay's "The Lions of Al-Rassan" and enjoyed it a great deal, so when I was looking for something fairly long to settle in with, this caught my eye at the library. Some 500 pages later, I felt much as I do at the end of lengthy Hollywood epics like Gladiator: I was suitably engaged for a long time by an occasionally excellent, occasionally cheezy, generally solid work of entertainment. The book is set in the slightly alternate Earth Kay used for The Lions of Al-Rassan and The Sarantine Mosaic, a world very much the same as ours, with some glimmerings of magic, and different names. Here, the story takes place in roughly 9th-century Britain, and is devoted to showing the interactions between Anglo-Saxons, Welsh, and Viking people during a time of profound change.
This is done by introducing a fairly large cast of characters from each side. We have the Anglcyn king Aeldred (based on Aldred of Wessex) who spends his lifetime trying to build a society that can withstand Erling (Norse) raids. At his side are his four children: the playful heir, the cerebral younger son, the fiery daughter, and the good daughter with fey powers. The Cyngael (Welsh) people are represented by Alun, a prince of one of the three lands, along with Brynn, the lord of another, and his family. A priest of Jad (a benign light/sun-based faith standing in for Christianity) named Cenion travels the land trying to bring greater tolerance and understanding between Cyngael and Anglcyn. The Erling are mainly shown through a retired warrior exiled in his middle age for killing a man in a pub, and his disgraced son, who runs away to join a mercenary force of raiders. These characters are all reasonably well-drawn and come alive on the page, but tend to fall within well-worn archetypes: noble and wise king, grief-struck prince, mysterious princess, estranged father, prodigal son, proud aging warrior, wise and beloved priest, cruel and evil villain, and finally, faithful hound. This creates a little distance from the characters--we may be interested in their trials and tribulations, but it's much harder to care for them.
The book unfolds through the interactions of these and many other characters, a technique that sacrifices a strong central perspective for a wider, and arguably richer, range of viewpoints. While some readers may find the minor digressions into the lives of outlying characters distracting, I found them to be very complementary to the story. They do take one out of the specific moment, but they also provide a depth and context that is central to what Kay's attempt to show how life is a continual unfolding of interrelated events and encounters, rather than a three-act play. They also serve as primary examples the recurring theme that individual actions can change the world. Of course, the result is that the plot is somewhat formless. Things happen, which then influence other events and people, and on and on. There is a basic running theme of civilization/good vs. warfare/evil, but that's not a plot. Yet a further central theme is the idea of the world of magic fading away as people become more enlightened. This is a delicate thing to tackle, and Kay did about as good a job as possible considering that the stuff with faeries, and the dark woods, and the half-world is all pretty old hat. So, there are some biggish ideas running throughout the book, and sometimes they overwhelm the actual storytelling and characterization.
It should be said that while Kay's portrayal of time and place is very well done, and clearly a great deal of research has gone into the book, the writing is kind of staccato. Sentences are short, and paragraphs are extremely short, making for choppy reading. There are also frequent instances of excessive authorial "voice-over" in which Kay feels the need to highlight some particular aspect of the story. These often begin with the phrase "There are times..." and feel awfully heavy-handed. There's also no doubt that for a story in which geography is so important, the absence of a map is sorely felt. Still, on the whole, this is a very readable work of historically-based fantasy. It's also notable in that the villan dies in a rather unexpected and refreshingly realistic manner. One does get a sense of the difficulty of 9th-century life, especially the woeful plight of women, and any author who can pull that off deserves respect.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent as always, 27 Jun 2006
By 
Chris Evans "Enzuigiri" (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
A great book. Agree that geography was a little disorientating at times but not enough to put me off enjoying it.

Characters were very good as always and I really felt for them as usual. I personally like the 'chopping' style of the storyline as it is good to see how the multiple paths interact together. This is a fairly new direction for GGK and it was good that (unlike RJ's WOT series) there were no 'dull' paths which you felt were taking you away from the action you wanted to read about.

Emotionally speaking I felt more for the characters in Arbonne or AlRassan but those were different storys with different focuses so this is in no way a criticism of LLotS.

All in all an excellent read and throw in Vikings and Blood Eagles and in my book you have a winner ;)
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stock writing from Kay, 6 Sep 2006
This is a solid but unspectacular offering from Kay. It is set in the same alternate earth with which we are familiar from his other novels, and it benefits from many of the same familiar ingredients. In many ways this feels more familiar than normal, but this is perhaps because I have had greater exposure to British history than the various European regions in which his other novels are set.

He has a broad cast once again, which allows for some good characterisation, but also leads to a slightly staccato feel as the viewpoint changes frequently. Some of the characters are a little similar (to each other) and most of them are bog-standard archetypes, but perhaps the main issue is that I didn't feel any particular emotional engagement with any of them. Contrast that with Tigana in particular, but also the Sarantine Mosaic, where I felt genuinely moved as the stories unfolded.

So, once again Kay does a good job with his brand of historical fiction - well researched, reasonably evocative of the era, some very nice details - but on this occasion it doesn't soar as I have come to hope from Kay.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another wonderful tale, 9 April 2010
By 
L. Braybrook (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Another wonderful story from Guy Gavriel Kay. This book reminded me of 'The lions of Al-Rassan' where he took a familiar place and history and then twisted it to make a fantastic story. I loved the characters in this book and although some of the reviewers have disliked the writing style I think it's just a matter of taste and it worked for me.

Basically, if you've ever read and enjoyed any of Guy Gavriel Kay's other works I doubt you'll regret buying this one. And if you've never read one of his books I can't recommend them highly enough.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kay Does it Again!, 19 May 2004
For those of you who know of Kay's writing, it will come as no surprise that there is no disappointment with The Last Light of the Sun after such a long wait. Yet another amazingly written history for escapists everywhere, as Kay transports you to a different realm in such complete entirety that you will spend weeks pining for this world once you leave. And again, be prepared to shed tears, as joy and sorrow are so completely interwoven on the tapestry.
For those of you who don't know of Kay's writing, get reading. You won't regret it, and you will never look back. You would probably not want to read this book before any of the other Kay books as there are references to his previous sagas which take you back in time and emotion, although they do not in fact limit the reader should you choose to read this book first.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kay sure knows what he's doing..., 1 July 2004
...and as always, the story is wonderful, the style mesmerizing and the characters lovable. Kay is a master of style, and in this book he pushes the boundaries of keeping the reader curious and enthralled even further than he has before. To tell a story NOT ny focusing on the main characters, but by focusing on the marginal people, the ones who just happens to be nearby, who move out of the story after the event... Absolute genious.
To return to a world (mapped on our own) his readers already know and adore, touching upon lives we have encountered and laughed with, cried with, is also a very strong point of Kay's writing.
The only reason this book doesn't get a 5 from me, is that it doesn't quite meassure up to Kay's previous novels, such as 'The Lions of Al-Rassan', which I would say is his best acheivement yet.
Oh. And a map wouldn't have hurt, even though the reader - obviously - has a fair idea of what the world looks like.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical, literate fantasy - what else from Kay?, 29 Jan 2005
By 
N. Clarke (Lancs, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Like each of Kay's books since Tigana, Last Light views history through a prism of fantasy, drawing rich inspiration from early medieval northern Europe - specifically the neighbouring cultures of the Vikings (Kay's Erlings), the Anglo-Saxons (Anglcyn), and the Welsh (Cyngael). Yet it is not simply history under different names, nor even an alternative version. Rather, Kay uses his historical-fantasy environment to illuminate themes as compelling and relevant to the reader as they are to the characters: family, exile, faith, and finding one's place.
It is less a straightforward narrative than a portrait of a land and its peoples in the throes of change. As the title hints, the setting is the edge of a world, and the story that plays out is of lives lived on the periphery. To the followers of the rising Jaddite faith, their lands witness the final descent of the one god's sun each evening. But as Alun ab Owyn discovers, the faery, and other remnants of the old ways, hover in the half-light; there is poetry here, but life is harsh. Human settlement is hard-won, and precarious.
Simultaneously, it is a story about storytelling. The sparse, stylised prose and deliberately self-reflexive structure both mirror the sagas of their inspiration, and serve as a vehicle for exploring how stories are told. Characters' concerns with memory and legacy are matched by a self-conscious authorial voice, which directly and indirectly examines how decisions made in the telling of a story can shape the reading of it.
For all its use of traditional epic motifs, this is a distinctly unconventional fantasy, constantly upsetting assumptions of how it should unfold. Farmers' daughters are woven in alongside warriors and kings, and in this transitional world the ordinary and accidental echo just as strongly as great deeds.
Blending history, myth and fantasy into a seamless, poetic whole, The Last Light of the Sun is an accomplished and truly evocative novel.
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The Last Light of the Sun
The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay (Paperback - 3 Mar 2011)
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