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 Rob Matthews
9 of 10 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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical, literate fantasy - what else from Kay?,
This review is from: The Last Light of the Sun (Hardcover)
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Involving and expertly written,
I loved this- the first book I had read by this author. What a careful combination of well researched history and spiritual/ magical overtones. This is excellent alternative history and stays with me still
5.0 out of 5 stars Reworking old legends,
As always a beautifully crafted tale with a mixture of faerie and human linked by love,loss and sadness. The many strands of lives twine to a warm ending. One of my favourite fantasy writers.
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely fantasy,
Once again this author writes beautifully of an imagined world sufficiently like our own to be recognisable but different enough to stop one trying to tie the story in to real history. His characters are believable and the story whips along at a good pace. Thoroughly enjoyable.
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class Read,
Beautifully written and totally absorbing. Kay creates a world in which the reader becomes immersed. Far better than Lions of Al-Rassan, the only other of his books I have read so far.
4.0 out of 5 stars A good meaty (even bloody) read!,
I enjoyed this book. I have mentioned elsewhere that I am not a true fan of Sword and Sorcery novels but having been gently led into them by Lois McMasters Bujold I have sampled a few others. Mostly I can tell very soon that they are not for me but this book led me on quite successfully. It seems to me to be very heavily based on what is know of real happenings in the English and Viking worlds towards the end of the first Millennium. It may be that having some knowledge of this period helped acclimatise me to the tale. As I say it reads well, the characters are thoroughly well depicted and quite believable so forming one's opinion of them and their actions makes the book richer. It all ends reasonably well as the best stories tend to do. I am not sure if I shall dip into others of this author's works (for reasons given at the top) but neither do i rule out the possibility if I'm looking for a good read with nothing else to hand. Thank you for the pleasure you gave me Guy.
4.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing read,
Unlike some of the reviewers, I have never read anything by this writer before. It is a sort imagined history set amongst the Vikings, Welsh Celts and Anglo Saxons and sets out a story that is essentially about four families who run into various troubles (two of the families are royal and one is part of the viking raiders). It is very well writtten as you really want to know what happens to each of the characters, despite the reviews saying they were stock characters or other cnaracters in other books were easier to emotionally connect to. I'm not sure I would describe it purely as fantasy (although there is some bits of magic in it), as you may well find you enjoy it simply if you like historical ficton. I certainly enjoyed it thoroughly enough to go out and buy another book by the same author.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!,
Hadn't read this author for many a year and this book reminded me what a great author he is. The plot was well thought out and the book is gripping from start to finish. I love how he interweaves history and fantasy.
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly up to standard,
This review is from: The Last Light of the Sun (Paperback)
...but in this book Kay overdoes the authorial observations he likes to insert into his narratives. I haven't had a problem with this in his previous books - on the contrary, if used sparingly it's a device which can help build up the atmosphere in his novels - but here he indulges in it too much too often, with the result that (to my taste at any rate) it becomes something of an irritation, creating overlong and somewhat pompous hiatuses in the story. I enjoyed this book even so, but I can't agree with other reviewers who rate it more highly than "Tigana" or my own favourite, "A Song for Arbonne". One for a confirmed GGK fan rather than a reader new to his work IMHO.
3.0 out of 5 stars The Last Light of the Sun,
I have read many of Guy Gavriel Kay's historical fantasies, and they have similarities in that they portray an alternative history on an alternative earth-like planet, with recognisable timelines, and this one has references to his earlier 'Sarantium' location.
''The Last Light of the Sun'' is set in a psuedo Europe populated by warriors similar to Vikings and the Celts of Britain, but with 'new' GODS, and a 'magical' element of fairies and the 'Wild Ride'; but still the same dynastic/tribal struggles and conflicts we might be familiar with.
A good read and inexpensive as a kindle download.
I have met G G Kay ( a Canadian) some years ago in Edinburgh and he has quite a deep voice.
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The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay (Paperback - 3 Mar 2011)