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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 9 April 2015
Having loved most of Guy Gavriel Kay's previous work, I'm surprised to find myself struggling with this. I think maybe there are just too many characters, and they lack that fundamental of previous works like the Fionavar Tapestry, Lions of Al-Rassan and Tigana - I'm just not really too bothered what happens to these people. I'm around half way through and maybe it will pick up if I manage to stagger a bit further - but so far, I'm quite disappointed.
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on 22 July 2014
This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. When I was younger I read the Finovar Tapestries, Lions of Al-Rassan and Tigana. I recall how much I enjoyed them. More recently, whilst waiting for next Games of Thrones saga, I remembered the author and read some of his more recent books. Overwhelmed. Just as super as I recall years ago. The depth of the characters and the woven plots which always tie so wonderfully together at the end, leave you thinking WOW, Oh My!. I am now going back over the earlier books and having the pleasure of enjoying the subtleties of the dialogue now that I am older...and some what wiser!
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on 2 October 2015
This is a very well presented story based loosely on the history of China.
Extremely well written and very hard to put down, once you got through the early chapters which set the scene and introduce the characters. Strongly thought provoking and a really enjoyable read.
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VINE VOICEon 17 August 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is, as my header says, a big book - 632 pages in my edition. It is also a detailed, elaborate book that takes time to establish its storyline and protagonists, of whom there are quite a few.

When I was reading I was engrossed. GGK is a consummate story teller who imbues his characters with depth and emotion. But having put it down, I found myself picking up other things to read, and I recall being about half way through and thinking that while all this set up is fine and dandy, it was time things started happening. They do, of course, but I'm afraid to say I gave up the wait, and jumped 150 pages to the last chapter. I know that at some stage I"ll re-read this properly, but not right now.
Don't get me wrong - this is an engaging, absorbing book with sympathetic, intelligent characters, but it's a tad too leisurely for me, there's too much politicking by men, and I couldn't quite believe in the love story - ideally I'd give it 3.5 stars.
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on 24 January 2015
The story started quite well, and although I don't often get bogged down with Chinese names there were rather a lot introduced very quickly. After a while there just didn't seem to be enough going on to hold my attention and I am afraid I failed to finish it. Might have another go later, and I do hope there will be a better response to it. Obviously I didn't get far enought to understand the title too.
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on 23 August 2015
I love this man's work, but this one was tough. It's a work of art, and poetic in several respects, but the plot was very slow to start moving - in fact the first half of the book was almost exclusively set-up (albeit beautiful setup). When it gets going it roars.
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I loved the original book Under Heaven and for some time I've been thinking my way through various plots that Guy could have thrown into the world and left wondering why a new title hadn't been forthcoming for quite some time, so when this book landed I was more than happy so much so that the title I was reading prior to this was put back on the shelf to make space within my brain for this outing.

As usual with Guy the book has wonderful pace, some great twists and with characters that really leap from the pages really work wonderfully together. Add to the mix an author who loves to lead you around the world whilst spinning a wonderful tale on a scale that went far beyond what I had imagined all round gave me something great to sit back with.

Finally throw in some magical action sequences and all round I was a more than happy reader. Great stuff.
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on 28 October 2015
The usual standard expected from this author. Characters wonderfully drawn, historical background evocative. The amount of research undertaken is so impressive, only wish there was more as have read all works by this author.
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on 18 October 2013
There are few contemporary writers with Kay's skill.

The writing is effortless and rather beautiful. Each character is carefully crafted, yet consumately human and the storyline is meticulously researched and masterfully delivered.

I have read all of Kay's prose fiction and have never been disappointed. If you have never read any, please, please invest the time - you will be rewarded with an experience which will stay with you for some time.

Other reviews precis the plot of this sweeping novel. You should read those, too. This reviewer is more interested in the sumptuous simplicity with which Kay writes.

I will continue to buy every GGK novel as soon as it appears.

'Nuff said.
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on 19 January 2015
Most of this historical novel deserves 5 stars, but it was slow to set the scene and given that the story is set in China, the characters and their relationships to and with each other were confusing at first. That said, however, once the plot had unfolded and I became familiar with the characters then it was un-put-down-able!
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