From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family. That same spring, from the wealthy city-state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people: a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request—and possibly to do more—and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman, posing as a doctor’s wife, but sent by Seressa as a spy.
The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he’s been born to live. And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif—to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming.
As these lives entwine, their fates—and those of many others—will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world...
Thanks to Hachette Australia for the review copy!
The Good Stuff:
- Guy Gavriel Kay wrote it! :)
- In other words, beautiful prose and brilliant wordery. I really enjoyed the (rather rarely used these days!) break out thoughts in parentheses that gave an almost 'stream of consciousness' feel on occasion.
- Interesting past to present tense flips to give emphasis on important character voice, and information being presented.
- Great cast of characters, with outstanding development and progression.
- Enchanting storylines for each character's point of view.
- Steady pacing.
The Not So Good Stuff:
- Not sure the extent of the plot progression justified the length of the book.
- The world building could've been engrossing, if it had been a few more degrees separated from the real world. It felt much closer to historical fiction, than fantasy.
- Not particularly enamoured with the quick wrap up, considering the lengths Kay goes to to thoroughly explain everything preceding it.
It's a beautifully written book, but it's not particularly action packed, and that may put some fantasy readers off. However, if you are looking for exquisite character voice and development, rather than heavy handed plot pushing - you'll be enamoured by The Children of Earth and Sky!