The Lions of al-Rassan

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This is an extremely unpopular opinion and I know a LOT of people loved this book, so please keep in mind that this is just my honest opinion.

The Lions of Al-Rassan - micro Book Review

At the time of posting this review, there are less than readers—including me—who gave it a 1 star rating, out of The worst part of the book for me, however, was the characters. Sex scenes and romance are, as usual, cringeworthy. Plus the matter of instalove and what seems to be a love triangle formed between the main characters, both are something that I highly dislike in the books I read. Here though? His writing direction felt off. Prose changes to present tense for reasons I have no idea why, characters POV changed within the same or the next paragraphs repeatedly making my head hurt literally hurt and also, ended up making me feel so disconnected with the book.

  • Book Review: The Lions of Al-Rassan, by Guy Gavriel Kay - History Geek in Town?
  • Epilogue - The Lions of Al-Rassan?

View all 90 comments. Nov 30, mark monday rated it really liked it Shelves: z-guy-gavriel-kay , fantasy-modern , into-the-past. The Lions of al-Rassan is on that shelf, mainly due to how this novel perfectly and beautifully - Kay is a gorgeous writer evokes its time period. View all 25 comments. My hesitation about reading more of this kind of stuff is due in no small part to how it seems like common practice for fantasy authors of turning those stories into multi-book epics, but then stalling out in the middle of a series and leaving fans hanging for years while they work on other projects.

All three books were published from to Started in and finished in The Lions of Al-Rassan. One and done. This fictional land has three religions with a bloody history, but an era of uneasy peace is in place among various factions split among them. The Asharites worship the stars and their prophet Ashar while their northern neighbors the Jaddites believe in a sun god. The Kindath worship the two moons, but they have no land or power of their own and exist in both territories as second class citizens who are routinely discriminated against.

Prominent people in both the Asharite and Jaddite religions often find it a convenient distraction to blame the Kindath for any problems going on and let their citizens take out their frustrations on them rather than the actual leaders.

The Lions Of Al-Rassan Book by Guy Gavriel Kay

A female Kindath physician named Jehane bet Ishak has a very long and eventful day in which she meets two legendary men. Ammar ibn Khairan is an Asharite warrior and poet who is famous for having murdered the last caliph which turned formerly united Al-Rassan into independent city states. Rodrigo Belmonte is a Jaddite who leads a lethal company of horseman charged with keeping the peace and protecting the border cities who pay protection to his king.

A series of events begin to change the political landscape of Al-Rassan and ambitious leaders begin plotting while the dour clerics of Jad try to promote a holy war and some of the fanatical desert Asharites see opportunities to sweep away the decadence they believe has infiltrated their society. His religions are obviously based on the Muslim, Christian and Jewish faiths, and he mines the history of them to make a lot of points about bigotry, hypocrisy and the use of faith to manipulate people. The best thing is the relationship between the three main characters.

Rodrigo and Ammar are done as the kind of bigger-than-life people that emerge during times of great historical conflict whose actions have huge consequences, but he never makes them seem outrageously heroic or unrealistic. Jehane is as strong and independent female character as you can reasonably have in a story set in a society where guys with swords are still in charge.

Her being one of the Kindath could have made her seem like a likely candidate to be victimized, but instead, Kay uses her as the voice of sanity caught in the middle of events completely outside of her control. Kay gets a little too cute sometimes in drawing out suspense like withholding the names of characters who have been killed and trying to fake the reader out. I suspect that Kay wanted to keep his focus on his three main players and that the point of the book was the impact on them, not so much a blow-by-blow account of it happening.

However, he went to a lot of effort to suck a reader into this world so it seems odd that he was in such a hurry to finish it up. View all 33 comments. Shelves: sf-fantasy. I struggled through the first pages of this book and seriously considered giving up entirely but I persevered to the end albeit skimming through many pages and left profoundly unimpressed.

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Upon reflection, my difficulty with the novel is that at no point did the writing engage me. The story had moments of interest but overall I felt cynically manipulated at every point. Points that made it impossible to enjoy this book: The setting: Medieval history — particularly the very era when the Reconquista was getting underway — was my focus in college and in my post-graduate studies. The characters: Two points to make here. One is that our heroes and heroines are simply too good to be believed — Rodrigo, Ammar, Jehane, Miranda. A shade more gray e. I felt like I was being hit over the head with their awesomeness as well as with their angst over the terrible dilemmas they found themselves in.

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The in-your-face nature of the writing made it impossible for me to get into the story or to give a damn about the characters. Point two is that Rodrigo et al.

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The sex scenes: Like a lot of the book, they were just too good to be true and cringe inducing. The technology: This really only irked me in two places as, otherwise, there was nothing obviously anachronistic, and both had to do with the medical technology of the period. Though Muslim and Jewish i.

ISBN 13: 9780670858965

One of the more vile villains — Garcia de Rada — suffers a whip lash. Rather than making me dislike her it would have made her more real. Whew…is there anything good I can say about the book?

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I did give it two stars, after all. Not really. I feel like I should have loved this book. Parts of it were so good and it had that tortured world gritty feel to it that's right up my alley. Friends on GR who share common interests one and all loved it. I had to put it down and restart it so many times.

The ending tragic and redeeming but I still can't give it more than 2. View all 9 comments. First of all, allow me to give Kiala her due for picking this book for Vaginal Fantasy. After last month's pick, we were sorely due for something of substance.

I will also remind everyone that last month's pick was MY doing, so I'm duly chastened. The Lions of Al-Rassan is an absolutely mesmerizing book. As I understand it and please correct me in the comments if I am incorrect it's a fantastical alt-history of the Iberian Peninsula. With one small exception, I would pause to call it f First of all, allow me to give Kiala her due for picking this book for Vaginal Fantasy. With one small exception, I would pause to call it fantasy at all.

In fact, the only issue I had with the book was my own lack of historical knowledge. I was constantly trying to make parallels between the nations, religions and peoples of the book with our own world history, and that was perhaps a little distracting.

But, to the story. I don't want to spoil, and I don't really want to get into the intricacies of the tale there are many.

The Lions of Al-Rassan (Audiobook) by Guy Gavriel Kay |

This book does many things, and it does them all well. It's an action tale, a love story, a cautionary tale that seems to hit on modern fears and insecurities, and more. The web of characters seems to constantly expand, and yet I never felt as though I was receiving unnecessary information. The people in this book are complex, and you'll come to care deeply about many of them. They are all flawed, though some more than others. There is romance, and it is very complicated.

Life is complicated. War is horrible. Good people can do terrible things.

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