Smoke me a kipper; I'll be back for breakfast.
First off - Simon Vance is amazing and he improves anything he sets his voice to. I listened to this book as part of a book club. There were many people that almost gave up or gave up on this book. The book starts very slowly so just be aware that it takes a few hours to get going.
The author was the man that helped Tolkien's son put together Silmarillion so you get the idea on his style. Many compare him to GRR Martin, which is pretty accurate. But at least Martin is enriching a world for a huge series. The author spends a lot of time on ambiance and loves to introduce characters wherever and give you various tidbits on the world even into the almost end of the book. It's just really strange pacing is what I'm getting at.
The good is that it's a decent fantasy story that explores, predominantly, what would happen if a magician was able to wipe out a culture by taking away its name. It also deals with a prince's long journey to bring down the two new leaders after the fall of said culture.
So the pluses are - standard fantasy with pretty prose & solid and believable ending.
Minuses- Too many characters using first person narrative, not enough action, didn't care about barely any of the characters.
Characters were typical fantasy characters: innocent boy, ousted prince, wizard, nubile young woman, random fighters, character drafted against his will becoming a hero for the cause.. and a host of other similar, formulaic cast members. Every man is a hero, every woman is a mix between innocent and incredibly beautiful (and willing.. for the right cause). There were some plot twists here, but never anything earth shattering or that interesting. And in multiple cases, I found myself thinking the people actually did something so OUT of character that the 'teachable moment' was unbelievable and mildly annoying.
Too much of the character development hinges on backstory. There are unnecessary subplots that take up room in this book that could have been better used to really develop the story. The sometimes weird sex scenes didn't help either: they fluctuated from useless and violating to just plain violating. The only one that seemed important to the plot was incestuous. How's that for weird?
I did love the story between Brandin and Dianora, but considering she was a slave... in hindsight I'm not sure what to make of it either. Definitely not an attempt here for truly strong female characters (all end up in (what passes for) every woman's fantasy, and all are celebrated for annoyingly mild acts of courage. Cutting off her hair gets tears and sympathetic looks, while cutting off his fingers gets advice and something like, "get back out there, soldier!")
It earns three stars for good vocabulary use, and being generally ok. The premise was very interesting, and the storytelling rich enough to keep me listening. Not really worth my credit, though.
Yes, and the narrator did an excellent job here, as usual.
Oh please no. Just.. no.
Wish I'd skipped the author commentary at the end. The book is so-so on it's own merit (interesting story, but nothing else) but the author's attempts to explain the greater themes- which failed completely here- just irritated me. If I was rating this book by what I was SUPPOSED to get out of it, I would give it 1 star. He does explain, in a way, why this book failed so completely: he had a grand plan for discussion of social issues, and then tried to build it into a story. That could have worked with a different author. Instead, it was a case of, "Jack of all trades, master of none."
The story completely centers around the idea of the very name of a county being taken away and the anguish it causes the characters. This maybe could have held up a short story but it was a total flop as a novel. I quickly got sick of hearing about how tortured the characters are over the loss of a name. I tried to get into it but after about 8 hours I gave up.
Nothing is better than the well-written sci-fi story. I'm even trying to write one too. But these days, I have expanded my taste --a bit.
The author's very poetic writing style. The dialogue in particular was so authentic sounding. Characters of many fantasies sound like regular 21st century blokes, but these seemed legitimately foreign. Also his similes were so precise and insightful. I didn't hear a single world that was out of place.
The idea that the name of a people was obliterated from memory. I'm glad the author's after word was included because it added a lot to the reading.
Excellent. Someone could have told me that there was an entire cast and I would have believed them. His female voices could not pass, but I was so into the story, that they blended right in.
When some of the central characters admitted that they cared for each other. There were too such moments but they were written differently so they did not seem redundant. I liked that because as I begin to care about characters, I feel like I'm part of that moment. *sniff* I'm sorry. . .
Sometimes characters acted outside of what I considerate to be their believable range of behavior. The incest seemed to serve no purpose and neither character seemed to give it a 2nd thought. Incest is a big deal. The two romantic "hook-ups" in the end made no sense. Both sere out of the blue and had no basis. Im OK with a twist, but the twist needs to make sense. And both felt like an after thought like when Leia and Han suddenly were in love and Luke was out. It would have been good to know the rules of magic or get an exposition of what wizards could and could not do. Explain why everyone just destiny just do that head explosion thing. Or why everyone doesn't just teleport with some archers, let fly some arrows and blink out again. Also the sister of Berd, died in disgrace by doing the opposite of her mission. That's a big deal too What's up with that. And she does not even have a face to face with her lover/brother. I was expecting that confrontation, and it never came. None of this kept me from enjoying the story, but there is.
The reader was decent. The story itself, well it was dry. I felt like I was walking through a desert with little to drink.
The book kept going over the same principles constantly. Completely redundant.
Began reading sci-fi 71 years ago, at age 4, will continue until my clock quits ticking.. Best education one could have ever wished for.
This is a fine story, filled with memorable characters, romance and all the elements of what makes the genre so entertaining. It is given life with the talents of Simon Vance who's narrative is breathtaking.
I particularly enjoyed the author's note (read by the author) at the end because it nicely summarized the way I feel about really good fantasy. Tigana has been one of my favorites for years. The heroes aren't always heroic and the bad guys aren't all bad. It's a beautiful story and Simon Vance is an excellent narrator. He brought the story to life if a new way for me, which is why I buy all my old favorites as audio books.
This book was recommended to me by Brandon Sanderson at a book signing. He said it was one of his favorites, and after finishing it i can completely understand why.
So very often we are roped into stories that start out well, but last for ever, and ever and ever.... ( i'm looking at you Mr RR MARTIN) Invariability these stories wind over multiple books and thousands of pages and loose a lot of potency. This is not the case with Tigana. From its open prologue to the tear jerking epilogue, Tigana flows with a grace and pacing that draws you in keeps you engaged and gently deposits you back on the shores of a beach. A natural story that lives, breathes, loves, and dies in a manner that leaves you sad for having ended, but happy to have had the experience.
Simon Vance's Performance was OUTSTANDING, you always knew who was speaking and could feel the mood of the characters all perfectly.
Kay's Tigana is superbly crafted. The story is riveting. The characters are varied and complex. Simon Vance is so good at breathing life into the tale that you forget there is only one narrator. Be sure to listen to Kay's Author's note at the end. A classic...
Brilliant, real, involving
I've listened to many of Vance's books, and I think he is right on with this one. No better no worse. He always does a great job.
I did, but don't want to spoil anything.