I've always been a Guy Gavriel Kay fan, but this is by far his best work yet. And the narrator was perfect. This was one of those books I didn't want to end.
It took me a bit of time to get into this book. There isn't sweeping action and the number of characters & cultures introduced can be confusing. But, as I let go and let the story roll over me, I understood the beauty of the words, the subtle strength of the story and the delightful interpretation of Simon Vance. As I told my brother, realize the story is based on Asian culture and view it through that lens and you'll see the story as a lotus flower slowly unfolding into something wonderful. Might not be your cup of tea, but it certainly has become one of my favorite books.
This was my first GGK novel and I absolutely loved it. Those reviewers who said nothing happened must have been listening to a different book. It held my interest from start to finish. It is well worth the credit.
I'm a big fan of Kay's. He peoples his worlds with some of the most fully human characters in the fantasy field. There's not much action but a great deal of tension and subtlety, which is a rare and enjoyable thing. The world is fully realized and believable as are the motivations of the characters.
The reader is both brilliant and a bit off. The narration is beautiful holding a consistent and appropriate melancholy throughout. Where he's a bit off is in attempting to give some of the characters Chinese accents. Those don't quite work. That's a minor niggle, though. I very much enjoyed the story.
Beautifully written and read. A well constructed story with interesting characters in a believable environment.
This story is a treasure of wonderfully descriptive Chinese history and a captivating novel as well. Narration was first rate and I can't wait to read another of Guy Gavriel Kay's books.
There's a lot of trashy fantasy out there, but Guy Kay's novels are not out with the garbage. He focusses on a few characters, and draws them well. You really get to see what they're about. His command of English is superior to most fantasy writers. He doesn't overdo the supernatural, which I think helps make his characters more believable. Some might find the pace a bit slow, but I think he's just taking time to draw you in. Simon Vance reads at just the right speed.
I acquired another of his novels, Tigana, from a different source, as Guy Kay's novels were not at that time available from Audible in Australia. I can't therefore comment on the reading, but may I recommend that novel as well? The character development in Tigana is perhaps even better than in Under Heaven. May I also thank Audible for resolving the copywright issues that prevented them from supplying Guy Kay's novels to Australians in the past?
I do love the historical setting of this novel, the Tang Dynasty such a complicated and fascinating political history. I do very much appreicate Guy's treatment of the women; they were no fools knew how and when to use their given "places" and it comes through in his telling of this story. As usual becuase of dept of this particualr time period; I did find the story hard to follow. I find it hard to keep track of all "background players", but then it wouldn't be a story of anicent Asia, as I understand it, without the many behind the Throne.
Probably not this one; not Kay's best in my opinion, however; I may have anticpated it so much in my mind that it fell a little shy for me. I would never discourage anybody from reading Guy's work overall though.
Alluring at times; well defined; excellent tone.
I did do a little research Sardian horses. Who wouldn't? Also, I may very well read for myself this story as that always helps me sort out all the players. BTW, this a very good question I personally feel a book is well read if it inspires one to reach out.
Enjoyed the book. Good characters, interesting story line.
However it kind of fizzled out...almost like he was planning a series and then decided to wrap it all up in this one book instead.
reading a GGK novel is not unlike getting a new pet. the beginning may be a bit disorienting and alien which turns quickly into satisfying and compelling relationship , but ultimately must invariably lead to a sense of loss and sorrow as the book ends/the pet dies. You may get a new pet / read a new book but will never be able to return to the same world again.
In under heaven (as in other GGK books) the reader is thrust into an alien society (Tang- dynasty china is very alien to a 21st century westerner) but leaves the book looking into his own world through the eyes of the protagonist and wondering as to why things today are as they are.
I fear that the next book i will read will have a very (and possibly impossibly) high bar to clear. Make sure you have a non-fiction book in your library so that you will be able to clean you fiction taste buds after reading under heaven