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
I am so excited I picked up (or rather downloaded) this book! Sometimes I find that I am looking for something new — a new author, a new genre, or something just off the beaten path. This one certainly fit the bill — all the way round. This is one of those books that you start to read and just loose yourself in, forgetting the world around you. The story is both interesting, and unique — something that I didn’t feel like I had read it a thousand times before under different titles. And Kay really has a gift for character development and depth. Set in ancient China, this book is different all the way around, and well worth the read.
Under Heaven is a riveting and stunning novel evocative of life during the period of the Chinese Tang dynasty.
Kay weaves a magical tale of political intrigue, personal honour, and cultural structures peopled by characters the reader can really care about.
The novel deftly underlines the ages-long problems and inequities created by a patriarchal system that dishonours women.
An interweaving of the supernatural adds a touch of delight to a story that could almost be standard historical fiction.
Guy Gavriel Kay is an artist with words, painting an epic and gorgeous canvas of an ancient Asian-influenced landscape. His reference to the grasslands of the Steppes and the inclusion of the painted cave evokes mankind’s pre-history and will resonate with readers who have experienced Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series.
I will have to listen to this novel again and again, not only to enjoy the story but to enjoy the beautiful poetry of Kay’s language.
After believing that among his fiction he could reach no higher than Tigana, I must say he hit the mark again. GGK is a continuing pleasure.
I think this is one of the best books I have listened to. After finishing it the first time I immediately listened to it a second time, and know that I will listen to it again.