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River Of Stars [Kindle Edition]

Guy Gavriel Kay
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Print List Price: CDN$ 20.00
Kindle Price: CDN$ 11.99 includes free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Sold by: Penguin Group USA
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Product Description


“River of Stars is the sort of novel one disappears into, emerging shaken, if not outright changed. A novel of destiny, and the role of individuals within the march of history, it is touched with magic and graced with a keen humanity.” - The Globe and Mail

“From whatever angle you approach it, River of Stars is a major accomplishment, the work of a master novelist in full command of his subject. It deserves the largest possible audience.” - The Washington Post

“Kay has the uncanny ability to depict the grand sweep of historical events through the eyes of those living through them…What’s even more amazing is how through his careful rendering of character and environments we are drawn into this history…River Of Stars is an exceptional piece of work.” - Seattle Post Intelligencer

“Here you’ll find all the scheming and skulduggery that give “Game of Thrones” its zest, refined to the subtlest of arts. Kay invokes a world of stylized manners and deadly gambits, infused with an aesthetic founded on the most exquisite appreciation of the beauty and melancholy of the natural world.” - “River of Stars”: Picture “Game of Thrones” in China (

"There's a reason that each new fantasy novel by Guy Gavriel Kay is met with so much excitement by a core of devoted readers. These are books in which everything happens--epic battles, forbidden love, violent deaths--yet the threads of story inexorably tangle us in something that goes much deeper. Each book is a journey for the reader, compressed so that the level of intensity remains at the highest setting even in its quietest moments; and what happens on that journey can challenge your perceptions of the world and break your heart . . .With River of Stars, Kay transports readers to a dazzling court and the ravages of war, with language almost impossibly multilayered in its nuance and tone, offering a series of insights that exquisitely build on each other. Even more than in previous books, each sentence seems shaped to further enhance the book's themes, recalling the craftsmanship of the man-made peony blossom that is a recurring image throughout. Here, too, emotional intensity is amped up more than ever, the shattering catharsis even more complete... one of Kay's richest creations to date..." - Huffington Post

“River of Stars exhibits all of Guy Gavriel Kay’s many strengths as a writer: characterization, plotting, dialogue, poetry, the intricacies of the imperial court, and exciting battle scenes.” - Vancouver Sun

"This is stunning stuff from one of fantasy fiction’s finest. From one of fiction’s finest, frankly." -

“An elegant, imaginative inhabitation of Song-dynasty China of 1,000 years ago by prolific historical novelist Kay ... Lucid and lyrical, and skillfully written...” - Kirkus Reviews

“Exquisitely rendered alternate historical fantasy ... a flawed, complex culture, meticulously researched and recreated in powerful prose.” - Publishers Weekly

Product Description

Ren Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate of Kitai. That moment on a lonely road changed his life in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years later—and his life changes again, dramatically, as he moves toward the court and the emperor while war approaches Kitai from the north.

Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor—and alienates women at court. But when her father’s life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has.

In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading to events no one could have foretold, under the river of stars.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1628 KB
  • Print Length: 664 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (April 2 2013)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,937 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant historical fantasy April 19 2013
This novel fits into the fantasy category, but only by stretching its boundaries. Kay has established himself as a master of this historical fantasy/alternate history genre, where events take place in another world but the general action parallels nations and events of history. In this book, Kay returns to China (Kitai) and produces a dazzlingly successful novel. This novel is epic, and epic in the best sort of way. It weighs in at about 700 pages - long enough for Kay to give his story a chance to stretch out and breath, and revel in some poetry, but hardly to the extent of self-indulgence.

This novel of course provides a chance once again to reflect on the nature of history and memory. The past is not only a foreign country, the past is another world, and Kay awakens us to its wondrous and sometimes cruel strangeness.

The story itself explores the consequences of actions taken and not taken as Kitai is suddenly and unexpectedly threatened. Kitai is so threatened that its very survival seems in jeopardy. In this story, the characters Ren Daiyan and Li Shan play a critical role, but many secondary characters are introduced and developed as well.

Ultimately a novel like this is somewhat of a guilty pleasure, but Kay's writing is so good that you won't be feeling too guilty about it, ever. Kay has more literary credibility than what he may ordinarily receive credit for.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Familiar and safe Dec 12 2013
By Lorina Stephens TOP 500 REVIEWER
It pains me to give only three stars to one of my favourite authors, Guy Gavriel Kay.

The story Kay relates takes up events several hundred years after the fall of the great dynasty in a China-like world Kay created in Under Heaven, revolving around, primarily, an unorthodox and intelligent woman, an unwitting and reluctant warrior/hero, and the usual cast of supporting intellectuals and likable villains.

I could not help but feel, however, Kay revisited what have become familiar and comfortable character-types and plot constructions, and thus the experience of reading River of Stars lacked lustre. His heroine is of course intelligent, an unorthodox woman in an orthodox society. His hero is caught in both political and magical nets. Both characters can easily be found in any of Kay's previous impressive canon. And thus, by now, one could hope for something new, something fresh from that highly literate and artistic mind of Kay's.

Certainly Kay's writing remains evocative and lyrical, with some breath-taking images and descriptions that cannot help but move the spirit. Yet even that was marred by Kay's understandable love of poetry and the poetic form, so that much of the narrative ended up lost beneath esoteric discussions that stopped all action.

Beyond that, Kay has chosen a narrative style in this novel wherein many subsidiary characters are introduced in detail, so that the reader is set up to believe this is a character which will continue throughout the novel because of the level of detail devoted to them, only to find by the close of the chapter they've been exiled, or killed, or in some manner marginalized, their complete future revealed and summarized and ended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly elegant April 15 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Kay once again proves himself to be one of the best word smiths of our time. He is a Canadian treasure. His book is elegant, engaging, thought provoking and, quite simply, a beautiful piece of literature and art.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Continuance of Excellence May 17 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
GGK is a literary treasure. His beautiful lyrical language, the incredible character development which always takes the reader on an inward journey of discovery of the nature of humankind, his engaging narrative voice which challenges the reader to consider bigger philosophical ideas are the backbone of everyone one of his novels. River of Stars continues and even expands these qualities, particularly in respect to GGK’s ongoing exploration of the idea of our drive to find patterns in life and thereby some measure of control. With this backdrop, GGK writes a compelling story set in the tragic and fascinating time of the Song Dynasty.

Fans of Guy Gavriel Kay will be well pleased and new readers will discover the treasure I have cherished for 29 years.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great. Dec 9 2013
By erinb
I love his books but this is not my favourite. An interesting story but I didn't find the characters/story as moving/engaging as some of his other books. Nor was the conclusion satisfying. Much better :lions of AL rassan or my personal favourites :Sarantine mosaic books.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Beautifully written, grounded in history with a light frosting of magic, River of Stars is a full of richly human characters whose destinies keep bumping up against sordid reality. Kay's deep appreciation for the Song dynasty writers he used as source material comes through clearly, indeed sometimes distractingly. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down Sept. 20 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is right up there with Lions of Al Rassan and Tigana. It's as good, if not better than Under Heaven. Wonderful, can't wait to see what he writes next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't want to come up for air Sept. 4 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Engaging characters, flawless detail, carefully crafted.
And Kay's usual ability to surprise with the roles of his characters. Much like life, our fates are determined by both character and chance.
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