- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: Viking Canada (AHC); 1 edition (Jan. 9 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670043214
- ISBN-13: 978-0670043217
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 340 g
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #453,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ysabel Hardcover – Jan 9 2007
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About the Author
Guy Gavriel Kay is the author of nine novels: The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, and The Darkest Road (which comprise The Fionavar Tapestry); Tigana; A Song for Arbonne; The Lions of Al-Rassan; Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors (which comprise The Sarantine Mosaic); and, most recently The Last Light of the Sun. He is also the author of the acclaimed collection of poetry Beyond This Dark House. His work has been translated into twenty-one languages. He has twice won the Aurora Award, is a three-time World Fantasy Award nominee, and is the recipient of the International Goliardos Award for his contributions to the literature of the fantastic. Guy Gavriel Kay lives in Toronto.
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This was a book with an interesting story line; combining present day people caught up in a millennium old struggle between ancient Celts and Romans.
Although intriguing (and there were a couple of moments of well written, tense confrontations in this tale), this book was not without its flaws. Let me explain...
Early into this novel, I felt there was something about the telling of this tale that did not seem up to the quality of Kay's other novels (and I've read several of this author's works). And then it finally dawned on me; it was the conversations between individuals. Imagine, if you will, being at a live theatre performance where the actors forget their lines and start to improvise on their own to complete the scene; the words and phrases they use ALMOST fit, but not quite. That's how I felt about many (but not all) of the conversations between several individuals in this book; the words and phrases seem almost contrived and a little forced; something just a little off. And I found this perceived 'flaw' to be present throughout this book, thus reducing its overall quality.
An interesting novel, with an intriguing plot that did have some good moments, however character dialogues seemed to lack a realistic, spontaneous flow, thus reducing this potentially wonderful tale to something very average. 2 to 2 1/2 Stars.
The story was compelling for me, and I liked the characters and the setting (Provence). It was interesting to see a couple of characters back from the Fionavar books. I thought that in many ways Ysabel felt like a continuation of Fionavar: some of the same characters are present, as are similar themes and events.
I think that if a person really enjoyed Fionavar, they will like Ysabel too. But those who disliked Fionavar will likely disklike this book too, because it has the same epic romance feel to it--some might even call it cheese. :)
My complaint about this book is the dialogue. Kay seemed to be trying hard to create a strong contrast between the ancient world and the modern, so he made sure to include lots of mentions of iPods, cellphones and Google, and filled the modern characters' dialogue with TONNES of "likes" and "whatevers." The dialogue was so slang-filled at times that I had to cringe. And it definitely didn't feel like Kay, whose prose is normally lyrical and beautiful.
I also noticed several times that these painful conversations seemed to go on far too long. There were many times when I wanted the story to move forward, but had to instead slog through several pages of characters talking about what had already happened. I think the book would have been improved by having less talk and more action.
But thankfully, it didn't take too long to reach the end of this story, and the end is fabulous, and surprising.
Overall, a good book. I'm glad I read it, but I'm sure very few readers would say it is Kay's best.
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