The Lions of Al-Rassan

The Lions of Al Rassan am Book I can t believe this is happening but here I am my first ever DNF I DNF ed this book somewhere around % and because of that I will still give this book a rating

The Lions of Al-Rassan am Book I can’t believe this is happening but here I am, my first ever DNF.I DNF’ed this book somewhere around 60% and because of that I will still give this book a rating, my second 1 star rating; the first one was for Uprooted by Naomi Novik. This is an extremely unpopular opinion and I know a LOT of people loved this book, so please keep in mind that this is just my honest opinion. At the time of posting this review, there are less than 200 readers—including me—who gave it a 1 star rating, out of 15.7k ratings, don’t let this review alone be a sign for you to not try the book if you’re already interested in it.GGK fans usually recommend either Tigana or The Lions of Al-Rassan when asked on which GGK’s book to start with, this is not the first time I read GGK’s work, I’ve read Tigana and I love that book, I gave it 4.5/5 stars, but this book for me is a far cry from that. Where Tigana was more of a fantasy, The Lions of Al-Rassan is my first experience with GGK’s historical fiction books and after this, I have to remove tons of his books from my TBR. Throughout my time reading, I can’t help but feel that knowledge on Medieval Spain—which I knew next to nothing about—is crucial in order to love this book. GGK didn’t spare any moment in explaining the meaning behind each terminology or names, I also expected the religions to play a lot of part in the story but they didn’t. The analogy to Christian, Jews, and Muslim weren’t as important as I thought it would be, they were just there.The worst part of the book for me, however, was the characters. Even by 60% mark, I still don’t care about any of the characters, literally none. I have no idea how this book ends, but considering how I feel about the characters, if at the end they all die I would still feel nothing; I would prefer to continue watching Stranger Things season 2 on Netflix <-- Genius product placement Petrik, bravo. Sex scenes and romance are, as usual, cringeworthy. This seems to be GGK’s trademark, it happened in Tigana too but it’s just so much worse here. I really don’t like how GGK portrayed romance and sex scenes. Not only they’re pointless, the sex scenes are over the top and all the characters are written like a porn star with stunning sex prowess. Plus the matter of instalove and what seems to be a love triangle formed between the main characters, both are something that I highly dislike in the books I read.GGK’s prose is beautiful and lyrical, no doubt about those as I loved reading his writing, especially in Tigana. Here though? His writing direction felt off. Prose changes to present tense for reasons I have no idea why, characters POV changed within the same or the next paragraphs repeatedly making my head hurt literally hurt and also, ended up making me feel so disconnected with the book.These are all my interpretations from 60% of the book, all I know is, I can’t be bother to continue with this book unless I’m feeling masochist and willing to go into a reading slump. As you can see from my review, this book didn’t infuriate me as much as Uprooted did, it’s just extremely boring with no ambulance to save me from the reading slump emergency nearby. The Lions of Al-Rassan is definitely not for me and I can’t recommend this to anyone. If you want a fantastic historical fiction, go with Bernard Cornwell; if you’re interested in giving GGK a try, I recommend you to read Tigana. I will MAYBE still give Sarantine Mosaic duology a try, but I doubt I’ll be reading any of his works other than that duology considering that all of them are mostly historical fictions as well. Once again, this is an extremely unpopular opinion, the majority of readers love this book; some even claimed this is GGK’s best work and I hope you will love it too.You can find the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest. The ruling Asharites of Al Rassan have come from the desert sands, but over centuries, seduced by the sensuous pleasures of their new land, their stern piety has eroded The Asharite empire has splintered into decadent city states led by warring petty kings King Almalik of Cartada is on the ascendancy, aided always by his friend and advisor, the notorious Ammar ibn KhairaThe ruling Asharites of Al Rassan have come from the desert sands, but over centuries, seduced by the sensuous pleasures of their new land, their stern piety has eroded The Asharite empire has splintered into decadent city states led by warring petty kings King Almalik of Cartada is on the ascendancy, aided always by his friend and advisor, the notorious Ammar ibn Khairan poet, diplomat, soldier until a summer afternoon of savage brutality changes their relationship forever.Meanwhile, in the north, the conquered Jaddites most celebrated and feared military leader, Rodrigo Belmonte, driven into exile, leads his mercenary company south.In the dangerous lands of Al Rassan, these two men from different worlds meet and serve for a time the same master Sharing their interwoven fate and increasingly torn by her feelings is Jehane, the accomplished court physician, whose own skills play an increasing role as Al Rassan is swept to the brink of holy war, and beyond.Hauntingly evocative of medieval Spain, The Lions of Al Rassan is both a brilliant adventure and a deeply compelling story of love, divided loyalties, and what happens to men and women when hardening beliefs begin to remake or destroy a world.. Bestseller Ebook The Lions of Al-Rassan The Lions of al-Rassan is a sweeping historical epic that examines the price of war, the deadly toll on lives that can occur when religion and politics meet and clash, the seemingly endless give and take between Christians & Muslims & Jews, the power that certain charismatic individuals can exert during times of tumult and change, and - just as important as everything i've mentioned - the nature of love and of friendship. its cast features El Cid and Ibn Ammar; it is set during Moorish Spain.actually, no it isn't set there and those characters are nowhere to be found in this novel. and yet Moorish Spain, Ibn Ammar and El Cid, the history of conflict between Jews and Muslims and Christians are exactly what Kay is using as his templates. it is a rather ingenious idea: instead of having to worry about getting everything just right, each historical detail and each character's deeds and traits, why not just use them all as inspiration and recreate a world anew? and so the novel is considered a "fantasy" because it takes place in an alternate reality that has two moons (as well as a boy with psychic powers - but hey, that can happen right here in this dimension).i have a GR bookshelf called "Into the Past" in which i place books that are some sort of historical fiction. The Lions of al-Rassan is on that shelf, mainly due to how this novel perfectly (and beautifully - Kay is a gorgeous writer) evokes its time period. but recreating Moorish Spain and paying homage to fascinating historical figures are not the novel's goals. this is a romantic saga that illustrates the best and the worst of mankind; the details of a past milieu are really not its overriding concern. those details are all backdrop. what it is is wonderful wish fulfillment at its purest - heroes who are wise & witty & brave & kind, a heroine who is strong & empowered & brave & kind, a story full of battles big and small, complicated political machinations and complicated villains, vivid supporting characters, a richness that is rich because in many ways it is timeless. its narrative is thrilling and melancholy and brutally clear-eyed and sweetly sentimental in equal parts. its prose is elegant and has such a lovely flowing feel to it. its themes are genuinely adult themes. it sees the need for change and yet mourns all the beautiful things buried by time. it is full of anger and gentleness.at the heart of its story is the idea that people can actually come together, respect and love each other, move past their differences while respecting those differences - how people can truly see each other as brothers and sisters. they can come together in romantic love, they can come together as teachers and students, they can come together as a family. and most of all they can come together in friendship, as equals. the novel features one of the most heartfelt and tragic bromances i've read in a while. but it is not just about the boys - it also features a very real and very independent woman at its core. all three characters are splendid creations. for me, the best thing about their complicated relationship is how necessary each of them is to the other. at different points in the novel, each of the three characters will save the life of somone dear to another of those three characters. this was a beautiful thing, a resonant thing, a timeless thing. humans can rise above their baser instincts, they can be more than just pawns or animals or people who keep their heads down while others fall. we can save each other's lives. we can, i know we can. if not, then why even be alive?

About Author

  1. Guy Gavriel Kay is a Canadian author of fantasy fiction Many of his novels are set in fictional realms that resemble real places during real historical periods, such as Constantinople during the reign of Justinian I or Spain during the time of El Cid Those works are published and marketed as historical fantasy, though the author himself has expressed a preference to shy away from genre categorization when possible.

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The Lions of Al-Rassan Comment

  1. I can t believe this is happening but here I am, my first ever DNF.I DNF ed this book somewhere around 60% and because of that I will still give this book a rating, my second 1 star rating the first one was for Uprooted by Naomi Novik This is an extremely unpopular opinion and I know a LOT of people loved this book, so please keep in mind that this is just my honest opinion At the time of posting this review, there are less than 200 readers including me who gave it a 1 star rating, out of 15.7k [...]


  2. The Lions of al Rassan is a sweeping historical epic that examines the price of war, the deadly toll on lives that can occur when religion and politics meet and clash, the seemingly endless give and take between Christians Muslims Jews, the power that certain charismatic individuals can exert during times of tumult and change, and just as important as everything i ve mentioned the nature of love and of friendship its cast features El Cid and Ibn Ammar it is set during Moorish Spaintually, no it [...]


  3. If I scored my nerd tendencies I d fall much closer on the scale to comic books and Star Trek than to Lord of the Rings and other swords n sorcery kind of fantasy which is weird because I do enjoy the kind of world building and political intrigue that is often a big part of the genre My hesitation about reading of this kind of stuff is due in no small part to how it seems like common practice for fantasy authors of turning those stories into multi book epics, but then stalling out in the middle [...]


  4. Perhaps it s incipient dementia I ve lost too many brain cells to time and American TV but I just don t get the GGK love evinced by many of my GR friends I struggled through the first 100 pages of this book and seriously considered giving up entirely but I persevered to the end albeit skimming through many pages and left profoundly unimpressed.Upon reflection, my difficulty with the novel is that at no point did the writing engage me I didn t find the alternate Medieval Spain all that inventive [...]


  5. I feel like I should have loved this book Parts of it were so good and it had that tortured world gritty feel to it that s right up my alley Friends on GR who share common interests one and all loved it But my god the middle 60% was a slog for me I had to put it down and restart it so many times The ending tragic and redeeming but I still can t give it than 2.5 s.


  6. First of all, allow me to give Kiala her due for picking this book for Vaginal Fantasy After last month s pick, we were sorely due for something of substance I will also remind everyone that last month s pick was MY doing, so I m duly chastened Anyhow The Lions of Al Rassan is an absolutely mesmerizing book As I understand it and please correct me in the comments if I am incorrect it s a fantastical alt history of the Iberian Peninsula With one small exception, I would pause to call it fantasy a [...]


  7. The things some people can do with words is breathtaking I absolutely loved this book I have ranted about it to everyone possible, including strangers in cars next to me on the street I tell them to roll down their windows and then I tell them to read this book My mom stopped taking my calls because instead of happy mother s day, I quoted lines from this book when I talked to her There are a lot of reviews for this so I m not breaking any new ground here, but sincerely, if you have not read this [...]


  8. I love this book 5 Stars All the Stars.It s a slow burn I can easily acknowledge that, but the characters are intriguing from the start and Kay s writing is just beautiful The world can be a bit confusing as well if you don t understand the background of medieval Spain as a lot of names and history are thrown at you from the start There s also three different religions and the strife between them is the center stage of the book the Kindath are Jews, the Jaddites are Christians, and the Asharites [...]


  9. You will fall in love with one of the characters in this book I absolutely guarantee it The only question is, with whom Will it be with the flamboyant Ammar ibn Khailan, poet, spymaster, kingslayer, warrior With Jehane, strong and stubborn doctor Perhaps with Miranda, so beautiful and queenly even when managing a horse ranch Or with proud Rodrigo, the Scourge of Al Rassan, brave, virtuous, faithful Or will it be with one of the minor characters Starstruck Alvar, alluring Zabira, the wise Ishak o [...]


  10. I needed a couple of days to let this sink in before writing a review That s how powerful the book was, and its incredible ending.This is one of those books that it s very difficult to write a spoiler free review for I could mark it as such and go for it, but then people that haven t read the book will skip the review.The Lions of Al Rassan is a book I will push on friends When asked for recommendations, it will float to the top of my list every time I won t say it s my all time favorite, but it [...]


  11. I loved this book The story is seductive and engaging, the characters are adult, well rounded and sophisticated, the writing style is very versatile it offers both lavish descriptions, witty dialogues, elegant poetry, emotion and brutal detachment to a great, immersive effect Subtle, delicate, harrowing, the plot entertains and develops with depth of themes, drama, humour and evenly paced action It is historical fantasy, with little or none fantastic elements.The characters and the current geo p [...]


  12. 4.5Story revolve around people of three religion and their struggle to prevail over each other These three religions are Ashar worshipers of Stars , Jad worshipers of Sun and Kindath worshipers of Moons On a day that was known as day of moat , physician Jehane bet Ishak, a Kindath, met Ammar ibn Khairan, most famous Ashar warrior, and Ser Rodrigo Belmonte, a fierce Jad captain This is the story of how these three become friends and what they choose when it come to make a decision between friends [...]


  13. I m don t tend to be a crier when I read If a book can make me cry it deserves 5 stars The story was woven together so well that the last chapter and epilogue sucker punched you Yes there were tears Yes the book by the end moved me that much Readers of historical fantasy you might just find this book, inspired by medieval Spain, a story you will love.


  14. Reads like a movie novelization A movie intended as pseudo historical reenactment Oscar bait with beautiful sweeping landscapes and beautiful actors and actresses who take it all so damn seriously The women are spunky I hate that word, so it s appropriate for Jehane and inappropriately modern while remaining in the margins props to the masculine deeds of the leading men Every fight is a show of athleticism, perfectly choreographed A light hearted moment that isn t actually funny Characters don t [...]



  15. Full review tenaciousreader.wordpress Guy Gavriel Kay has been on my must try list for years I have heard him recommended so many times and I have come across devoted fans that will praise his prose endlessly And on top of that, he writes stand alone novels, so there is no fear of commitment here With all of that, I have no idea why I have not read one of his novels previously But, I nominated The Lions of Al Rassan for one of my book club reads and happily it won No excuses, it was time to act [...]


  16. Wow I don t even know what to say I m speechless This was only my second Kay novel, the first being A Song for Arbonne, and I didn t really know what to expect I have to admit, the blurb didn t really catch me But I had found it in a used book store for cheap, so I decided to try it out I am so glad I did I have to be very careful not to spoil it It s hard not to gush though The ending was so heart breaking, yet at the same time so beautiful and hopeful The entire book was wonderfully written I [...]


  17. This book has come highly recommended by almost all of my friends, and so naturally, I was very excited to read it This was my first experience with Kay, and the consensus seems to be that this is his best work Certainly the average rating bears that up Lions of Al Rassan currently has a an average rating of 4.27 of 5 Pretty impressive, and the highest of all of his books It just didn t quite get there for me Maybe it was the expectation of greatness that let me down, but I don t know Maybe the [...]


  18. I learned something reading this book I dislike Guy Gavriel Kay s writing It was my first book of his and it will probably be my last.I was reading several other books at the same time, a habit of mine, and the further I got into this book, the harder it became to make myself leave the other books to give this one its turn I almost stopped reading it in the middle of the book I was reading David Copperfield, Jonathan Strange Mr Norrell, and Shadow Claw at the same time David Copperfield was maki [...]


  19. I have been known to argue against hope To argue that hope is evervating That it leads to apathy and inaction That it is anathema to change I have argued these things and probably will again, so it is particularly strange that one of my all time favourite books should be a book so filled with hope, so about hope In this age of fantasy books great and not so great getting their own shows on HBO or Netflix or MTV, my most fervent wish is to see The Lions of al Rassan on screen Not only do I think [...]


  20. I usually have a rule that if a book doesn t grab my attention within 50 pages, I just drop it and move on Too many great books, not enough time I gave The Lions of Al Rassan a good chance with 150 pages, and it still utterly failed to grab me Maybe it was a bad idea to read a high minded historical fantasy epic right after The Black Company Or maybe I m too old and grumpy for bombastic opera like fantasies Maybe A Game of Thrones has made fantasy unpalatable unless it features a threshold amoun [...]



  21. Exquisite prose Superb characterization A tale that will incite emotions of love and hate Historical fiction does not get better than this my friends A novel I am unlikely to ever forget.



  22. I was very excited to read this because of the premise Alternate medieval Al Andalus, clash of cultures and religions, the fall of an Empire, the end of an era, and romance By the time I got 100 pages into it, I was skimming Pretty soon I was skipping whole chapters, looking for the names of people that vaguely interested me This is not to say that the prose isn t good, and I know that the premise is what went wrong The following.1 The set up surrounds a woman Kindath Jewish doctor, a Jaddite Ch [...]



  23. I m reminded of something, thinking of this book I was reading the Unbearable Lightness of Being recently, and there was a motif introduced from a piece of Beethoven s En muss sein or, translated, It must be In other words, a heavy as Kundera would have put it sense of your own life and destiny All the characters have that here, but in such a way that you love them for it, you don t want to hurt them for being pompous as is occasionally a problem in epic adventures It s all about fate and duty, [...]


  24. I can t even think how to review this book First of all, I guess, it s a good lesson on why not to give up on a book before you finish it I was than halfway through, and getting a little frustrated and somewhat bored with Kay s POV changes and introduction of new and mostly peripheral characters so far into the book This is the fourth Kay book I ve read, and I find myself a little put off by his distant approach to events that are positively horrifying He introduces one of the main characters w [...]


  25. Guy Gavriel Kay is a master at historical fiction I m not too familiar with the holy wars of the Iberian peninsula but I found The Lions of Al Rassan fascinating without any background knowledge The story follows people of the 3 religions of the region Jaddites Christians , Kindaths Jews , and Asarites Muslims.Our main characters are a Kindath physician, a Jaddite army captain and his new recruit, and an Asharite assassin There are a host of secondary characters that largely took away from our m [...]


  26. First GGK book, I eventually chose to read this before Tigana, i m happy I did I m truly lost for words, this was simply a great experience I can t find any fault with the world, characters or the story Rodrigo and Ammar were my favorites among st so many awesome characters.I will definitely re read this book later I hope to read Tigana soon.


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