Children of Earth and Sky

Children of Earth and Sky is a Ebook Full review first posted on Fantasy Literature I read Children of Earth and Sky several months ago and adored it I should have written my review th

Children of Earth and Sky is a Ebook Full review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:I read Children of Earth and Sky several months ago and adored it. I should have written my review then, but Bill’s eloquent and supremely insightful review proved so intimidating that I allowed this to slip to the back burner, to my shame. But I’m finally writing this review, if only to remind everyone of what an amazing novel this is, and what a delightful Christmas present it would make for any thoughtful reader of history or fantasy.Guy Gavriel Kay writes what he likes to call “history with a quarter turn to the fantastic,” and Children of Earth and Sky is definitely that. It’s also compelling reading, epic in scope but also closely personal. It’s set in a Renaissance-era analog of our world: Serassa is Venice, the Ottoman Empire is the Osmanli Empire, the Jaddites are the Christians, and so on. There’s just a little bit of fantasy spicing it up: two blue and white moons appear in the skies of this world, and the spirits of dead relatives can linger and enter the heads of their living descendants, speaking with them and advising them.In addition to altered country and empire names, Kay has shifted around some historical people and events to fit the story he wants to tell, and inserted a host of fictional characters. Kay weaves together the lives of several fascinating individuals, moving in different parts of this world but impacting each other’s lives. Some of the most memorable: Danica, a young woman and a fierce warrior, fighting against the constraints of her time as well as against enemies; her brother Neven, kidnapped as a young child by Osmanlis and trained to be their devoted soldier; Pero, an artist with a commission to paint the Osmanli khalif and a secret commission to assassinate him; and Leonora, a disgraced young woman of Seressa’s upper class, given a chance to redeem herself by spying on Dubrava, who finds an unexpectedly significant new life.Kay frequently jumps from one character’s point of view to another’s, as their individual stories weave together, separate and intertwine again. Often, when books are divided into several different plotlines told concurrently in alternating scenes and chapters, my interest is primarily focused in on one character and their storyline, and I become impatient when the author temporarily shifts to another point of view. But Kay made all of these characters and their stories absorbing to me. More, I legitimately cared about what happened to all of them, even when they were at odds with each other. Occasionally there was an odd repetition of a scene when the viewpoint shifted from one character in that scene to another, but overall Kay handled the omniscient narration and changing viewpoints seamlessly, inserting an occasional perceptive observation:He was never in Senjan again. How can we ever presume to know what will come of our choices, our paths, the lives we live?History does not proceed with anything like fairness or recognition of valour or virtue. Senjan was gone, the walls broken and smashed, on both the harbor and the landward sides, less than a hundred years after this time.The richness and complexity of the world of Children of Earth and Sky is remarkable, the more so because it is made so accessible by Kay’s clarity of prose, insight, and sympathy for the lives of individuals caught in the relentless currents of war, politics and societal constraints. In the midst of frustration, fear and death, they create meaningful lives and form lifelong relationships. I’ll end with a comment from Kay in the afterword, which encapsulates one of the themes of Children of Earth and Sky:We live among mysteries. Love is one, there are others. We must not imagine we understand all there is to know about the world.I received a free ebook from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a review. Thank you!!Content advisory: Occasional R-rated language, violence, and brief but explicit sexual scenes.. The bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new book, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands where empires and faiths collide From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious forThe bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new book, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands where empires and faiths collide From the small coastal town of Senjan, notorious for its pirates, a young woman sets out to find vengeance for her lost family That same spring, from the wealthy city state of Seressa, famous for its canals and lagoon, come two very different people a young artist traveling to the dangerous east to paint the grand khalif at his request and possibly to do and a fiercely intelligent, angry woman, posing as a doctor s wife, but sent by Seressa as a spy The trading ship that carries them is commanded by the accomplished younger son of a merchant family, ambivalent about the life he s been born to live And farther east a boy trains to become a soldier in the elite infantry of the khalif to win glory in the war everyone knows is coming As these lives entwine, their fates and those of many others will hang in the balance, when the khalif sends out his massive army to take the great fortress that is the gateway to the western world. A viral Books Children of Earth and Sky A leisurely, beautiful almost-sort-of-fantasy set in Kay's alternate historical world. Longtime readers will recognize references here to events and characters featured in quite a few of his other books.The time period here is the (I believe) fifteenth century, and the action moves between recognizable versions of Croatia, Venice and Constantinople.Danica Gradek is a young woman whose surviving family was forced to relocate after being attacked by raiders who kidnapped her beloved young brother. She is now from Senjan, an island known for (depending on whom you ask) its vicious pirates or its brave warriors who defend the borders and the Jaddite faith of the empire. (The location is based on Croatia's Senj and the people known as the Uskoks - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senj.) Although it is uncommon, Danica is a warrior - she excels at archery, and her dream is to avenge her brother by killing Osmanli (Ottomans) who stole him and destroyed her home.However, we soon learn, the bulk of the Osmanli raiders are actually kidnapped children. At a young age they are trained by their captors in a new faith and the ways of war. Their loyalties are often transferred utterly, and they are even grateful to the Osmanli for showing them the way to the 'true faith' and 'salvation.' The reader soon suspects what might've happened to Danica's brother.Meanwhile, in the Republic of Seressa, a young artist is picked for a dangerous job. The Osmanli Khalif has commissioned a portrait to be done in the Western style. Pero Villani has little to lose and much to gain - if he makes it back from his trip alive. The getting-back-alive part may be complicated by the fact that Seressa, in addition to hiring him for his artistic skills, also expects him to act as a spy - and possibly an assassin.Also recruited to spy for Seressa is Leonora Valeri. After she bore an illegitimate child, her father murdered her lover and incarcerated her in a convent. She's willing to agree to just about anything to gain a degree of freedom - even a false marriage and a dangerous mission.And then, there's Marin Djivo. The merchant is hoping to take over his father's lucrative business, managing ships & caravans, and running trade goods between people who, if not actively at war, enjoy a peace that's fragile and uneasy at best. Raiders on land and pirates at sea are an unavoidable hazard in this line of work.Naturally, all of these individuals (and many more) will intersect along the way. Seemingly small actions will have consequences that reverberate in time and space. The past affects the living (quite literally; the 'fantasy' element in this book is a ghost which can communicate with his grandchildren), and choices made now impact others' lives and future lives.The book has plenty of adventure and action - but somehow the overall experience is more contemplative than exciting. At times it works beautifully, but at times I also wished for just a bit more compelling forward-motion and plot tension. Still; Guy Gavriel Kay remains one of my very favorite writers, and this is not one of the least of his accomplishments. Highly recommended.

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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Children of Earth and Sky Comment

  1. Full review, first posted on Fantasy Literature I read Children of Earth and Sky several months ago and adored it I should have written my review then, but Bill s eloquent and supremely insightful review proved so intimidating that I allowed this to slip to the back burner, to my shame But I m finally writing this review, if only to remind everyone of what an amazing novel this is, and what a delightful Christmas present it would make for any thoughtful reader of history or fantasy.Guy Gavriel K [...]


  2. A leisurely, beautiful almost sort of fantasy set in Kay s alternate historical world Longtime readers will recognize references here to events and characters featured in quite a few of his other books.The time period here is the I believe fifteenth century, and the action moves between recognizable versions of Croatia, Venice and Constantinople.Danica Gradek is a young woman whose surviving family was forced to relocate after being attacked by raiders who kidnapped her beloved young brother She [...]


  3. 3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum bibliosanctum 2016 05 15 Any time Guy Gavriel Kay releases a new novel is a cause for celebration Even with the understanding of how much work and time must go into each and every one of them, the waiting never gets easier Known for his talent for recreating famous historical periods using fantasy, Kay s books are all gorgeously written and painstakingly researched works of art, often infused with powerful messages and themes I d been looking forward to Childr [...]


  4. I ve read Guy Gavriel Kay before and didn t really enjoy his novels, but the cover on this one was so beautiful and the blurb so interesting I decided to give him another chance and pick this one up.I am so glad I did.Children of Earth and Sky has a number of characters, switching viewpoints every few pages Some of them are Danica Gradek, a warrior who lost her family in a raid and wants nothing than revenge Pero Villani, a young artist who is selected to paint a portrait of a man named The Des [...]


  5. Chance and change are the way of the world, and so for those living on disputed borders, or venturing to sea The struggle between holding on to a piece of land for shelter and survival and raising our eyes to the stars in search of the meaning of life was never poignant and bittersweet as in this latest offering from Guy Gavriel Kay, a master of the lyrical prose and of the heroic evocation of lost civilizations After a couple of novels set in ancient China, Kay returns to his alternate univer [...]


  6. This was going to be 3.5 stars but I liked the ending so it scrapes a 4 I like Guy Gavriel Kay, I do, but I find his books misleading They are not really fantasy at all, just historical settings, admittedly well written, renamed I always seem to expect something a little than I actually get from them That is not to say, of course, that that means there isn t to get, just that I don t I really liked the multiple points of view of the same events.I didn t really feel that invested in the charact [...]


  7. My early review is up at BN and here s the link Shorter review, though Wonderful That was what I wanted and hoped for from him for years You guys Sit back and love barnesandnoble blog sc


  8. I m not sure I can summarize this book it features a large cast occupying several different countries city states and dealing with story lines which at first seem almost entirely unconnected to one another All I can say is, it was a great read I blame this book for the reading slump which has haunted me through most of July It was such a great mix of action the kind that makes it really hard to put a book down at any point and fascinating characters, whose emotional struggles also made for no go [...]


  9. There is a sanctuary in Rhodias where a long forgotten artist depicted two empresses, facing each other one a whore, one a barbarian a thousand years ago sobs quietly, blows nose on bookmark At a certain point in the first twenty pages of every Kay novel, you start to think, There are too many characters, and I don t know any of them, and what is going on But patience is indeed a virtue with Kay s novels He is, quite frankly, my favorite living novelist and a lovely person in real life , and [...]


  10. Actual rating 4.5 starsI am admittedly and unabashedly a GGK fan girl Since I read Under Heaven three years ago for my real life book club, I have been gradually chipping away at his works and have adored every single one of them so far This too was a big, thick book and I read it in two days But this one wrapped up so neatly and completely and I m a person who loves ambiguous endings or slightly unhappy endings, the non traditional unhappily ever after That s why this book didn t rate the entir [...]


  11. Review posted on The Eater of Books blog Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel KayPublisher NALPublication Date May 10, 2016Rating 4 starsSource Review copy sent by the publisherSummary from The bestselling author of the groundbreaking novels Under Heaven and River of Stars, Guy Gavriel Kay is back with a new book, set in a world inspired by the conflicts and dramas of Renaissance Europe Against this tumultuous backdrop the lives of men and women unfold on the borderlands where empires and fa [...]



  12. Copy received courtesy of NetGalleyThis book is set twenty five years after the fall of Byzantium, that is, Sarantium The veneer is pretty thin in places the Ottoman Empire has become the Osmanli Empire, the Venetia Republic is now the Republic of Seressa, Dubrovnik is now Dubrava, and the other major players in Europe have their analogs, but Kay plays around with history in boosting the fascinating and problematical Hapsburger Emperor Rudolph II back a hundred years and turning him into Rodolfo [...]


  13. This is the first book I have read from Canadian writer Guy Gavriel Kay and reviews about the quality and originality of his work is earned.Children of Earth and Sky, his 2016 novel, is set as so many of his works in a fantastic world but one not far removed from our own This seems like an alternative history Europe, perhaps Middle Ages eastern Mediterranean The fantasy is minimalistic and oblique, the real magic here is Kay s inspired writing and his disciplined imagination.Kay s skilled world [...]


  14. I m not sure what to say to do justice to this book Kay is a master of creating worlds just inches from our own, drawing on real history and then twisting it to his own ends With several protagonists, and a prose style that leaps from one to another, sometimes within a single scene, this could have been overdone But it isn t I loved the different voices and characters and was never bored or impatient to get back to one or the other Kay plays with time and space in a way that bound all of them to [...]


  15. Review from The Speculative Herald speculativeherald 2016Children of Earth and Sky is Kay s latest novel, set in war torn lands The cast is comprised of a variety of characters, characters that are unlikely companions, crossing paths only by chance As with Kay s other books, this is set in a fictional land world, but quite closely matches our own.There are a good number of characters in this, but I think it works extremely well as it helps give perspectives and information from a variety of sour [...]


  16. I m really torn between giving this a 2 or 3 star rating I m going with 3 just because I do love all the other GGK books I ve read I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for free in exchange for a review, but I just can t say that I loved it when I didn t.I m not even sure how to describe what this book is about I finished reading it and wasn t even sure what the point was The book gets off to a very slow start introducing 7 8 different people who have their own POVs in the story There s [...]


  17. after reading a few pages this looks fabulous like the best GGK novels Sarrantium, Lions have not really been that enthusiastic about his recent Chinese themed novels for various reasons I think he is very orientalistic among other things in said novels using all the usual stereotypes about the fabled East especially in the second one , though they definitely had their high points and I enjoyed them well enough, but books like the two Sarrantium one and Lions of al Rassan are still amazing and a [...]


  18. Svidjelo mi se jako ima tu svega, i Kay kao da je pravio knjigu prisje anja No, tko ne voli kaya i njegov na in pisanja, vjerojatno mu se ne e svidjeti, jer je 100% njegovo meni ne smeta ni ta 1 4 alternativna povijest , niti prepoznatljivost mjesta i likova to na kraju krajeva autor nikad nije ni skirvao, to je ono to on pi e knjiga je uzbudljiva, arena, zanimljiva, izvrsnog ritma i pri e meni dovoljno.


  19. A new Guy Gavriel Kay novel is cause for great celebration and anticipation in our household, as he has authored some of our most beloved novels over the decades by our I mean my wife, my fifteen year old son, and myself A consummate storyteller and stylist the two don t always go hand in hand , his long term consistency is remarkable, and his newest work, Children of Earth and Sky, finds him still at the top of his form.One way to describe a Guy Gavriel Kay novel is that it s a bit like peering [...]


  20. I have not yet read the The Sarantine Mosaic and I admit that I m a little biased because Children of Earth and Sky also indirectly recreates the history of my country Romania, that was under influence of The Ottoman Empire for 500 years , but this is the best novel of all the wonderful books by Kay that I ve read It is a book about the clash of cultures and every shifting borders, and their influence on people that must learn to adapt or to fight the merciless changes that history brings upon t [...]



  21. Eternity is too long for us It is not a scale for men and women We live by different, smaller measures, but there are stories we tell.Just so you know, I love the books of Guy Gavriel Kay It s one of those things that is difficult to explain His ability to evoke feelings in me is unequaled by any current author His writing style seems to flow off the page and reach right down in to my soul There are very few characters I have cared about with the same depth as those that are brought to life in h [...]


  22. DNF ing at 41% This was SUCH a hard decision The book is NOT bad But I had two problems 1 This is a very slow moving book Lots of subtlety It has not suited my mood at all I ve been finding excuses for the last 3 weeks to read other things rather than pick up this book.2 I received this as an ARC from NetGalley so thank you to them and the publisher , and the ebook displayed horribly on my Kindle The formatting was so inconsistent, with dozens of hyphenated words in the middle of paragraphs and [...]


  23. An absolute joy to read I m not enad of the heavy magic, dragons, wizards, and outlandish fantasy world elements of that genre, but Kay fills the fantasy niche for me, being a past master at marrying thinly veiled elements of a real historic period with a light hand on the unexplained This novel told of a faux Italian Renaissance period and Balkan called herein by several names war with the Ottomans Osmanlis Seressa, the Queen of the Sea , read Venice , with her emphasis on trading and on duplic [...]


  24. Guy Gavriel Kay is someone whose work I have struggled to appreciate to its fullest Yet here is Kay at his sublime best, writing with poetic elegance and in a unique present tense with omniscient voice that few other authors could carry off with the skill Kay does.The essential premise of this novel focuses on several different characters all travelling to a distant city and beyond Each of these characters are unique heroes merchants, painters, pirates, child slaves turned warriors, false wives, [...]


  25. As can be expected of Kay, he once again delivers a beautiful, thoughtful, and intricately plotted novel His characters are rich and layered, his worldbuilding deep, but never overwhelming There s a care for his creation, a love and respect for his characters, that is rare among authors Tremendous.


  26. Sometimes you can read a book and it is just exactly what you need at that moment, like draining a cool drink on a hot summer day In truth, I did not even know that I needed Children of Earth and Sky until I began reading it This book hit the spot.It s not much of a surprise that I would enjoy a Guy Gavriel Kay novel I have read all of the others and so I go into it knowing what I am going to get and that, I know, will be something good Kay s style of writing is something unique There is somethi [...]


  27. It s hard not to be biased, Kay is my favorite author and this book is set in my country well, not fully, some parts are But that is not the reason I m giving it a five star rating It s a wonderful story about small people and their role in big world and how can they shape it But it s also a story about the different types of heroism, about tragedy and love, sometimes than one of those, written through few great characters.Based on historical things with a dose of supernatural, which is nothing [...]


  28. Guy Gavriel Kay always feels so epic to me I think it is his way of putting humans into the larger tapestry This book jumps between characters and even between times looking at big events from different angles and the effect of small actions I listened, and Simon Vance is a great narrator for this I think he gave it just the right feel.


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