Guy Gavriel Kay: Children of Earth and Sky

Children of Earth and Sky Featured Image
Guy Gavriel Kay, Children of Earth and Sky

Rating: 2/5
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: May 10th 2016

Synopsis:

When the world is divided between those who worship the stars and those who worship the sun…

When the balance of power is shifting and the City of Cities has fallen…

When men and women are caught up in the vortex of war…

In extraordinary times, no lives are untouched, legends emerge.

Danica Gradek, froma wlled town of pirates – who joins a sea-raid, filled with a long desire for vengeance. The merchant Marin Djivo, who will keep his head when others lose theirs. Leonora Valeri, forced to be a spy, destined for something very different. Pero Villani, travellin east to paint the world’s most powerful man,and perhaps do more… They will all be tempered and tested in war-torn lands that lie between the silver city on its lagoon to the west and the thrice-walled golden city in the east. Their lives will intersect, history will change.

Review:

I’m afraid to say that I had to DNF this book at almost 300 pages – I got halfway through after giving it a second chance, but I just found that this novel wasn’t really bringing me anything that could ultimately hold my interest for the whole span of the book.

Children of Earth and Sky is a historical fantasy based off of real-life empires, cities, and events. It was this that intrigued me about this novel and that enticed me to read it, being a fan of both historical and fantasy fiction. Though my knowledge on history may not be the best, I could easily discern the parallels between place names within the book and the read world due to their similarities. It was also clear that religions, cultures, and politics had been taken from these areas as well. This I found interest – Guy Gavriel Kay’s ability to fictionalize events and bring them into a fantastical world.

As with many fantasy novels nowadays, Children of Earth and Sky has many protagonists; the narrative chopping and changing frequently between each character and showing their perspectives on events taking place. This did become quite disconcerting in this instant, and was one of the main reasons I could not complete this book. I found that there were too many characters to keep track of; I picked the book up after a day of no reading and I could not for the life of me remember who the character’s perspective was. It left me wading through deep water trying to comprehend events. As well as this, the different perspectives intertwine in that one perspective will finish to be picked up by another on the same event resulting in multiple versions of the same scenario. Though I can see the reasoning behind this in order to build character and understand how they are affected, it became a bit repetitive reading the same dialogue and scenes repeated over and over again.

In most fantasies, that I can recall, the tense has been predominantly past – a tense that I find much easier to read given the context. However, Gavriel Kay tells this story entirely through present tense which I found clunky and hard to trudge through from the outset. The phrasings and sentence structure in this tense caused me to frequently re-read the same sentence in order to understand context and, coupled with the extensive use of infodumping and providing information on topics I felt were entirely unnecessary, caused me to frequently question what I had read. It took me around 2 days just to read the first 100 pages!

I believe that if Gavriel Kay had written in the past tense, tightened his writing, and rethought the different perspectives and when they were needed, I would have enjoyed this novel a lot more. As it was, I felt like the narrative was not moving at a quick enough pace and a lot of information was being provided on events and situations that were not related to the overall plot-line.

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