The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay


 The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

Important Info:

  • ISBN:  0143051814
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Penguin Group Canada
  • Pages: 582

I was first introduced to Kay by a friend who recommended picking up  The Fionavar Tapastry.   I instantly fell in love with the book, and proceeded to purchase every used copy of any of Kay’s books that I could find (I was in to being frugal, at that point).  I read and enjoyed Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors, and had purchased The Fionavar Tapastryin it’s three parts (I was fairly upset to find out not 6 months after purchasing them that they had re-released it in one volume).  I believe that I have a couple of other books downstairs, but I’m not really sure which ones I have now.

It has taken me a while, to pick up The Lions of Al-Rassan.  I’m not terribly sure why, but there you go.  I think I was turned off by the cover.  The version I have is with the three main characters, although I have to say that the latest run of this book is very boring… and in a style that just doesn’t seem to make sense to me.  Oh well.  I had just finished reading a bunch of brain candy, and decided that I might take on something a bit meatier, and picked out this one.  I didn’t read it quite as fast as I had liked, taking breaks for the blog tour, and to play Professor Layton and the Curious Village, but I got through it none the less.

I did enjoy the book, although it wasn’t a compelling story (to me).  I know a lot of people list this as one of their favourite Kay books, but I suppose that I just didn’t connect with the characters as others might have.  About the only person that I really identified with was Miranda Belmonte, a mother of twins.  While I don’t have twins, I could definitely identify with her mother-bear personality.  However, she didn’t get all that much screen time, so that was kind of sad for me.

There is a fair amount of violence in this book, as it is a book about war, essentially.  I didn’t find it unbearable, as it was in short bursts, instead of pages and pages of fighting.  There was also sex in the book, but I’ve read much more descriptive and vulgar passages.  It is unequivocally an adult book, and that some adults probably wouldn’t be terribly interested in it.  I will also point out that it’s not a fantasy book, but more of an alternate history book. 

I give this book a 4 out of 5.  I liked it, but due to my lack of empathy for the characters, I wasn’t able to get into it as much as I might have liked.