Let me first start by saying as epic this story is, so is the length of the book coming in at a huge 771 pages. Yes, you will need lots of munchies. This epic adventure is about remembering and never forgetting; it’s about magic and love and a very intriguing struggle between the forces of good versus evil.
The story is set on a peninsula known as the Palm. There are two rivalling sorcerers. Alberico the Barbadian sorcerer of the east and Ygrathen king and sorcerer Brandin of the west. The prologue takes you to the beginning of the end for Tigana with a pending war. You are then brought into the main story a couple decades later and into lives of some amazing characters.
There is a sense of Italian flare with the creation of the world. Kay even has a note of how to pronounce the names and words within the story. Though, there is a sense of old-world Italian from the language, I never once had a European sense of The Peninsula of the Palm in my mind.
What you learn about Tigana is that it was wiped off the face of the Palm for sheer bitter spite and revenge. Kay has woven some complex themes into this tale. When one of the main characters, Alessan, of the story talks about a name having power, you get a sense of how true that can be. Tigana has been destroyed and its name lost to those from that province by a powerful spell. You feel a sense of lost knowing in a few generations it will truly be forgotten.
This lost of identity can be seen many of the characters, but it’s Devin’s reclaiming of his identity I found to be profound. When Tigana is finally named to him, you watch how he struggles and endures to come to terms with who he really is. There is a heart-wrenching moment early on when he names himself of Tigana. It is also this lost that brings the characters together by remembering a name binds Devin to Alessan’s group and to the act of seeking vengeance.
The characters are memorable. Kay has managed to manoeuvre you through a thicket of characters and viewpoints without you feeling as though you want a bit more understanding or wanting to know what happened to that character. Your heart will go out to Alessan, Devin, Baerd and Catriana and for their cause of bringing down the sorcerers. You get a look insight into Alberico and Brandin as well. There are others you get to know and you come to like or dislike them accordingly.
I enjoyed following Devin in this epic tale. His got a gift for memory and he’s an incredible singer. You see what he sees and you get a better sense of Alessan, Baerd and Catriana through his eyes. He has some interesting encounters with the ladies, but he has a kind and gentle soul. I enjoyed his progression as a character through the story.
The other character I found interesting was Dianora. Part two is devoted to her and she comes back again further into the story. Her insights into Brandin and how she sees losing the ability to talk about Tigana and how the lost affected her is worth the read. I did find I had to work a bit harder in this section but nonetheless it was worth it.
It’s not a straightforward revenge story. As I stated, it is complex read and it’s a long book to get through. Kay has decided to break the book in four parts which I found as a good indicator of where I was in the story, but I find the break up did hinder the pacing of the story at times. There are a few places where it was slow and it takes a while for Dianora to return to the action, but it’s worth the wait for her return.
Why should you read this book?
Despite it being a lengthy book to read and having numerous names and characters to remember. I found it to be very engaging. You are truly transported to the Palm and into the lives of Devin, Alessan and the rest. There’s a little bit for everyone in this book too: a romance, action, magic and a good story. Also as I stated earlier, if you are a fan of the Tolkien style of fantasy this is a must read and a book for your shelves. Add Guy Gavriel Kay to your collection if you haven’t, and enjoy Tigana.
|Rhesa is a sci-fi and fantasy junkie with a passion for collecting. She’s a die-hard movie buff. Rhesa has a degree in English Language and a certificate in Publishing. She’s also an aspiring speculative fiction writer, hoping to add her contribution to the genre community.|
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