Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay – Review

Cover- Children of Earth and Sky

Published: May 10, 2016

Publisher: NAL

Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fantasy

Pages: 571 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0


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 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 more—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…

Children of Earth and Sky is my first ever Guy Gavriel Kay book and I was SO impressed. This was on my radar when it released back in May, but I didn’t have time to fit it in my reading schedule until July. Let’s just say that I’ll be going back and reading Kay’s other books as time allows because this one was just such a work of art.

I couldn’t have asked for or anticipated getting a more beautifully realized setting for this story. It’s almost a mirror of Renaissance era Europe- from the importance of art, trade, and political subtlety; it’s all there and then some. Honestly, I’m not even sure this really qualifies as purely fantasy because there are few magical elements at all- this is probably just going under the umbrella of speculative fiction. While I found the first ¼ or so of the book to be interesting, it was somewhat slow because the characters were separate and it wasn’t clear how they would fit together but the rest was amazing. The characters wove together to form a seamless tapestry of a story and I loved the ending!

I can’t even begin to describe the facets of this book, but I can’t recommend it enough! I think readers looking for something more akin to plain ol’ fiction or historical fiction would greatly appreciate this, without feeling like they’re reading a traditional fantasy story


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