Category Archives: Canadian Literature

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

Synopsis: Tigana is a country that has been obliterated by magic, down to its very name, yet a small group of rebels who remember decide to spark civil war to reclaim the honor of their homeland. Review: I wanted to love Tigana, I really did. Guy Gavriel Kay is a beautiful writer, excelling in exploring complex emotions and motivations within scenes that are startlingly original. There are scenes in Tigana that are achingly lovely without sacrificing dramatic impact. However, the overall story just never clicked…

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The Shaming of the Strong by Sarah Williams

Synopsis: Told their unborn child has birth defects that will likely lead to stillbirth, a couple decide to see the pregnancy through to term. Review: I am a sucker for stories like those found in The Shaming of the Strong. When I was pregnant with Superfast Baby I thought a lot about what I would do if I found out that something was wrong, and I hoped that I would be strong enough to make the choice that Sarah Williams made, however painful it might…

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The Darkest Road by Guy Gavriel Kay (The Fionavar Tapestry, Book 3)

Synopsis: The conclusion of the epic battle against the darkness. Review: I’m sorry to announce to everyone who has been excited I’m reading Kay that I found The Darkest Road to be a slog… around page 275 I realized that I had nothing invested emotionally in any of the characters or their journeys. I just never really engaged with the story. That said, Kay is a beautiful writer and I will certainly be checking out Tigana and Last Light of the Sun, though not for…

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The Wandering Fire by Guy Gavriel Kay (The Fionavar Tapestry, Book 2)

Synopsis: Book 2 of the Fionavar Tapestry finds five Canadian students returning to an alternate universe where they continue to fight an epic battle against a demonic demigod and step further into their unique destinies. Review: As with any good second book in a trilogy, The Wandering Fire deepens the Fionavar mythology and heightens the stakes for all involved. Share on Facebook

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The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay (The Fionavar Tapestry, Book One)

Synopsis: Five Toronto college students are pulled into an alternate world where they discover their true destinies at the outset of a war that could affect all worlds, including their own. Review: Yep, another hard-to-synopsize epic fantasy book. The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay employs one of the standard fantasy templates–ordinary people drawn into an extraordinary world–making the book “execution dependent.” That means that Kay has to work twice as hard to make the story feel fresh and exciting. Share on Facebook

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World of Wonders by Robertson Davies

Synopsis: The premature baby of Fifth Business was kidnapped by roustabouts, grew up a circus performer, and has grown into the greatest magician in the world. His life story offers the final piece to the question posed in The Manticore: “Who killed Boy Staunton?” Review: Robertson Davies’s masterful Deptford Trilogy deserves to be on more must-read lists. I discovered it thanks to Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, and can say that Davies’s writing not only warrants Prose’s close reading, it actually provokes it…

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The View from a Kite by Maureen Hull

Synopsis: Life inside a 1970s TB ward from the point of view of a teenage girl who won’t take her treatment lying down. Review: A View from a Kite is a superlative young adult book, featuring a fresh, likable protagonist in an utterly fascinating setting. Gwen is 17 and has tuberculosis, so she lives in a sanatarium where her only responsibilities are to rest, eat, and heal. She lives amongst patients of all ages, and one of the great treats of this book comes from…

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The Manticore by Robertson Davies

Synopsis: The son of a wealthy industrialist enters Jungian therapy to discover why he feels that his life is at a point of crisis. Review: In The Manticore, Robertson Davies continues the story he began in his masterful Fifth Business, turning his acute eye for the majesty of the quotidian on David, the son of Boy Staunton, a prominent figure in the first book. David feels himself to be a stunted man, and hopes that rigorous Jungian psychoanalysis will yield revelations enabling him to shake…

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The Living God by Dave Duncan

Synopsis: The epic battle for control of Pandemia converges on Thume, a peaceful enclave that’s hidden from sight for two millenia. Review: I’m sort of relieved to be finished The Living God, thus concluding the four-part series by Dave Duncan called A Handful of Men. I loved every minute of this series, which is a sequel to a previous series known as A Man of His Word, but it’s just awfully hard blogging about epic fantasy when it’s this perfect. Share on Facebook

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The Stricken Field by Dave Duncan

Synopsis: The fate of Pandemia rests upon the shoulders of Imperor Shandie and his friends, who have spread to the far corners of the world in the hopes of uniting all the races against a common foe. Plus, did somebody say that the dragons are rising? Review: In The Stricken Field, the third of four books in A Handful of Men, author Dave Duncan shows us just exactly how big a task he’s set for his protagonists–and for himself. You see, Pandemia is peopled by…

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