Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

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.

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 for me. I’m willing to give Kay the benefit of the doubt and call it the Sopranos effect–the machinations of the wranglings for power are somewhat lost on me. I’m not one for politics or strategy. I am terrible at chess and am not confident in my ability to guess the motivations of the key players because the source of their actions doesn’t like in their emotions. I don’t traffic in cold calculation and “The Sopranos” always made me feel stupid because I was always way behind the characters. I’m much more comfortable on psychological terrain, and that’s why “Battlestar Galactica” is more my style. The characters play politics, but their politics are always very personal, so I get it.

In Tigana, the main characters are playing an incredibly complicated game as they try to topple the warring sorcerers who have wiped the name of Tigana from the world. Each individual scene was gorgeous and fascinating, but by the time I got to the end I had given up on trying to figure out how it all fit together. Funny enough, that’s also the reason I got a D in AP Physics…

8 thoughts on “Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay”

  1. Awww, I hoped you’d like at least one of Kay’s books but you did make a valiant effort. Probably more than I would have in your place. 🙂

  2. I’m not through with Kay, yet–my cousin lent me a ton of his books and I’m intrigued by The Last Light of the Sun, so I’ll at least give that one a try before giving up on him altogether. Like I said, he is a beautiful writer. It was just the plot that stymied my sleep-deprived mom brain.

  3. I’m like you. I don’t enjoy/understand books/films about power struggles and politics. My husb loves Sopranos and convinced me to watch it with him; I could only keep interest if there was a character I could relate to in some way. If a story’s not personal on some level, it gets pretty ho-hum for me.

  4. Interesting. I’ve heard it’s one of his best.

    Last Light of the Sun was my introduction to Kay, and it made me determined to read more, although it had a few nervous tics that bothered me. My favourite so far is Ysabel. I’ve read it several times and get swept up every single time.

  5. Sounds like a lovely piece of writing, but I wonder if I’d end up having the same problem with it you did. Sometimes I can enjoy politicking (like you, I love the style of it seen on Galactica), but I too like it to be rooted in emotion and personality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *