River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay

Guy Gavriel Kay

A couple of months ago, I was surprised to be contacted by people from Penguin Books, Canada, who asked if I’d be interested in doing an interview (see my interview with Julie Czerneda here) and a book review. The book, River of Stars, just happened to be written by one of Canada’s top fantasy writers, Guy Gavriel Kay. Of course, I responded with an enthusiastic, “YES!” They sent me an advanced review copy, which I finally had a chance to read, after weeks of busy life stuff taking up valuable reading time.

Image of RIVER OF STARS

As a writer of historical fiction myself, I am in absolute awe of Guy Gavriel Kay, considering the amount of research that went into creating this epic novel. His absorption of the cultural and historical elements of the time period is evident in his ability to infuse his characters with it. He describes places and events in such glorious detail and uses the mythology of the time to create his own mythical character, a man whose destiny snakes in, out, and around the lives of history’s key players. He protects and changes the lives of minor characters, as well – those who are greatly affected by the whims of a self-absorbed Emperor, the carelessness of a General in the Imperial army, the aspirations of high court officials and the conflict between north and south that embroils the country.

River of Stars is an elaborate tapestry, detailing the life and times of China’s Twelfth Dynasty. Its many characters are woven into the political intrigue of the day, each vividly painted by a master storyteller. The richness of his descriptions places the reader in the front row, center stage of a fascinating time in China’s history. The reader is immersed in the passions, the motivations, and the ambitions of his characters, witnessing each scene through their eyes.

I highly recommend River of Stars to any lover of historical fiction. Even if you have never read a piece of historical fiction in your life, I suggest plunging into the River of Stars. You will be carried away by the torrent of words, the ebb and flow of history driven by the characters trying their best to paddle their way to their destinies. I hope you will be hooked on the genre by the end of the book and become a fan, like me. 🙂

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Book blurb:

Ren Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate of Kitai. That moment on a lonely road changed his life in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years later, and his life changes again, dramatically, as he moves toward the court and emperor while war approaches Kitai from the north.

Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor and alienates the women at court. But when her father’s life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has.

In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading, under the river of stars, to events no one could have foretold.

About Guy Gavriel Kay (from Penguin Books Canada‘s website):

Guy Gavriel Kay is an internationally bestselling author. He has been awarded the International Goliardos Prize for his work in the literature of the fantastic, is a two-time winner of the Aurora Award, and won the 2008 World Fantasy Award for Ysabel. His works have been translated into twenty-five languages.

So Sorry For My Cyber Silence

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Let me begin by sending birthday wishes to my April Fool’s kitty. He is now 13 years old. He’s beginning to show his age – a little arthritic, like me & Hubby. He’s starting to slim down and his digestion isn’t as good as it used to be, but we still love him and hope he stays with us for many more years.

With that said, I want to apologize profusely for my my absence over the past month and thank those who expressed their concern. I appreciate you guys looking out for me. 🙂

I think my muse must have wondered where our spring weather was and was so depressed by the high snowbanks, unending snowfalls and frigid temperatures in March that she decided to go on vacation! As a result, she wasn’t around to motivate me into writing at all and is it any wonder? Here’s what it looked like out our windows, front and back, on Saturday – more like January than March. Blech! 😦

March 30, 2013

The snow bank is up against a 6 foot fence!

front, March 30, 2013

View across the street.

 

Another reason for my lethargy might be my overloaded email box. I’ve tried to keep up with all the blog posts that enter daily, but some time back in November I missed a few days of blog reading and it has snow-balled from there. As much as I love what you all have to say, I haven’t totally succeeded in keeping up with all of you. The enormity of this task has been a little overwhelming. I will start back again slowly, but it could take awhile before I get around to reading all the great stuff you have been doing.

We still have my brother-in-law living with us, recovering from the severe burns he received back in October. His inability to used his hands has meant that I have been playing nursemaid, chauffeur and companion, which leaves me very little time to even keep up with household chores (although if I were truly honest, housework would be last on the list of things I want to do, but it still needs to be done).

In addition, on Easter Sunday, we had a gathering with the in-laws where we celebrated 23 birthdays and 3 anniversaries (those from January to end of May), not including my birthday, both of my children’s birthdays and my son-in-law’s birthday as well as my anniversary. I’ve also had several close friends and family members with birthdays in February, March and April. Everyone expects a handmade card from me so I had my work cut out for me, especially since I make each one unique and try to make them different from the ones I made for them the previous year or two. I’ve been eating, breathing and dreaming card-making. I’ve spent considerable time on Pinterest trying to find ideas for cards. All-told, I think I must have made 3 dozen cards over the past month or so. I have taken pictures of them all and since they have now been given out, I won’t hesitate to show them to you during the next few Crafty Wednesdays.

I still have to finish reading and critiquing a friend’s Regency Romance novel. I’m really sorry that I haven’t been able to do this as quickly as I hoped! On top of all that, I have two more very large novels to read for reviews coming up this month…

…which brings me to some really exciting news: representatives from Penguin Books Canada discovered that I do interviews and book reviews on my blog, so they have asked me to do an interview with Julie Czerneda and review Guy Gavriel Kay‘s latest novel! I guess the whole social media thing actually works!

A TURN OF LIGHT

Image of RIVER OF STARSI have scheduled Julie’s interview for Sunday, April 16th so please drop by then to see what she has to say about her new novel, A Turn of Light. When I finish reading Guy Gavriel Kay’s River of Stars, I’ll post a review, as well.

Also this month, I have been asked to sit on several panels of a new local literary event called the C4 Lit Fest. It’s kind of a spin-off from Comic Con but will be directing its panels and workshops to writers especially those who write fantasy for teens. This means I have to prepare something to say at each panel and make notes to rely on in case of audience questions. If any of you are here in Winnipeg April 20th & 21st, you might want to check out our guest writer line-up and panels here. You can find more information about getting tickets here. It should be a lot of fun.

In closing, I want to say, I hope you haven’t all deserted me for being so silent these past few weeks. I promise to be more diligent with my blog writing and reading from now on. Thanks for your patience. 🙂