April Books 28) A Song for Arbonne, by Guy Gavriel Kay

A Song for Arbonne is set in a vaguely parallel world, a story of conflict between the free loving Provençal-ish people of Arbonne and the nassty Norman-type bigots of Gorhaut, with pseudo-Celts, pseudo-Italians, pseudo-Spaniards and pseudo-Germans as well. The exiled northern aristocrat who appreciates southern music is the central character, and you know from quite early on how it’s likely to end (and it duly does end that way), yet I found it totally gripping (with only one significant flaw – the central character’s father is an eeevil high priest who is really a bit too eeevil). Excellent stuff.

I’ve been trying to work out why epic fantasy doesn’t usually work for me, with the exception of a few writers, such as J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, and Guy Gavriel Kay. (For example, I recently bounced off Wolfe’s The Wizard Knight and Steven Brust’s Taltos books.) Haven’t yet come to any conclusions, though.

One thought on “April Books 28) A Song for Arbonne, by Guy Gavriel Kay

  1. Something Wicked is a classic. I read it after seeing the movie. Reamde and Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance are both minor works by these authors, but oh-so-much better than many other books. I enjoyed both quite a lot. I don’t remember a thing about The Magic Cup except that it was set in Ireland. It was purged from my personal library many years ago. Bitter Angels by C.L. Anderson was quite good. I hope the author sells more in this series. If you weren’t aware, it’s a pseudonym for Sarah Zettel. I haven’t been able to get into her fantasy series, but enjoy her SF much better.

    Race of Scorpions gets a thumb’s up from me, but I like the Niccolo series a lot; much more than the Francis series. I seem to remember that you weren’t that thrilled with Niccolo Rising. Shades of Milk and Honey got a lot of great reviews and I’d been hearing a lot about Mary Robinette Kowal as a short fiction writer. I like Regencies so had high hopes. Eh. It was good, but I felt it was overhyped a bit. I did buy the sequel in hardcover and enjoyed it more–the main character has more agency.

    Another thumb’s up for Flora Segunda but I have a feeling you won’t like it; I’m not sure why. I read the sequel, Flora’s Dare first and like it more. But then I like being dropped into the middle of a new world/culture/story and having to figure out what’s up.

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