[hackers Books] Epub River of Stars author Guy Gavriel Kay – Kindle eBook & PDF

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T the 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 exuisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far than the burdens of governing dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world leading to events no one could have foretold under the river of sta. 45 Stars Review also posted at The BiblioSanctumBecause I ve read and enjoyed Guy Gavriel Kay s Under Heaven I became intrigued and very excited when I first found out about River of Stars Set in the same universe and timeline but approximately four centuries after the events of the first book this isn t truly a seuel and can definitely be read as a standalone Still in my humble opinion it wouldn t hurt to read Under Heaven first like I said I thought it was a good book but it also gives insight into the setting and a deeper understanding of the people s sorrow in River of Stars for their once powerful empire with strong leaders that has gone soft and in declineIt s no secret that Kay is one of my favorite authors when it comes to historical fantasy One of the reasons is that his stories which are often analogues of real places set in real historical periods and in many cases infused with very powerful messages and themes Set in a world inspired by Song Dynasty China Rivers of Stars is no exception I find it difficult to just present a description of the novel because that simply wouldn t do the book any justice On the surface Altai barbarians from the northern steppes invade Kitai taking advantage of a weak emperor whose decadence and lavish spending has emptied the treasury and run the empire into the ground A young boy grows up to become an Outlaw of the Marsh then goes on to become one of the greatest commanders the Kitai army has ever known An educated young woman ahead of her time changes the world with her songs and poetry River of Stars is about all that but also so much because of the way Kay writes the book is almost like a work of art His strength has always been his way with words and I swear his writing gets beautiful every time I pick up another one of his books Reading this was like reading a book of poetry And while I don t deny that his kind of prose can get a little tedious after a while that s okay too because I just put it down when that happens and pick it up again later I think novels like these are just meant to be savored anyway there s really no rushing through Guy Gavriel Kay booksHis dialogue writing can be very subtle too which is actually uite appropriate for this story in which so much unfolds within an imperial court of secrets and intrigue at a time and in a place where saving face is everything and what you say or don t say can get you killed While Kay can definitely tell a story his stuff is probably not what you d turn to if you want a rip roaring book of fast paced adventure or nonstop action For example though there is certainly no lack of battles in River of Stars I find many of them are only described after the fact Rather than the actual fighting we often see only the results and the aftermathAnd I think that is the point of the book really One of the themes in River of Stars is how a single person can shape your life and bring you to places you never thought possible how the decisions or actions or the destiny of someone can ripple through history to affect legions or even change the face of an empire The happenings behind major events are meticulously peeled back examined from different angles to show the significance of the repercussions that can be felt for generations It s another reason why it was hard for me at times to tease out a real clear thread of a plot while reading this The story is told in so many layers and not always linearly filled in with many narratives during the past present or even future Everything is woven together to form a whole in a very impressive way cementing the idea in my mind of Guy Gavriel Kay as a true artist

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River of Stars

There he emerges years later and his life changes again dramatically as he circles 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 women a. Our lives aren t only ours There are plenty of fantasy books that take us along the from zero to hero path River of Stars is similar but the ingenious variation comes with the fact that the personal development of the hero is accompanied by a grand scale devolution of his country If you expect a happy ending you got a wrong book River of Stars is a companion novel to Under Heaven and together they form kind of a duology inasmuch as they are set in the same alternative version of China but where Under Heaven talked about an empire in its heyday River of Stars takes us to a sad and diminished ruin of the former glory We are caught between the inescapable contrasts There is no an easy way out The Twelfth Dynasty of Kitai is shrunken and rotten and can repeat after Livy one of my favourite uotes We can endure neither our vices nor their cure The devolution does not concern merely the material but it affects the spirit first of all and as the reader wades through the symptoms of this decay it will be apparent how this slow poison spreads and how it affects the men and women of the empire It is evil mixed with incompetence mixed with desperation mixed with honourable intentions The result is chilling You d expect that this is where the MC steps in You are right But you are also wrongMr Kay is known if not renowned for his perfect characterisation of even secondary and tertiary protagonists River of Stars is not different in this regard the problem is that we do not really have primary secondary or tertiary figures because the leading ones do not have the narrative monopoly To the contrary their voices are uire rare and we see the story unfolding through a wide array of individuals some of whom appear sparkle and vanish some stay with us longer even if they linger on the margins The intensity of this way of telling the story results in the fact that both male and female MCs become guests in their own tale Ren Daiyan is a great hero But not such a great protagonist My main problem is that he has been born to make all those great things he did There is no development to him or in him He does not need to grow he needs to persevere He himself admits that It was as if the choice had been made for him he was only the agency of its working Well let me tell you I was furious For once what kind of choice is it if you know you were born to be wild great But also because all the important moments on the forking path of his life were skipped and some only were later referred to in the retrospect How frustratingly exasperating particularly the first and never properly explained one The female counterpart Lin Shan was interesting mostly because she was threading a lonely path of an unorthodox eccentric among the meek and domesticated females of her time Not an extraordinary beauty weird that for Mr Kay but a nice change usually disliked by women overeducated and altogether too clever I could empathise Her path her marriage her choices these were well conceived and even better written Evidently Mr Kay experiments with telling the story on many different levels This way of narrative and meta narrative and then something in between did not resonate with me fully Also as I ve been trying to tell you he experiments with the use of parentheses The book enticed me and drew me in but then lost me somewhere in the middle forgive me Father of All Books I had even thought of skimming only to grind me to incoherent pieces in the end In spite of my numerous misgivings most of them you will find in what has uickly landed on my personal list of the best reviews on Goodreads I was annihilated and offended both by that ending The catharsis never came It is not necessary to read the previous book although I d recommend it especially that there is a nice crossover across time because the predecessor is in my opinion slightly better Where it begins Under Heaven

Guy Gavriel Kay Å 4 review

“River of Stars is a major accomplishment the work of a master novelist in full command of his subject” Michael Dirda in The Washington Post“Game of Thrones in China” SaloncomRen Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate That moment on a lonely road changed his life in entirely unexpected ways sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws From. I feel cheated I hate these wishy washy anti climactic Kay endings and the wishy washy over virtuous flat characters but that was not the only thing that disappointed me hereI must say that although I loved most of the first three uarters I hated the endingThe book is supposedly based on the fall of the Northern Song Dynasty in China and a lot of the background does indeed portray thisSure there was a Chinese general who underwent a fate like this but since Kay changed and embroidered upon so much of the detail anyway couldn t he just as well have changed history to make the end satisfyingor written a parallel history a scenario of what ifIf you re going to make some famous characters your main characters and you re going to diverge from what is known about them why then not just as well re write a parallel history in a pleasing what if format Like for instance what if a character chose not to follow orders at a certain point in time How could that have changed history Since the author portrayed aspects of their personal lives differently in any caseAnyhow I think that the actual Chinese legends and history associated with the birth and end of Yue Fei are much interesting than Kay s rendition of themAlso the technological and infrastructural developments of the Southern Song Dynasty and the establishment of the Ming dynasty would have made a cool second half to this novel which was all too rambling for what it coversI also hate his blooming sexism It just grated on me how he repeatedly only talks about women as objects Kay seems to have insight into what a horse must be feeling and thinking when ridden than all the women who were used and raped as the spoils of war for instance And what about the concubines they re like paper puppets not to mention his version of one of the greatest female poets in Chinese history Shan is based on the poetess Li ingzhaoIn fact if you read up on the period you will see that many upper class women were pretty well educated at the time so as to better run their households since they were in charge of the household and often mostly of the household finances too Nothing of this is reflected in the novel and the fact that Lin Shan can read and write is presented as something unusual as unfitting for a womanSure Confucianism was repressive towards women but not to the point that upper class women were not allowed an educationFemale education was still subordinate to male education and women were subordinate to men of course but Kay s women are like totally flat paper cut outs like objects rather than people Never does Kay successfully manage to see the world through a woman s eyes we always just get a male chauvinist view of thingsAlso on the Northern Steppes women were not merely helpless sexual chattels They lived a hard life and had to run the household when their menfolk were away Some of these women even took on military roles So not uite the Gor like view that Kay paints of women being literally mindless animals I ve been musing about why Kay s apparent sexism seems to grate on me so and I ve realized that a lot of it might have to do with the fact that I ve recently been reading a lot of the work of author China Mi ville a male author who manages to present a remarkably non sexist view of the world in comparisonI ve become spoiltAnother niggle not all that important but really irritating are all the banal platitudes for instance It was an important day Some days are and the foreshadowings that never truly materialize all the hints about legends in the making and so on When the west wind blows the blinds asideI am frailer than the chrysanthemums Li ingzhao Li Ching chao 1084 1155 image error


10 thoughts on “River of Stars

  1. says:

    What is it to fall out of love? It is has been a long time since I’ve done it and so I don’t remember From what I recall it was something unconscious for a long time Something in your turn of phrase in the explanations that you seek out and find the articles you share and how often you choose to go to bed early I remember it being full of protestations a passion that was stronger than I felt and heavy with tears The

  2. says:

    444 I just finished and honestly this book has left me completely depressed Almost than the second Malazan and this is saying something because that one had me crying for days The complete helplessness of regular people an

  3. says:

    I feel cheated I hate these wishy washy anti climactic Kay endings and the wishy washy over virtuous flat characters but that was not the only thing that disappointed me hereI must say that although I loved most of the first three uarters I hated the endingThe book is supposedly based on the fall of the Northern Song Dynasty in China and a lot of the background does indeed portray thisSure there was a Chinese general w

  4. says:

    “Our lives aren’t only ours”There are plenty of fantasy books that take us along the “from zero to hero” path “River of Stars” is similar but the ingenious variation comes with the fact that the personal development of the hero is accompanied by a grand scale devolution of his country If you expect a happy ending you got a wrong book“River of Stars” is a companion novel to “Under Heaven”

  5. says:

    A seuel in terms of setting and history if not character or plot River of Stars sees Guy Gavriel Kay return to the Chinese

  6. says:

    With every Kay book I read I'm tempted to say 'This is the best one yet' River of Stars is no exception It may be only the fact that it is fresh in my memory but I believe the author has reach a new height in his uest to c

  7. says:

    Returning to Kay's richly drawn worlds is like falling into poetry extensively researched history and the becoming one with the horrors that beset these wonderful contemporary protagonistsI'm tempted to call this silkpunk but I must admit there is almost no fantasy and definitely no SF in it Instead it is just an immersive look at what coul

  8. says:

    45 Stars Review also posted at The BiblioSanctumBecause I've read and enjoyed Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven I became intrigued and very excited when I first found out about River of Stars Set in the same universe and timeline but approximately four centuries after the events of the first book this isn't truly a seuel and

  9. says:

    TornWhat do I say about this book? The trends that I hoped were an aberration in Under Heaven seem to have increased and not waned I read the book it was well enough written but there was no magic no sense of intimacy no prose that made me want to stay on a page indefinitelyLike Under Heaven the scope of the canvas was enormous; the dilemmas faced by the characters seemed less poignant and inevitable In addition the distance plac

  10. says:

    of Stars is the twelfth novel by Canadian author Guy Gavriel Kay and is based loosely on twelfth century China during the Song Dynasty Like many of his works Kay weaves historical names places and events into a fictional tapestry that still retains the feel of historical work while engaging the reader in the intensely character driv

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