Guy Gavriel Kay – Tigana


Two sorcerer tyrants invade the Peninsula of Palm in Tigana.  One of the sorcerer’s sons is slain in the battle at Tigana.  The grieving father invokes a powerful spell that wipes the name Tigana out of every person’s mind who was not born in Tigana at the time of its falling.  And so we pick up the story 18 years later.

Alessan is the last Prince of Tigana.  At the time of Brandin’s invasion of the Western Palm, Alessan was too young to do any fighting.  After the destruction of his home, he spends the last 18 years trying to bring back the name lost to everyone not born in Tigana.

This stand-alone fantasy novel was ok but nowhere near my favourites.  There were just way too many novel changing decisions that the main characters made that was not logical at all.  It’s hard for me to get into them all without giving away spoilers though.

Instead, I’ll just talk about some elemental stuff I didn’t like about the novel.  Through the first 50% of the book we are aware that we are dealing with sorcerers and wizards who have powerful spells, all fine and dandy, but then out of nowhere we are thrown into an out-of-world war.  No, that’s not allowed.

The entire novel was in limited omniscient point of view except for 2 or 3 instances where the author says, “at the same time this was happening that other character was doing this”.  errrr what?

The entire novel was written in past tense except for the epilogue and some random scene about 3/4 of the way to the end of the book.  I can accept the epilogue being present tense but not that random scene.  No no no.

Perhaps one of the biggest things I disliked was time management for a lack of a better phrase.  Basically the author gives us a scene, then the next scene the author goes, “and while this was happening let’s go back in time and see what the other characters were doing and thinking”.  Seems like such a cheat.
As expected, the two tyrants go for an all out battle at the end and destroy each other.  I cared very little about this and the author didn’t seem to put much attention into it either.  What I really wanted to see was a sibling reunion which the novel was building up to for the final 3/4s which never happened.  That left me feeling empty.

There are those who feel Guy Gavriel Kay is the best fantasy writer alive and so I will have to read more of his stuff.  But never again will it be Tigana.

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