Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Whenever I read a modern Kay novel, I always struggle trying to classify them.
In all normal respects, they read like classic historical novels set in culturally lush times, peppered with rich characterizations, and steeped in really classy, nearly (or fully) poetical language.
But this ISN'T a novel of the Chinese Tang Dynasty. It may feel like it, read like it, and have a truly heartbreaking setup that seems rather unique to the period, but it ISN'T historical fiction.
It is fantasy. Plain and simple. Made up era, made up world, (even tho it has a moon quite like ours), and enough references to make it FEEL like its a history we ought to KNOW.
And that isn't a problem, per se, but it's only fantasy in the worldbuilding. No magic. Just a fully realized world.
And this is very much a beautiful world. Saying anything more would still do it not enough justice.
I personally prefer a bit more magic in my fantasies, but that's only MY preference. I really loved the characters and the rambling progression of plot. Who knew that getting a gift of 250 horses for performing an act of charity for the dead could bring one SO MUCH TROUBLE?
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