Mythica Book Review: Last Light of the Sun, by Guy Gavriel Kay

By happenstance I came upon Guy Gavriel Kay’s mythica novel, The Last Light of the Sun, at my favorite used book outlet (shameless plug: HospiceCare & Share, a non-profit thrift store operated by HospiceCare of Boulder and Broomfield Counties).  To be frank I had never even heard of him but it had a picture of a viking longboat on the cover.  Since I am writing a novel based on Old Norse mythology, tentatively titled Ragnarök Willie, Kay’s book basically said. “Read me.”  Or whatever the equivalent is in Old Norse.

Overview:

This is a different sort of book.  Different from anything I have ever read.  Based in an alternative 9th century world that blends Old Norse and Welsh traditions, history and mythos yet is something new and different.  The Vikings are Erlings, the Welsh are the Cyngael. The settings and characters are gritty and historically accurate, except for the two moons–one blue–and the dark fantasy faerie land in the woods. The style is high fantasy, but the writing is both coarse and stilted, with jumbled sentences that feel like they should be carved on runestones.

What I liked:

It’s different. It’s tough to put down. The characters are engaging and the ending kicks you in the teeth but you just say, “Wow.”

What I didn’t like:

It’s different. If you put it down its tough to get back in. A lot of shifting of viewpoints.  And the disconcerting overuse of parenthesis gets old really fast, and frankly the jumpy writing style does too.

Book info:

  • Title: The Last Light of the Sun
  • Author: Guy Gavriel Kay
  • Genre: Fantasy, Mythica
  • Publication date: April 5, 2005
  • Published by: Roc (Penguin)
  • Amazon average rating: 4 out of 5
  • Amazon ranking:  121, 679

CR Hodges

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