Children of Earth and Sky
by Guy Gavriel Kay.
What do a pirate, a spy, a painter, a merchant, and a soldier have in common? They are all key characters in this book, and they are all more than they seem. Children of Earth and Sky is a story about intertwined lives and how sometimes small decisions can have far-reaching consequences. It’s a beautifully-written epic that muses on the nature of humanity, love, war, and fate. It’s set in a fictional Renaissance-style world and while there are some small elements of folk magic, it is more focused on adventure and political intrigue. I wouldn’t call it a fantasy.
I would call it very good read. I was already a fan of the author’s, and this just reinforced that. I appreciate beautiful writing that is incisive, and lyrical without being syrupy. I appreciate characters who are smart and nuanced, and drive the plot rather than just being placeholders in it. I appreciate world-building that is detailed and real without bogging the reader down. I appreciate when both violent and romantic scenes are depicted realistically. This book delivers on all fronts. I’m of a mind to go pick up the rest of this author’s work that I haven’t read, just because I’m that impressed.
The minor down points to this book: it is quite long, and took awhile to get through. And as skilled as the author clearly is, there were still some parts that lagged a little and I had to push to get through. Also, I kept getting the names of two of the empires mixed up, which caused some confusion regarding events in the book- though that might be put more down to user error (they are very similar names, though). I’m also not sure how the title or cover tie in to the actual story, so there’s a bit of disconnect there.
That said, I still enjoyed it immensely. It will be out May 10, and is a standalone, so if you’re looking for a good one-and-done epic adventure, give this a try.