Sadly, Robert Jordan has died. Condolences to those he loved, and those who loved him.
Robert Jordan was one of my favorite authors after Janny. It was a wonderful experience to discover WOT in 1991 and I will miss him. Condolences to his wife Harriet and his family and friends.
I read Ysabel by Kay, and I was sadly disappointed. I found it to be the weakest book that he has written, and I have read all of them.
The slight tie to Fionavar Tapestry is very slight, so it can't count as a sequel, which is probably a good thing.
I found his use of the lead character as a teenager quite, well, juvenile. I liked the fantastic themes he touches on (I won't go into them, as they are spoilers), but he does not explore them at all.
Again, considering the depth of his previous work, I found Ysabel lacking. My favourite of his to date was Tigana, which was just plain romantic (in the Lord Byron sense, not the Harlequin sense). Fionavar was fabulous. And his forays into historic fantasy are truly ground-breaking (Lions of Al-Rassan, the Sarantium books, and Last Light of the Sun). He is the master of the romantic/tragic fantasy.
Frankly, I'd wait for Ysabel in softcover.
The Wheel of Time is one of my favourite series. I do hope someone can be found to complete the series in the manner RJ would have done.
I have to disagree with Angus. I found Ysabel to be quite engaging, well written and liked his use of a teenager as the main character. The Fionavar Taperstry did not make much of an impact on me when I read it so I didn't make that connection until somneone pointed it out. I suppose what I liked best about the book was that I felt like I was there. This is, in my opinion, one of Kay's greatest strengths in his writing. Additionally, I did not predict the outcome.
My favorite Kay book is Lions of Al-Rassan.
Trys <-- who still hasn't read Tigana and never finished Song for Arbonne
After I posted last night, I realized I'd left something out. Kay did make me feel like I was driving around the South of France in a small Citroen. That was probably what kept me reading, because I did feel like I was there.
I didn't say that the book wasn't well-written, because it is. It just didn't seem as deep as his other work, which is what I expect of him.
Lions of Al-Rassan was an excellent book, and had him stepping more deeply into historical fantasy than the two that preceded it, Tigana and Song for Arbonne. (Sorry for the lack of italics. I can't quite seem to get the formatting thing to work). It is loosely based on the history of El-Andalus, the Muslim kingdom in Spain that collapsed in the eleventh century into civil war, the last sliver of which was finally conquered by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492.
Kay, since Fionavar, has minimized the fantastic elements, though they are definitely present. His main strength is inserting the reader into the place he is writing about, and his characterization is simply amazing. I love his prose as well.
I guess that's why I found Ysabel disappointing, in that the depth of story was not there for me, like it was in the rest of his books.
Ysabel is not as long as his other books. It's different for sure, ipods and other modern items get seriously emphasised early on and this I found "strange" initially but I susect he was making a point early on in the story that we are not in middle ages territory :-)
I have only read Ysabel once so far...but I was not disappointed. This and other works are discussed on www.brightweavings.com in more depth :-)
I think much was hinted at and intentionally left vague / blurred.
It seems Guy Kay was trying for something different. And why not? He seems to follow his own creative urges and not meet market demand for the same again and again.
Trys, You should read Tigana. It is excellent. If ever I lose my memory, Tigana is in my top 10 of books to reread :-)
Maybe I'll give Ysabel another try when my mind is more open, like, for instance, after I read Stormed Fortress!
Trys, Neil is right about Tigana. The book really makes you feel something.
One of these days I'll try Tigana. Unfortunately I've not as much reading time as I'd like and sometimes (ACK!!! I'm actually verbalizing this in public) there are times I'd rather sit and be marginally amused by the boob tube (TV to those who aren't familiar with the term).
That said, I'm currently reading two books. Firstly is Sherwood Smith's Inda. I'm liking it well enough at 119 pages of 564 total. I also am reading Julie Czernada's latest, Reap the Whirlwind but I'm not far enough into it to have a feeling for it beyond that the prose is the usual Czernada style... very good at evincing images in the mind.
You've just made my day, Trys, with one of those little language moments!
The term "boob tube" in Australia when I was growing up, referred to a strapless top worn by women that was generally quite brief - as it only covered, shall we say, the upper chest!