Exams are over, which means that real books can be read again. My last exam was on the 25th, and I started Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana the same evening. I had very high expectations for this book. It's been recommended on the livejournal FantasyWithBite community before, and Agata has been nagging me about reading it for months. Shikha read half of it before she left for Singapore, and she seemed pretty impressed as well.
Which is why I was a little let down when I read the prologue. All very pretty and moving, but it was just another attempt at 'high fantasy', and I couldn't see why they would make such a fuss over it. Then the real story started and things got a lot better.
Eight of the nine provinces of the Peninsula of the Palm have been conquered by two rival wizards locked in a power struggle for the ninth. One of them, Brandin of Ygrath, will not leave the peninsula as it was here that his son Stevan died, killed by prince Valentin of Tigana. Rage and grief caused Brandin to destroy Tigana, scattering its people and (worst of all) stripping the world of the memory of it.
Twenty years later a group of revolutionaries set out to destroy both tyrants and restore Tigana's name. Tigana is about revolution and war and pain and doing what's right and taking responsibility for the people who are hurt in the process. The characters can be judgemental, too sure of themselves, sometimes fanatical, but they're very real. There's no fluffiness, no absolute goodness, but people who have been affected and damaged by the events of the past. There are those who think they're safer and more free under the tyrants, there are those so embittered by years of exile that they'll curse their children.
...which makes this sound like any good fantasy book really. Perhaps. It has sone silly sex scenes as well as the typical *groan* fantasy names. But it is lovely and gripping and it allows for real grief. I stayed up late so I could finish it, and when I did I cried.
More reviews here. Highly recommended.