River of Stars

River of Stars

Book - 2013
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"Ren Daiyan was still just a boy when he took the lives of seven men while guarding an imperial magistrate of Kitai. That moment on a lonely road changed his life-- in entirely unexpected ways, sending him into the forests of Kitai among the outlaws. From there he emerges years later-- and his life changes again, dramatically, as he circles towards the court and emperor, while war approaches Kitai from the north. Lin Shan is the daughter of a scholar, his beloved only child. Educated by him in ways young women never are, gifted as a songwriter and calligrapher, she finds herself living a life suspended between two worlds. Her intelligence captivates an emperor-- and alienates women at the court. But when her father's life is endangered by the savage politics of the day, Shan must act in ways no woman ever has. In an empire divided by bitter factions circling an exquisitely cultured emperor who loves his gardens and his art far more than the burdens of governing, dramatic events on the northern steppe alter the balance of power in the world, leading to events no one could have foretold, under the river of stars" -- from publisher's web site.
Publisher: New York : Roc, c2013
Characteristics: 639 p. : maps ; 24 cm
ISBN: 9780451464972
Call Number: FICTION KAY


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Jan 27, 2018

This was my least favourite of Kay's novels so far, although it had its moments. There's a scarcity of female characters and the one female main character gets cast as a love interest, other characters and scenes appear then fade out instead of leading somewhere interesting, and the ending was unsatisfying. Normally in Kay's work I feel every scene matters, and if I'm introduced to a character or given information it's going to come together in the end. In this book it felt to me as though the characters and story got lost along the way.

Aug 05, 2015

I enjoyed River of Stars but the characters in Under Heaven were more compelling to me. That said, I recently reread it. Kay's later works are all well written.

Mar 09, 2015

This is a fabulous story from a fabulous writer. This is a book for people who love to be challenged when they read. It is an engrossing, complex story that swept me off my feet.

Jan 05, 2015

Absolutely loved this book!

Feb 08, 2014

Try this on audio. It's an amazing, complex and atmospheric story made even better by the narrator, Simon Vance.

Oct 27, 2013

Wow. Great read.

Aug 02, 2013

Another wonderful book about ancient China by Guy Gavriel Kay.The characters are so well fashioned it draws you right in. And then you learn a little history about China.

Jul 12, 2013

I wanted to like this more than I did. For whatever reason, it took me ages to finish, I kept reading other books in between, and then I got the characters' names all mixed up and never had a clear sense of who the characters were (or, to make things worse, where they were). I think GGK is an exceptional author and I have the sense that I've been cheated of the full experience, and don't know if it's my fault or his.

May 31, 2013

I am breathless. It is for books like this that I reserve 5 stars. This book works on many levels from literary fiction (character interaction and growth) to historical period gestalt (thinly disguised Song Empire China) to exciting historical fiction. The fantasy element is small, nonessential, but pleasing. The political intrigues are quite intricate and far sighted. Traditional political enemies sometimes respect each other more than their "allies". The best poets are revered and have political clout. Immerse yourself in this fascinating world that Kay has created.


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Jan 27, 2018

One would have to be in love or a poet to name her beautiful, but there seems to be something about the way she walks or stands, the way her gaze moves and then settles on objects or on people, that draws the attention of others back to her.

Jan 27, 2018

She wraps her robe around herself and goes out on the balcony, looking at the eastern sky. The last quarter moon is up, hanging in the branches of a tall tree in the courtyard, half hidden by leaves. It is very beautiful. She watches it so long it frees itself and climbs above the leaves among the stars.

Jan 27, 2018

He rode unfashionably well. He was in his early twenties, almost as tall as his father, though plump, round-faced. His nickname was Prince Jen, after a celebrated figure from the early days, though he wasn’t handsome or brilliant. A poet had written a verse about him a few years ago, making that association, and the poet was well know, the verse memorable. Such things can shape a reputation, quite apart from any link to truth. Writers have the power to do that.

Aug 19, 2013

We cannot know, being trapped in time, how events might have been altered if the dead had not died. We cannot know tomorrow, let alone a distant future. .....
We look back and we look ahead, but we live in the time we are allowed.


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