Review: Tigana

Tigana - Guy Gavriel Kay

Tigana is an epic fantasy story told within a single book. It’s full of political maneuvering and schemes, blind devotion to causes, touching friendships, and a bit of magic.


There was enough world-building in this one book to sustain a longer series, and I would have happily read more books featuring this world and these characters. The characters were where Tigana really shone for me. Several of them were very likeable, and I thought the friendships between them were especially well-written. There was a little bit of humor sprinkled throughout, mostly through interactions between the characters, and that helped lighten the mood of what was otherwise a relatively serious book. There was also some romance in the book, although only one was explored in any major detail throughout the book and that one had a major impact on the plot. Aside from that important one, the others felt too forced. It seemed like every female character who showed up in the book had to get paired off with somebody. I think their participation in the story would have been more meaningful without that.


The book did have its slow parts. There was a lot of world-building crammed into a single, 676-page book. It was interesting, and the depth it added is a large part of why I enjoyed the book so much, but small chunks of historical information were often inserted at a point when I was anxious to find out what was going on with various characters. When that happened, I often had to put the book down and come back to it later when my desire to get back to the characters had faded a little bit and I was more prepared to sit and focus on what the author wanted me to know next. I sometimes had a similar reaction when we switched from the characters I enjoyed reading about the most over to another character who was less interesting to me.


Although there weren’t a lot of point-of-view characters, there were definitely a lot of characters in the book who played small but important roles. I was very glad to be reading on my Kindle so I could quickly search for the original mention of various names that I knew looked familiar but couldn't place. Sometimes a character that had been briefly introduced a couple of hundred pages ago would suddenly crop back up in a different setting. It was nice to be able to clearly make the connections, although I’m sure I would have still enjoyed the story if I had just glossed over those occurrences. There were a lot of little intricacies with how everything tied together.


Things definitely weren’t cut-and-dry in this book. It wasn’t always easy to decide which outcome to root for, because I could see points on both sides of the main conflict and really I wasn’t sure that I agreed with either side. At one point early on in the book I decided there was no way things were going to end well for everybody and, without spoiling anything, the ending really was pretty bittersweet. Everything was pretty well answered and tied up by the end, but it was tied up very loosely in that we don’t know exactly what’s in store for the characters beyond the end of the book. I would have enjoyed a little more closure. Or, better yet, a sequel. There was one thing that happened at the very end of the epilogue that exasperated me. If the author had for some very odd reason been strolling past my couch at that moment, I likely would have thrown my Kindle directly at his head.


Despite a few complaints here and there, I did really enjoy this one and I definitely plan to try more books by the author in the future.