May he rule a thousand years

My review of Under Heaven is now available at GMR. For non-spoiler thoughts, feel free to read the review.

I do have some thoughts on the book that I left out because they were spoilerish, so I’ll put those here, but in order to read them you’ll have to highlight them with your mouse:

:: GGK so often writes about medievalish places wherein women have little real power given to them overtly, and thus must scramble to assume whatever power they can through other means. This theme is particularly evident in this novel.

:: Is Kitai in the same “world” as Esperana and Sarantium? I don’t think so. The book’s reference to the moon is singular, where GGK’s previous pseudo-Europes all have two moons.

:: I spent much of the book thinking that Tai would eventually give his horses to the Kanlin Warriors. I was wrong, obviously.

:: I love GGK’s elegiac endings, even when he’s written a happy ending (for the most part). The fact that Spring Rain’s letter never reaches Tai and the way the voices of the ghosts of Kuala Nor eventually face away set a perfect note of melancholy alongside Tai’s union with Wei Song.

:: Speaking of Tai’s union with Wei Song, this was as satisfying a finale in a GGK novel as I’ve ever read. I loved it.

:: GGK really managed to work up some tension by having Tai continually worrying over his sister’s fate, when we know that she’s already been rescued from that fate. Meshag’s dual nature (trapped between wolf and man) makes him one of the book’s most fascinating characters.

:: I really want to see more of this world, and I hope I am wrong about Kitai not being in the same world as GGK’s proto-Europe. I’d love to see GGK’s Marco Polo come to this world.

That’s all for now. What a great book this was.

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