The art on the cover catches your eye, and the book description on the back secures the deal in reading this novel. Short and simple, yet intriguing, the cover hints at just enough mystery and adventure to appeal to most readers.
Children of Earth and Sky, by Guy Gavriel Kay, is a fiction novel influenced by Italian renaissance history, as well as a bit of the Ottoman Empire, according to Kay. The Italian influence is obvious in most of the novel and creates a beautiful image in the reader’s head when imagining the scenery described in a few of the different cities described in the book. The story gets off to a slow start, but if the reader can get past part I, the action picks up along with a few very frustrating, yet interesting plot twists.
Many of the characters in the book were a bit too extreme or unrealistic. Villains pop up throughout the adventure, and are a bit too evil and unlikeable to be believable. Even one of the main characters, Marin, is a bit too hard to swallow, as he is a well like ladies man, and seems to be good at whatever he does.That being said, there were a handful of characters that were quite interesting to follow, as Kay did an excellent job setting up their past and making the reader feel connected to them.
“… people must pass through each other’s lives all the time, touch them, be touched by them. Leave something behind, at times, like a star that fell- you became a memory.”
The story bounces back and forth between all the characters, mostly told from a narrator’s point of view but occasionally from the thoughts of the character being followed at the time. Towards the end of the story the author starts to focus on the remainder of each character’s life, each with their own mini epilogue of events that follow after the end of this story, before jumping back in the past to a different character and finishing their story. This is a bit confusing, and might have been better off finishing the story collectively and writing an epilogue with what happened after.
The most exciting character in the book is an artist named Pero Villani. Most of the exciting scenes that occur in the book happen in his presence, and the central story line follows him on his adventure. There needed to be more of the ever mysterious and highly intelligent Lenora.
The jacket suggests that all the main characters come together for a joint cause, and for a large portion of the book, however this is untrue. The effect each of the characters had on each other stays with all of them the entire story, which makes it easy to relate to, as often the actions of others, big or small, ripple through our lives, altering the way we see things. There is a lot of inappropriate content for young readers, sexual content falling just short of graphic in nature, and offered very little to the story other than page fillers. With all of its up and downs this was an interesting story to read, but at the end the reader feels a bit wanting as the book did not live up to the excitement offered on the back of the book.