The very first book I read on a Kindle was Under Heaven. Since then, I’ve moved on to tablets for reading, but for reasons tedious and annoying, I was recently in a place where I could only read on a Kindle (or, well, paper, I guess, but I barely even own any paper books any more), and there’s some symmetry in my choosing to read Guy Gavriel Kay’s River of Stars, the sequel to that earlier book.

Or really, semi-sequel. It’s set in the same world, and the same part of the world, but it’s hundreds of years later and all the characters from the first book exist only in history. I actually love this sort of thing, because there’s something fascinating in seeing a world evolve over time, and seeing the great events of one story become the assumed background of another. In a way, that’s the attraction of real-world history, right?

But so, that does mean that I can’t describe the book’s plot in even the vaguest of terms without spoiling the first book, but I can reiterate that like the first book, it’s in a fantasized version of China (per Kay’s usual process in writing his historical fantasies); also like the first book, it has plenty of over-portentous narration; but that like the first book, I enjoyed it a great deal despite the flaws, and read it in two days flat, pretty much reading it in every spare moment.

If you read and liked Under Heaven, this is well worth reading (and I think probably slightly better); if you didn’t, I can’t imagine why you’d pick this up.


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