Hot Best Seller

All the Seas of the World

Availability: Ready to download

Returning triumphantly to the brilliantly evoked near-Renaissance world of A Brightness Long Ago and Children of Earth and Sky, international bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay deploys his signature ‘quarter turn to the fantastic’ to tell a story of vengeance, power, and love. On a dark night along a lonely stretch of coast a small ship sends two people ashore. Their purpos Returning triumphantly to the brilliantly evoked near-Renaissance world of A Brightness Long Ago and Children of Earth and Sky, international bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay deploys his signature ‘quarter turn to the fantastic’ to tell a story of vengeance, power, and love. On a dark night along a lonely stretch of coast a small ship sends two people ashore. Their purpose is assassination. They have been hired by two of the most dangerous men alive to alter the balance of power in the world. If they succeed, the consequences will affect the destinies of empires, and lives both great and small. One of those arriving at that beach is a woman abducted by corsairs as a child and sold into years of servitude. Having escaped, she is trying to chart her own course — and is bent upon revenge. Another is a seafaring merchant who still remembers being exiled as a child with his family from their home, for their faith, a moment that never leaves him. In what follows, through a story both intimate and epic, unforgettable characters are immersed in the fierce and deadly struggles that define their time. All the Seas of the World is a page-turning drama that also offers moving reflections on memory, fate, and the random events that can shape our lives — in the past, and today.


Compare

Returning triumphantly to the brilliantly evoked near-Renaissance world of A Brightness Long Ago and Children of Earth and Sky, international bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay deploys his signature ‘quarter turn to the fantastic’ to tell a story of vengeance, power, and love. On a dark night along a lonely stretch of coast a small ship sends two people ashore. Their purpos Returning triumphantly to the brilliantly evoked near-Renaissance world of A Brightness Long Ago and Children of Earth and Sky, international bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay deploys his signature ‘quarter turn to the fantastic’ to tell a story of vengeance, power, and love. On a dark night along a lonely stretch of coast a small ship sends two people ashore. Their purpose is assassination. They have been hired by two of the most dangerous men alive to alter the balance of power in the world. If they succeed, the consequences will affect the destinies of empires, and lives both great and small. One of those arriving at that beach is a woman abducted by corsairs as a child and sold into years of servitude. Having escaped, she is trying to chart her own course — and is bent upon revenge. Another is a seafaring merchant who still remembers being exiled as a child with his family from their home, for their faith, a moment that never leaves him. In what follows, through a story both intimate and epic, unforgettable characters are immersed in the fierce and deadly struggles that define their time. All the Seas of the World is a page-turning drama that also offers moving reflections on memory, fate, and the random events that can shape our lives — in the past, and today.

30 review for All the Seas of the World

  1. 4 out of 5

    MarilynW

    All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay The vastness of this world and it's history overwhelmed me. I now realize that there were two book before this one and I know I would have been more immersed in this world and the characters if I had read the first two books. I did like some of these characters a lot, especially Rafel and his partner Nadia/Lenia, and I am happy with their progression through the story. There were other characters I liked and many I despised and I appreciate when certai All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay The vastness of this world and it's history overwhelmed me. I now realize that there were two book before this one and I know I would have been more immersed in this world and the characters if I had read the first two books. I did like some of these characters a lot, especially Rafel and his partner Nadia/Lenia, and I am happy with their progression through the story. There were other characters I liked and many I despised and I appreciate when certain characters get their just desserts. Another character I liked was Danio Cerra and it seems that the first book in this trilogy would tell me more about him. That's one of the reasons I think I would have benefited from reading the first two books before I read this one. For as much world building, description, and information that we get in this book, I always felt like I was missing something, that I should know more. I was overwhelmed by too much yet thinking I didn't have enough from the story. I suggest reading the first two books in this trilogy, before you read this one, to get the full story. For all that we go through, as we read the story, and for all the characters go through, I really liked the ending of this story. That is the kind of thing I wanted more of, the characters, without being overwhelmed by the world. Published May 17th 2022 Thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for this ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

    If you have not read Children of Earth and Sky or A Brightness Long Ago, I’d recommend reading at least one of those before starting All the Seas of the World. I read A Brightness Long Ago a few years ago but forgot most of it, so I was a bit lost at the beginning of this book. This latest publication focuses on some characters and events from those previous books. It is three years after the events of A Brightness Long Ago, and two powerful brothers have hired Nadia and Rafel to assassinate a kh If you have not read Children of Earth and Sky or A Brightness Long Ago, I’d recommend reading at least one of those before starting All the Seas of the World. I read A Brightness Long Ago a few years ago but forgot most of it, so I was a bit lost at the beginning of this book. This latest publication focuses on some characters and events from those previous books. It is three years after the events of A Brightness Long Ago, and two powerful brothers have hired Nadia and Rafel to assassinate a khalif in a bid for power. Though Nadia and Rafel’s mission is successful, an unexpected turn of events completely changes these two merchants’ lives in ways they never dreamed. The rest of the narrative follows these characters and several others in this richly detailed historical fantasy. There are many religious and geo-political factors that these characters must navigate. It takes place in something close to Renaissance Italy. But it leans more toward historical fiction than it does as fantasy. The fantasy element is more of a whisper than anything else. This book held my attention in stops and starts. There is a ton of info-dumping at the beginning that outlines the different religious groups and why they are at odds with each other. I found the pages in between the beginning and the end were the most compelling. The last 100 pages dragged quite a bit. There are themes of exile, religion, identity, and memories. The writing style is beautiful and elegant, but it is quite dense and requires a lot of focus. The POVs change abruptly, almost exclusively in the middle of a chapter. I would absolutely recommend reading a Guy Gavriel Kay book, but maybe not this one until you’ve read the ones mentioned above. Thank you to Viking for providing me with an arc via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. https://booksandwheels.com

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Eames

    Oh boy, I loved this one. Granted, the chance of me disliking a Guy Gavriel Book is about the same as me disliking a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, which is to say: zero. But I IESPECIALLY loved this book for two reasons (aside from the fact that the prose is god-tier and so far beyond what any other human being has, is, or may ever accomplish). The first is that it features characters from Kay's previous two books, which makes it feel like the oh-so-satisfying conclusion to a trilogy you Oh boy, I loved this one. Granted, the chance of me disliking a Guy Gavriel Book is about the same as me disliking a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, which is to say: zero. But I IESPECIALLY loved this book for two reasons (aside from the fact that the prose is god-tier and so far beyond what any other human being has, is, or may ever accomplish). The first is that it features characters from Kay's previous two books, which makes it feel like the oh-so-satisfying conclusion to a trilogy you didn't even know was a trilogy. It makes the events of those books even more poignant and relevant within this not-quite-earth he's been constructing since The Lions of Al-Rassan. And saying that, what I also adore about this book is that it feels like a victory lap, or a farewell tour (though hopefully not), of all his Mediterranean settings, with my personal favourite, the Sarantine Mosiac, serving as the bedrock of it all. When a character laments the lost glory of Sarantium, we who have read that duology feel this loss so acutely because of how beautiful (and truly glorious) those books were. Anyway, as I've said before and will doubtless say in the future: Guy Gavriel Kay has crafted a masterpiece, yet again.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    One line baby feeding review (ok this one gets two fav authors are exceptions) I thought he was phoning this one in for awhile, to be honest and I was still kind of okay with it because we’re back in the world of Lions/Sarantium/Brightness/Earth&Sky with lots of rewards for longtime readers of his tapestry- but I changed my mind by the end of this second in a row medium stakes story that I liked better than anything he’s done in nearly 20 years (last one that transported me completely was Lord o One line baby feeding review (ok this one gets two fav authors are exceptions) I thought he was phoning this one in for awhile, to be honest and I was still kind of okay with it because we’re back in the world of Lions/Sarantium/Brightness/Earth&Sky with lots of rewards for longtime readers of his tapestry- but I changed my mind by the end of this second in a row medium stakes story that I liked better than anything he’s done in nearly 20 years (last one that transported me completely was Lord of Emperors). Ok another line- The end saved it and finally reached towards that bard thing he’s been trying to achieve all along- a much wiser, more controlled and interesting one than when he tried it at first with Fionavar still enamored with Great Man Theory- this is a better story and despite a couple of REALLY clunky lines as he gets going and scattered throughout shows off his craft in a helpful way I think he’s been trying to reach for over the last few books. ****New GGK alert! New GGK alert! This is not a drill!: https://twitter.com/guygavrielkay/sta... PS I love that he made this announcement on Twitter and I came here like an hour later and it was already up on goodreads. I love us, GGK fans. Never change!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Wanda Pedersen

    A book over 500 pages can be either a burden or a joy. This one was a joy to me, consumed over two days, but I will savour it for some time to come. It is set in the same world as Kay's previous novel, Children of Earth and Sky. Knowledge of that novel may enhance your appreciation for this work, but isn't necessary to enjoy it. I've said it before and I will say it again—Guy Gavriel Kay writes female characters with tremendous skill. He writes women as fully realized as his male characters, reco A book over 500 pages can be either a burden or a joy. This one was a joy to me, consumed over two days, but I will savour it for some time to come. It is set in the same world as Kay's previous novel, Children of Earth and Sky. Knowledge of that novel may enhance your appreciation for this work, but isn't necessary to enjoy it. I've said it before and I will say it again—Guy Gavriel Kay writes female characters with tremendous skill. He writes women as fully realized as his male characters, recognizing the same desires and motivations behind behaviour, but knowing the threats that women face that most men don't. Lenia embodies this, having been taken as a slave as a very young woman. If she finds her family after all these years, will they be glad to see her or horrified because she is now “damaged goods"? He also includes his version of the Jewish people (the Kindath), known for their business skills but generally distrusted. Nevertheless, Kay treats them with sympathy. Like any of the nationalities and religions included in the book, there are good and bad people in all the divisions. As it is in our world. And really, I wouldn't have thought that I would be cheering for the two assassins who I met in the initial pages. Yet here I am, sorry that this volume is finished and I won't be able to follow them further. The use of alternative history enables Kay to examine issues without the need to accurately represent the historical record. He can invent his own powers and potentialities, his own battles and historical events. Plus, he can add little fantastical elements, white stags among them. If you have enjoyed Kay's earlier works, you can rest assured that you will feel the same about this one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lila

    Big thank you to the publisher Hodder & Stoughton for providing me a free book in exchange for an honest review! Kay did it again! Anyone who has been following me on any platform or knows me in real life knows that Guy Gavriel Kay is my absolute favourite author. I have read each and every one of his books and even own most of them. I could re-read his books over and over again and always find something new that will amaze me. I absolutely love Kay's writing style! I love that it doesn't feel l Big thank you to the publisher Hodder & Stoughton for providing me a free book in exchange for an honest review! Kay did it again! Anyone who has been following me on any platform or knows me in real life knows that Guy Gavriel Kay is my absolute favourite author. I have read each and every one of his books and even own most of them. I could re-read his books over and over again and always find something new that will amaze me. I absolutely love Kay's writing style! I love that it doesn't feel like any particular main character in his stories and he manages to splendidly interweave different stories and plots, all the while keeping us asking for more. Each and every story has at least one strong female character, and it is always a different kind of strength to show us that there is no one right way for a woman to be strong. Kay's works cannot be categorized into one single genre and that is another thing I love about him. He basically takes a part of history but makes it his own and makes it fantastical. A story full of adventure, intrigue and different people working together toward a common goal sprinkled with a bit of magic and love. Everything anyone could ask for in a book. Honestly, I wish I could read it again for the first time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jake Bishop

    I received the eARC for All THe Sea's of the World in exchange for an honest review. I want to preface this review with the knowledge that you should take it with a massive grain of salt. As I feel I missed a lot from not having read A Brightness Long Ago, and Children of Earth and Sky before reading this book. From reading the back of those books and the dramatis personae I already feel I missed a lot. Like if I read The Age of Madness trilogy before the other First Law works. I am not going to I received the eARC for All THe Sea's of the World in exchange for an honest review. I want to preface this review with the knowledge that you should take it with a massive grain of salt. As I feel I missed a lot from not having read A Brightness Long Ago, and Children of Earth and Sky before reading this book. From reading the back of those books and the dramatis personae I already feel I missed a lot. Like if I read The Age of Madness trilogy before the other First Law works. I am not going to try and speculate what my score would be had I read those, I will only say this is a review of how enjoyment having read this after The Lions of Al-Rassan and The Sarantine Mosaic(which both boosted my enjoyment) but not Children of Earth and Sky and A Brightness Long Ago, which feel way more connected. Additionally I feel reading this first spoiled large scale and personal narratives from Children of Earth and Sky, and A Brightness Long Ago. Basically I would highly recommend learning from my mistakes and not reading this unless you have read The Lions of Al-Rassan, The Sarantine Mosaic, Children of Earth and Sky, and a Brightness Long Ago. Ok, now the actual review. It was good, but disappointing. Maybe it won't be disappointing in the future when I reread it having read all the stuff before it. Let's start with all the stuff it does well GGK has said he strives to write thought provoking, character driven books that also keep you turning the pages. He did the first half well. This was character driven and thematically interesting. This book tackles themes in a really interesting way, like GGK almost always does. To me my favorite was how it showed the impact on bystanders. He does a really good job at making us not forget the effect of the actions of the people we know about, on the people we neither know nor care about. He actually does something that is really cool, where as a character goes of stage from this story we will get narration about how their life continued, and we get to see how little things effect big things in their life, and how bigger events can effect the little people, who of course are the big people in their own story. It does another really cool thing for this, that I mention later but am not going to spoil. It covers other themes as well of course, but this was the stand out for me in this book. The other main one would be people who have had defining aspects of early parts of their life, trying to move on and escape that shadow. More positives, I think the way this stories kicks off is legitimately fantastic. It was tense, it introduced the characters, it introduced the world, the writing was fantastic. I was extremely optimistic. It starts with an assassination, multiple people working together, adjustments on the fly, and various things going wrong, and right, in expected and unexpected ways. Additionally I do really enjoy the main two characters of this book. Not among my favorite GGK characters, but they are compelling. There are, as there always are, some fantastic quiet moments , especially in the first half. Some great emotional payoffs, and a part where we got a scene, and then that scene was reframed, and something that first seemed unimportant became shocking. The prose is of course, very good compared to 99% of authors. In this case it did feel slightly less inspired to me. Some internal monologues felt repetitive. Still very good, but felt weaker than what I am used to. Also the banter and dialogue simply didn't feel as inspired as it was in some of his previous GGK works. Again, still good, but to me felt less good than the insane standard he has set. So, plenty of good, enough that this still obviously and easily gets a positive rating. But there is going to be more stuff in the cons than usual for my GGK reviews. The first main one is just....the lack of narrative thrust and conflict for a large section of this book. There is just not that much conflict except for mini subplots for quite a decent stretch of this book. Things at times just went too well to be compelling. It didn't have the bittersweet or even tragic personal narratives I have come to expect from GGK, and a lot of my favorite authors. It lacked emotional weight. Continuing on that, the climax, again lacked emotional weight. It was kinda just like, Ok that was interesting I guess. Easily the weakest final act in my opinion of any GGK book I have read, including Fionavar. Probably even weaker than the climax of Sailing to Sarantium, which is barely a climax, as that book just kinda ends, since it is basically the first half of a book, that got split because The Sarantine Mosaic would be a super long stand alone Last of all, and this one is almost certainly my fault, for not reading Brightness Long Ago, or CoEaS.(but also kinda GGK's fault for advertising this as a stand alone, and saying people can start his work anywhere) and that is that after every other historical GGK book I get the impression that every side character could have been the protagonist, and was the protagonist of there story, which just happens to not be the story of the one being told. I always feel I understand the entire cast of characters. I did not get that here. The side cast felt weak by comparison, and supporting characters blurred together. Definitely there were some compelling supporting characters, but this book felt like it had a shallower lineup once you get passed the main group. So basically that's it. A book that was the weakness of the insanely high bar this man has set, and one I do need to reread after I read the books that now in hindsight feel like prerequisites. If you have not read GGK, and are thinking of starting here, I highly recommend you don't. It's still good though This hurts me to say, but I have to be honest. 7.5/10

  8. 4 out of 5

    Adam Whitehead

    Five years after the fall of Sarantium, the Jaddite world continues to argue over their inability to unite and retake the great city. However, an assassination in a coastal city of the Majriti, far to the west, sets in train a series of momentous events. At their heart is a Kindath trader and a young woman who was once abducted by corsairs. Surviving to adulthood, she has vowed vengeance on those who wronged her. The arrival of a new Guy Gavriel Kay novel is an event to be celebrated. Every three Five years after the fall of Sarantium, the Jaddite world continues to argue over their inability to unite and retake the great city. However, an assassination in a coastal city of the Majriti, far to the west, sets in train a series of momentous events. At their heart is a Kindath trader and a young woman who was once abducted by corsairs. Surviving to adulthood, she has vowed vengeance on those who wronged her. The arrival of a new Guy Gavriel Kay novel is an event to be celebrated. Every three years or so, a new Kay novel arrives. Established readers will have a sense of what to find: an erudite work of fantasy with beautiful, thoughtful prose. But the story and the historical parallels Kay delights in finding are always a surprise. All the Seas of the Worlds can easily be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, although it is also the third (and possibly concluding) book in a linked thematic trilogy, continuing from 2016's Children of Earth and Sky and 2019's A Brightness Long Ago (All the Seas of the World is set several years after A Brightness Long Ago and maybe twenty years before Children of Earth and Sky). All three books are also set in a larger world, also the setting for his classic 1995 novel The Lions of Al-Rassan, the Sarantine Mosaic duology (Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors) and his 2004 novel The Last Light of the Sun. Familiarity with Kay's work can enhance enjoyment of this novel, as you'll know who Folci d'Arcosi is and how he became so renowned, but the narrative is completely self-contained as it stands. The historical analogues between the novel and real history are slighter this time (the 1535 conquest of Tunis may be one influence) and the focus is on two major protagonists. Rafel ben Natan is a Kindath corsair and merchant with a complicated family background. His friend and ally Lenia is a former slave of Asharite corsairs who is filled with anger towards her captors and a need for vengeance. However, as the novel continues, Lenia's experiences give her something more to live for than just the need for blood. Similarly, the political-religious situation with the Holy Patriarch of Rhodias angrily demanding vengeance for the fall of Sarantium slow changes to a more nuanced political situation with a politically canny substitute for that vengeance making itself known. Characterisation is Kay's greatest achievement, panting his characters as flawed but relatable colours and having them overcoming external challenges and their own doubts and insecurities in order to prosper. All the Seas of the World is both a deeply personal novel, closely focused on two major protagonists and a number of minor ones (some recurring from A Brightness Long Ago, or precurring before Children of Earth and Sky), and also a hugely epic one. It may be the most epic novel Kay has written, spanning all the lands of the Middle Sea. Esperana - former Al-Rassan - makes its most significant showing in a Kay novel since The Lions of Al-Rassan itself, and we spend time with the King of Ferrieres, the rulers of multiple Majriti and Batiaran city-states, the exile ruler of Trakesia and even, briefly, the conqueror of Sarantium himself. Kay shows an adept facility for Game of Thrones-style realpolitik and a solid affinity for battles, but these are not the primary focus of his novels. Instead, he uses epic events to impact on the lives of ordinary people, or uses ordinary people to set in motion unexpected, epic events that reflect back on his characters. It is not hyperbole to say that Kay has a claim to being one of our greatest living fantasy writers, if not the greatest - an opinion shared by the likes of George R.R. Martin and Brandon Sanderson - and All the Seas of the World (*****) is one of his very strongest books. Characterisation, narrative and prose all work in near-perfect concert to deliver a formidable work of art, with a more prominent depiction of politics and warfare than some of his other works have delivered. The novel will be released on 17 May in both the UK and USA.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Liviu

    All the Seas in the World is the third of a set of related novels set in an alternate Mediterranean world of 1450-1500 and following related characters and stories, though each of the three novels to date (Children of the Earth and Sky, A Brightness Long Ago and All the Seas in the World) has different main characters, and can be read independently. Here we mostly follow Lenia Serrano (the lost sister of the horse racing character from a Brightness Long Ago) who escaped slavery and is burning for All the Seas in the World is the third of a set of related novels set in an alternate Mediterranean world of 1450-1500 and following related characters and stories, though each of the three novels to date (Children of the Earth and Sky, A Brightness Long Ago and All the Seas in the World) has different main characters, and can be read independently. Here we mostly follow Lenia Serrano (the lost sister of the horse racing character from a Brightness Long Ago) who escaped slavery and is burning for vengeance against her captors, while fearing to return home to Batiara as men who escape slavery are heroes, but for women, it's quite a different tale... Partnering with ship captain and occasional corsair and diplomat, Rafel ben Natan, whose family fled from Esperrana across the sea when the great persecutions against the Kindath started decades ago and who took a chance on Lenia (known as Nadia, her slave name at the time) who was good with weapons and numbers as taught by her master (an older respected judge who while generally kind thought nothing about using her physically without any consideration for her wishes as Nadia was a slave after all), Lenia soon became a true partner of Rafel in all things maritime, though neither really knows about the other's family and related troubles as Rafel is responsible both for his elderly parents and his sister-in-law and her two children as his brother has absconded some years before Fate sends them on a path intersecting with various important people, the feared pirate brothers ibn Tihon, the general Folco d'Acorsi, the Sardis (both the "pope" and his cousin Antenami and Antenami's powerful father Piero), and the duke of Seressa and his main advisor Guidanio, all of course known to us from A Brightness Long Ago. With many larger than life characters (including the king of Ferrieres, an Asharite envoy of Gurcu the conqueror of Sarrantium, the Kindath "queen" - the richest woman in the Middle Sea basin who is trying to find a safe haven for her people), and the usual musings about fate, fortune and all, characteristic of the author's books, All the Seas in the World is a true page-turner that is hard to put down and achieves the best balance between narration, action, and musings of all the GG Kay's books since the Lion of Al Rassan(which is actually mentioned here) Highly recommended

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    I have just read All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay This is the first book that I have read by this popular Canadian Author. Author Guy Gavriel Kay specializes in Fantasy/Historical Fiction. This book is well written, but not really my favourite venue in a book, and I do believe that I would have enjoyed it more if I had read some of his previous books. The story begins with an assignation after a merchant ship arrives on shore on a coastline. There is a great deal of detail with the charac I have just read All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay This is the first book that I have read by this popular Canadian Author. Author Guy Gavriel Kay specializes in Fantasy/Historical Fiction. This book is well written, but not really my favourite venue in a book, and I do believe that I would have enjoyed it more if I had read some of his previous books. The story begins with an assignation after a merchant ship arrives on shore on a coastline. There is a great deal of detail with the characters, and the story. I would highly recommend this book to readers looking for a great Fantasy story. Thank you to NetGalley, the Author and Penguin Random House Canada, for my advanced copy to read and review. 3.5 Stars #AlltheSeasoftheWorld #NetGalley

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    A return to Kay's World of Two Moons, set a few years after the events of A Brightness Long Ago. (And while it's not a direct sequel or part of a formal trilogy or anything like that, I'd highly recommend reading Children of Earth and Sky and A Brightness Long Ago before reading this book, both because there are shared characters and some events will take on additional resonance, and because those two books are both wonderful in their own right.) The main characters this time around are Rafel ben A return to Kay's World of Two Moons, set a few years after the events of A Brightness Long Ago. (And while it's not a direct sequel or part of a formal trilogy or anything like that, I'd highly recommend reading Children of Earth and Sky and A Brightness Long Ago before reading this book, both because there are shared characters and some events will take on additional resonance, and because those two books are both wonderful in their own right.) The main characters this time around are Rafel ben Natan and Nadia bint Dhiyan, co-owners of the ship Silver Wake, sometimes a merchant vessel, sometimes engaging in ... less reputable business practices. As the story begins, they've been sent by their principals to the city of Abeneven on a most ... delicate mission, and just within the first few pages there are assassinations and thefts and all manner of skullduggery; and these events, of course, will ripple outward into the wider world with great repercussions for everybody involved, from the highest to the lowest. Another achingly beautiful and true book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    kim

    DNF @ ~21% Thank you, Netgalley, for the ARC! I want to preface by saying this book has loads and loads of amazing reviews with high praise. Take my opinion with that in consideration. This review is a very clear case of "it's not you, it's me." Here’s the thing. I don’t do well with historical or fantasy books, but there’s often certain ones that steal my attention and keep it forever. And for this one, I was intrigued by the vengeance and assassination plot. Right from the start, I was taken away DNF @ ~21% Thank you, Netgalley, for the ARC! I want to preface by saying this book has loads and loads of amazing reviews with high praise. Take my opinion with that in consideration. This review is a very clear case of "it's not you, it's me." Here’s the thing. I don’t do well with historical or fantasy books, but there’s often certain ones that steal my attention and keep it forever. And for this one, I was intrigued by the vengeance and assassination plot. Right from the start, I was taken away by the beautiful writing. Everything felt so poetic and whimsical. Although at times it felt too technical and flowery for my simple mind. It felt like a classic that bored me in high school. I wanted to get over the world-building aspects and just meet the characters and the plot. I got to the point where I wasn’t retaining any information.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Patrick St-Denis

    I've been foaming at the mouth ever since Guy Gavriel Kay announced the release of his upcoming novel, All the Seas of the World. Every two or three years, this Canadian speculative fiction author comes up with a new book that never fails to enthrall me. With such memorable titles as Tigana, The Lions of al-Rassan, Under Heaven, River of Stars, Sailing to Sarantium, and Lord of Emperors, Kay has set the bar rather high throughout his career. And if Children of Earth and Sky and A Brightness Long I've been foaming at the mouth ever since Guy Gavriel Kay announced the release of his upcoming novel, All the Seas of the World. Every two or three years, this Canadian speculative fiction author comes up with a new book that never fails to enthrall me. With such memorable titles as Tigana, The Lions of al-Rassan, Under Heaven, River of Stars, Sailing to Sarantium, and Lord of Emperors, Kay has set the bar rather high throughout his career. And if Children of Earth and Sky and A Brightness Long Ago are any indication, it appears that like a fine wine, Kay only gets better with time. Simply put, All the Seas of the World showcases a master of the craft writing at the top of his game. This is one of those novels you wish just never ended. Alas, it does and now we have to wait a while for whatever comes next. Some reviews claim that Kay's latest can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone work. While technically true, I would tend to disagree. Reading both Children of Earth and Sky and A Brightness Long Ago are somewhat essential for getting the most out of reading All the Seas of the World. The three works form a thematic trilogy of sorts and I feel that they should all be read in their order of publication. Moreover, I would say that The Lions of Al-Rassan and the Sarantine Mosaic duology should also be read prior to tackling Kay's newest. To jump into this book as a complete newbie would make you miss too many nuances and your overall reading experience wouldn't be the same. That shouldn't deter you, though. Believe you me: More Guy Gavriel Kay novels to read just means more hours of captivating reading that will fill your mind with wonders! Here's the blurb: Returning triumphantly to the brilliantly evoked near-Renaissance world of A Brightness Long Ago and Children of Earth and Sky, international bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay deploys his signature ‘quarter turn to the fantastic’ to tell a story of vengeance, power, and love. On a dark night along a lonely stretch of coast a small ship sends two people ashore. Their purpose is assassination. They have been hired by two of the most dangerous men alive to alter the balance of power in the world. If they succeed, the consequences will affect the destinies of empires, and lives both great and small. One of those arriving at that beach is a woman abducted by corsairs as a child and sold into years of servitude. Having escaped, she is trying to chart her own course—and is bent upon revenge. Another is a seafaring merchant who still remembers being exiled as a child with his family from their home, for their faith, a moment that never leaves him. In what follows, through a story both intimate and epic, unforgettable characters are immersed in the fierce and deadly struggles that define their time. All the Seas of the World is a page-turning drama that also offers moving reflections on memory, fate, and the random events that can shape our lives—in the past, and today. All the Seas of the World is set a number of years following A Brightness Long Ago and around two decades or so prior to Children of Earth and Sky. Richly detailed as only a Kay book can be, his latest work will engross you from the very beginning. Guy Gavriel Kay has a knack for coming up with an amazingly evocative narrative and an arresting imagery that leaps off the page. Exile, loss, faith, identity, and love are just a few of the themes explored throughout this novel. Building on storylines and characters from two other books sharing the same setting, All the Seas of the World manages to surpass them both in terms of quality. Which is high praise indeed given that both were unforgettable reads. I've said it in previous reviews. Kay's talent and imagination allow him to create a living and breathing environment that draws you in and refuses to let go. I don't know how he manages to do it, but Kay's worldbuilding is almost always a subtle thing. The setting never takes precedence over the story and he never relies on info-dumps and other such contrivances. Still, somehow, seemingly effortlessly, as the tale progresses Kay ends up with an elegantly crafted setting that never fails to dazzle the eye. Few authors can immerse readers in such a vivid manner, and Kay's eye for historical details and traditions imbues his latest book with a realism that is seldom seen in works of speculative fiction. All the Seas of the World is a more sprawling novel than its two predecessors. It's a big, meandering sort of book. Not as self-contained as what Kay has accustomed us to in the past. Vaster in scope, nearly all the kingdoms and locales of the Middle Sea are visited or play a role in this story. Around the time when Children of Earth and Sky was about to be published, Kay told me that as much as anything, he wanted that novel to be about non-powerful (not same as ordinary) people on borderlands in a time of war, trying to shape their lives (very differently) in difficult times. They intersect, some of them, with power, but that isn't the heart of the story. It was also important for Kay to balance the five of them, not let one character take over the book. Add to that his usual desire to also balance awareness of history and themes against characters, narrative drive, etc, and you ended up with a complex and satisfying plot on your hands. For the most part, the same could be said of A Brightness Long Ago. The difference was that the protagonists were "less important" people in the greater scheme of things who get caught in the periphery of influential men and women whose actions will cause world-shaking ripples that will change the world as they know it. Once more, it appears that Kay used the same recipe for All the Seas of the World. Taking center stage in this one are two main protagonists. One is Rafel ben Natan, a Kindath merchant and sometimes corsair with various identities due to his faith. The other is Lenia, a young woman who was abducted by Asharite corsairs as a child and turned into a slave. Now that she has escaped, Lenia has vowed vengeance upon those who wronged her. Guy Gavriel Kay has always possessed a deft human touch and his past novels are filled with memorable characters. And once again, it's the superb characterization which makes this book impossible to put down. As is usually his wont, the author came up with a group of disparate men and women, whose paths will cross unexpectedly and whose fates will be spun into a vast tapestry of love and tragedy. The supporting cast is particularly good, chief among them Folco d'Acorsi and Raina Vidal. Though the pace can be slow-moving at times, All the Seas of the World is never dull. Though meandering in terms of plot, with Kay's lyrical prose the narrative is a joy to read from start to finish. I for one wouldn't mind if the author revisits the lands of the Middle Sea for an encore. Or several encores! This book deserves the highest possible recommendation. For more reviews, check out www.fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bob/Sally

    Guy Gavriel Kay has always had a style of his own, but I believe this make be the 'folksiest' telling yet. That's not a bad thing, it's just a notable one. There's very much a sense of a storyteller behind the novel, a kindly figure who is relating the events the story. Once in a while he lifts his head from the story to tell us what *will* happen to a secondary character over the course of their long life, and more often he nods and winks, teasing us with the likes "if only." In many ways, this Guy Gavriel Kay has always had a style of his own, but I believe this make be the 'folksiest' telling yet. That's not a bad thing, it's just a notable one. There's very much a sense of a storyteller behind the novel, a kindly figure who is relating the events the story. Once in a while he lifts his head from the story to tell us what *will* happen to a secondary character over the course of their long life, and more often he nods and winks, teasing us with the likes "if only." In many ways, this is a story about those secondary characters, about the chance encounters upon which the fates of nations can turn, and that's the second most fascinating part of it. As always, this is a heavily character driven novel, focused primarily on Rafel and Lenia, partners in business and the business of killing. They're both deeply wounded souls, cut off from not just their families but their very cultures, making them deeply sympathetic. The story meanders from the main narrative in several key places to follow their pursuit of family, and it's those side stories that I felt were the most fascinating part of the story. Empires and tyrants may rise and fall, but it's families that break, hearts that heal, and passions that intersect that give this such life. GGK continues his theme of highlighting slave/prostitute/concubine characters, something that I know grates on some readers, but I felt was handled better here than in previous books, and he takes some interesting steps forward with his LGBTQIA representation, giving us POV characters that don't immediately die because they're gay. In fact, there's a lesbian relationship flirted with in the first half, and it's quiet resolution is both the most beautiful and most sad paragraph in the book. For those keeping track, there are several references to events in The Lions of Al-Rassan (a favorite of mine) and the two-part The Sarantine Mosaic (not a favorite of mine), in addition to this being a continuation of Children of Earth and Sky and A Brightness Long Ago. You don't need to have read them to enjoy it, but you will appreciate it far more for having done so.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    I received this book as an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. All the Seas of the World is an immersive, complex, and realism-based fantasy with interesting characters and a sprawling plot that serves to show how all decisions, even minor ones, have impacts we can’t predict. I had no idea going into this novel that it takes place in an already developed world from two other novels, and while I don’t think this was detrimental to my understanding of the story, it did feel like so I received this book as an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. All the Seas of the World is an immersive, complex, and realism-based fantasy with interesting characters and a sprawling plot that serves to show how all decisions, even minor ones, have impacts we can’t predict. I had no idea going into this novel that it takes place in an already developed world from two other novels, and while I don’t think this was detrimental to my understanding of the story, it did feel like some exposition was lacking. For example, because the blurb I read on NetGalley didn’t say it was set during an approximation of the Renaissance, I wasn’t sure what the time period was supposed to be based on. This wouldn’t have mattered at all, until later on in the novel when guns and cannon show up and I was like … wait … guns? Cannon? What type of guns? Why are there guns? No one used one before … Likewise, while by the end I really enjoyed the novel and there were many times when I had trouble putting it down, it took a little bit for me to get into it. The reason was that the novel has two particular stylistic choices that take some adjusting to. The first is that the book serves to give up a lot of its backstory in rather long info-dumps, and the second is that it invokes this “two-sentence wrap up of the result of a scene” before actually describing what happened in the scene. I eventually realized both of these were due to the narrative style but I found the latter ruined some of the tension for me. Don’t get me wrong, the novel is so rich in detail, packed with fascinating and fun characters, and has beautiful prose. I would argue it’s almost a literary fiction because the novel definitely uses a stream-of-conscious style, in that the point of view will shift to another person and pretty much tell their life story before jumping back into the main storyline again. I think it’s just hard to get into it at first because I wasn’t expecting it and I hadn’t read the other books this world was based on so it was adjusting to both the depth of the worldbuilding and the prose. While there are action scenes in the novel, it’s definitely not a “sword and sorcery” fantasy, but one that uses the backdrop of fantasy to delve into themes of revenge, self-identity, home, and purpose. It's deep and complex and enchanting. I liked the characters. Nadia is tough, guarded, aloof, and determined, but her tragic backstory shapes a lot of her personality and it’s great to see her grow and learn how to deal with her past. Rafel was likable albeit a bit boring of a person, but not everyone has to have an over-the-top personality, especially when there were other characters with tons of charisma. He was reliable, which is why Nadia liked him too, I suppose! The story is too complex to give even a cursory overview without spoilers, as it’s less a straightforward plot than showing how small decisions can spawn large consequences. As such, the story feels authentic to real life and you’re never sure what is going to happen. It’s not a thrilling plot, but it’s addictively interesting. It’s both a serious and safe story, as you can tell by the tone that there aren’t going to be graphic descriptions like in a grimdark fantasy yet it still deals with the effects of slavery and assault. The novel has normalized queer rep, some moments of humour, poignancy, and gorgeous lines of prose. I do highly recommend it, but it’s not a novel you can just turn your brain off to read. Then again, that's one of the many great things about it! Some spoilers: 1. (view spoiler)[ One thing I wasn't too keen on was Lania getting with Rafel in the end. We have so few stories of men and women being friends that it was a little disappointing, especially as they have no sexual connection; I definitely did not ship them. (hide spoiler)] 2. (view spoiler)[Did anyone else not understand why Lania had that connection the Lenora? There wasn't magic anywhere else in the world, so I was really confused as to what made this connection or what it was. Did I miss it? (hide spoiler)]

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    ‘We are not at the mercy of randomness, or fate, but both are present for us.’ Self-consciously a told story: Kay’s best fantasy fiction to date. Draws together threads of many previous novels in his fantasy late medieval world yet doesn’t force readers to read the preceding volumes to enjoy this one. The framing story, set decades in the future, works but adds little. “Are you certain?” “I am certain of nothing. I have decided uncertainty is all right. But I know that this feels needful to me.” ‘We are not at the mercy of randomness, or fate, but both are present for us.’ Self-consciously a told story: Kay’s best fantasy fiction to date. Draws together threads of many previous novels in his fantasy late medieval world yet doesn’t force readers to read the preceding volumes to enjoy this one. The framing story, set decades in the future, works but adds little. “Are you certain?” “I am certain of nothing. I have decided uncertainty is all right. But I know that this feels needful to me.” Many point-of-view characters, but Kay clearly defines whose head the reader is in. Even more introspective than previous fare, if possible. His analog for his world religions free him to define and defy religious conventions. ‘The boundaries of belief … could be hard as iron or permeable as air.’ Cracks the door into the beyond. “Quarter turn to the fantastic,” as are most Kay offerings. Adds depth rather than driving the narrative. His nod to correctness is transitory and nearly transparent. Little profanity. Many epigrammatic sayings. You know how it turns out but are enthralled by how he gets you there. ‘Other people, for different reasons, seem to never really have a home, even if they settle somewhere. That becomes a place they live. Not the same thing. They go through their lives as if adrift on all the seas of the world.’

  17. 4 out of 5

    Barb in Maryland

    So wonderful! More may come, after I recover from the massive 'good-book hangover'. Note: While it is not essential to understanding this book, reading both Children of Earth and Sky and A Brightness Long Ago first will greatly increase your enjoyment of it. I had read both, but it had been a while back and I had forgotten some of the details. Had I known how closely related this book is to 'Brightness' I would have re-read it before reading 'All the Seas'. Now I have a project for later this year- So wonderful! More may come, after I recover from the massive 'good-book hangover'. Note: While it is not essential to understanding this book, reading both Children of Earth and Sky and A Brightness Long Ago first will greatly increase your enjoyment of it. I had read both, but it had been a while back and I had forgotten some of the details. Had I known how closely related this book is to 'Brightness' I would have re-read it before reading 'All the Seas'. Now I have a project for later this year--re-read all three (not a hardship!)

  18. 4 out of 5

    theliterateleprechaun

    I knew I was an eager student, sitting at the feet of greatness…but when the splendiferous prose danced before my eyes…alas, I was too ‘green’ to comprehend it. I’ve delved deep into many technical textbooks during my education and I claim to have an open mind, but nothing prepared me for what I read here. I felt like I was treading water in the deep end. Sadly, I chose to paddle ashore and leave the book in more capable hands. I’m ill-equipped to provide an adequate review. I might have enjoyed I knew I was an eager student, sitting at the feet of greatness…but when the splendiferous prose danced before my eyes…alas, I was too ‘green’ to comprehend it. I’ve delved deep into many technical textbooks during my education and I claim to have an open mind, but nothing prepared me for what I read here. I felt like I was treading water in the deep end. Sadly, I chose to paddle ashore and leave the book in more capable hands. I’m ill-equipped to provide an adequate review. I might have enjoyed this thought-provoking, character-driven, historical fantasy book better had I previously read A Brightness Long Ago and Children of Earth and Sky, if this wasn’t my first introduction to this author, AND if I’d had a content awareness before selecting it. I was gifted this advance copy by Guy Gavriel Kay, Penguin Random House Canada, Viking and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Guy Gavriel Kay returns to The Middle Sea (Mediterranean) and his Peninsula, which is 11th Century (thereabouts) Italy. City States individually ruled. The port cities are active in trade and riches. One needs to pay attention as the characters are developed. Lots of different names in an Arabic style. Major religious differences abound in this fantasy and the parallel would be Christians versus Islam. The Crusades. An escaped female slave, trained in knives, joins a seafarer/corsair. The tale fo Guy Gavriel Kay returns to The Middle Sea (Mediterranean) and his Peninsula, which is 11th Century (thereabouts) Italy. City States individually ruled. The port cities are active in trade and riches. One needs to pay attention as the characters are developed. Lots of different names in an Arabic style. Major religious differences abound in this fantasy and the parallel would be Christians versus Islam. The Crusades. An escaped female slave, trained in knives, joins a seafarer/corsair. The tale follows this pair who are hired for nefarious activities, including assassination. Along the way they find themselves on the "good" side of events, which leads to riches, meeting the right people and going to war. More than a few twists and turns along the way. There is a tad of magic in that our former slave/heroine is able to communicate with another by mind. Distance is not an issue. An intriguing trait.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    All the Seas of the World is the story that takes place in the same world as Children of Earth and Sky and A Brightness Long Ago. Okay, well... I'm pretty sure that most of his books take place in the same world but these ones take place at a vaguely similar time in this same world. This one especially had characters that were still fresh in my mind. You don't need to have read the other two to understand what's happening here, but if you have, you will see familiar names and places.  As I said a All the Seas of the World is the story that takes place in the same world as Children of Earth and Sky and A Brightness Long Ago. Okay, well... I'm pretty sure that most of his books take place in the same world but these ones take place at a vaguely similar time in this same world. This one especially had characters that were still fresh in my mind. You don't need to have read the other two to understand what's happening here, but if you have, you will see familiar names and places.  As I said about A Brightness Long Ago, it can basically go without saying at this point that because this is a GGK book, it is beautifully written. That's just a given to me at this point.  Dat. Prose. Tho. This one took me on a lovely ride through alternate-universe Europe just a few years past the alternate-universe Fall of Constantinople to the alternate-universe Ottoman Empire... so... about 1460, give or take? So, we have a recognizable-but-different setting in which GGK places these characters that I could not help but obsess about a little bit. This volume mostly follows Lenia Serrano, a former slave and her merchant partner through everything from an assassination to a reunion. There are other characters who take the stage of course, many of them familiar if you've read GGK's previous two books, but Lenia totally stole the show for me. She lives in a world which is very harsh to women, and slaves, and female former slaves... and yet she doesn't take crap from anyone along her way... and 'anyone along her way' includes everyone from Dukes to Kings to the actual Pope. So, I was a fan of Lenia's attitude and how it made her more friends than enemies, even in a world not particularly friendly to women.  So, all told I loved All the Seas of the World and I would 100% recommend it to anyone who likes a really well put together alternate history novel, or loves GGK's work, or loves beautiful prose that takes you away to another world. As I said, you don't need to read Children of Earth and Sky or A Brightness Long Ago in order to find enjoyment in this novel, but I think that my experience of it was a little better for having read them. Take that as you will. ^_^ superstardrifter.com

  21. 4 out of 5

    Adah Udechukwu

    All the Seas of the World is a must-read masterpiece. The novel is awesome in every aspect. It is my best read so far this year.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anneri

    2.5* (review full of spoilers) Let me start by stressing that Guy Gavriel Kay is one of my favourite authors, and some of his books (Sarantine Mosaic, Lions, A Brightness) are among my favourite books ever. When there's an announcement that a new book is released, I save that date and plan to do nothing else but read that day. In short: I was looking forward A LOT to All The Seas Of The World. I don't like it. I was also incredibly disappointed: I WANT my favourite writers to go on and write master 2.5* (review full of spoilers) Let me start by stressing that Guy Gavriel Kay is one of my favourite authors, and some of his books (Sarantine Mosaic, Lions, A Brightness) are among my favourite books ever. When there's an announcement that a new book is released, I save that date and plan to do nothing else but read that day. In short: I was looking forward A LOT to All The Seas Of The World. I don't like it. I was also incredibly disappointed: I WANT my favourite writers to go on and write masterpieces! Of course I want them to succeed! In this case, it didn't happen. What's my problem? Here's what I love about GGK's writing: he's a master plotter. I don't know any author who weaves together many strands of narration seamelessly, and by doing that, usually manages to deliver a masterful punch into the gut in the last quarter of the story. After which I usually ask myself "how did he do THAT?" This time, he didn't deliver: what we get is a somewhat linear story that spans maybe two years from an assassination to the following war. We do get the usual big cast, though, which usually serves to bring home GGK's usual message: how seemingly unimportant people get caught in big events. What's new is that the author actually stresses that in the book itself. He actually repeats it over and over again: first, people die because they're caught up in big events (or could die any minute), and how big events have implications for a lot of people. And you know what? I found those reminders absolutely unnecessary. I found them also rather jarring, and just a teensy tiny bit self-important. I also don't like when an author talks down to me: I don't need a kindly explenation of what's going on, thank you. Strangely, I found the tone (gentle melancholy) absolutely detrimental to the story. This is a rather violent story with room for many emotions - that kinda high-brow melancholy didn't cut it. Every character felt ultimately bland. And in the same vein, the supernatural and the many, many allusions to former books and characters had the same result for me: unbearable blandness. When Crispin meets the bison-god in Saraudia in The Sarantine Mosaic it's a masterful, chilling moment. Danica hearing the voice of her dead Grandfather in Children of Earth and Sky? The supernatural coming into our world, but in a completely believable way. The bison-god's reappearance here? Why? How?! it didn't make ANY sense to me. Same with Lenia hearing the child's voice in her mind: for what purpose was that for?! Leora was brought into the story and went out with absolutely no deeper purpose. It just felt flat. Similarly, I couldn't understand the incessant name-dropping and allusions to former characters. All The Seas In The World is supposed to be a stand-alone, as well as the last book in a trilogy with A Brightness Long Ago and Children of Earth and Sky. As a standalone, I would be continously baffled by the allusions (Adria popping up in a few pictures, for example), while it absolutely does nothing to the story, same with a street named after Jehane. Look, I love Lions. But did I need to know that they built a statue of Jehane? Absolutely not. For someone not knowing Lions - that must be continually frustrating. And in this book, I found GGK's tic of tidying up his storylines with a little bow absolutely unnecessary. Lenia's parents' farm - sigh. Raina Vidal's death - sigh. Maybe giving the reader's imagination some space would've helped the book. Maybe not.

  23. 4 out of 5

    laureneliza

    I loved it from start to finish but please do not make this your first Kay book because it is much more of a direct follow up to Brightness than I was expecting. Beautiful call backs to others as well, as an added bonus for long time readers.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Florbela

    3.5 stars

  25. 4 out of 5

    Don Dunham

    Historical-ish fiction with a fantasy kink written by a generational talent Author.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    Firstly thanks for the copy I received from Netgalley for an honest review. 3.5-4 stars. With that out of the way, it has been years since I’ve read a book by Guy Gabriel Kay, and the premise of this book was interesting enough to catch my attention and have me wanting to give this author another go as I have enjoyed his previous books immensely. That said, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about this book for a lot of it. Not to say it was bad by any means, I still enjoyed it or I would never have Firstly thanks for the copy I received from Netgalley for an honest review. 3.5-4 stars. With that out of the way, it has been years since I’ve read a book by Guy Gabriel Kay, and the premise of this book was interesting enough to catch my attention and have me wanting to give this author another go as I have enjoyed his previous books immensely. That said, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about this book for a lot of it. Not to say it was bad by any means, I still enjoyed it or I would never have pushed through such a lengthy novel. It just wasn’t quite what I was expecting and didn’t hold my attention as much as I would have liked. Yet it was still an engaging novel and left me wanting to find out where these characters would end up. The beginning alone had my attention immediately starting out with such a bang. There’s an assassination attempt that turns into something of a heist and I loved this part. I also loved how character oriented this book was as character based storylines are so important to me and something I get really invested in. This book did that well, revealing backstory about main characters bit by bit so the reader understood more of their actions, and allowing said characters to grow throughout the book and their journeys which is so important to storylines that focus more on character development like this. However, I will say that at times the plot seemed very slow, perhaps because of this. There were long stretches where it felt like a whole lot of nothing was happening which is where my attention tended to wane. And yet, as I said I still kept reading and never considered giving up, so this was only to a point an issue. I just would have liked to see more actual plot taking place to make the story more investing. Another fault with this book was that I felt like so many side characters got lost in the sheer number of them and lack of importance that made them stick out. I could not keep them straight more often than not and sometimes failed to understand why they even needed to be a part of the story because it just seemed to take me out of it more than anything. However, again, to be more positive, having little bits and pieces of the main characters actions that seemed super insignificant play out in other characters lives as something so important to their realities was a very cool addition to the story which I enjoyed. It was thinking about how such small actions of people can have such an effect on others that really made these side stories pop out more. As a quote from the book states, “We can be changed, sometimes greatly, by people who come only glancingly into our lives and move on, never knowing what they have done to us.” (Chapter XIII) This resounded with me because it’s so relevant even in reality; the most insignificant actions can have the most profound effect on someone else, and this idea really latched onto my brain because of this book. All together a solid read and makes me want to pick up more of this authors books in future.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mint

    All the Seas of the World is a lot of fun. I wouldn't say it's life-changing, though once in a while, it makes me start to think, and that makes the reading experience even more fun! What I enjoy most about this book is definitely the characters and their relationships. I love it when the majority of the cast are intelligent people, with their conversations containing a lot of unspoken but mutually understood ideas. Rafel and Nadia are among these, of course, though my favorite character is prob All the Seas of the World is a lot of fun. I wouldn't say it's life-changing, though once in a while, it makes me start to think, and that makes the reading experience even more fun! What I enjoy most about this book is definitely the characters and their relationships. I love it when the majority of the cast are intelligent people, with their conversations containing a lot of unspoken but mutually understood ideas. Rafel and Nadia are among these, of course, though my favorite character is probably Folco, with his maturity and charisma. I enjoy reading from his perspective very much. I'm a fan of Guy Gavriel Kay's writing style, which works really well with the plot and mood of this book. He has a way of describing chaotic and cathartic scenes in a very neat, almost invisible way, allowing you to construct the picture of the scene from scratch on your own instead of describing every prop in it. As a result, there's a lot of pleasant tension of multiple scales scattering across the story. On the other hand, the writing in this book is as if someone was verbally telling the story - it's not concise, some details added almost as an afterthought. As this is a story about stories, it effectively makes the book feel immersive and sentimental. I think there are other books by Guy Gavriel Kay that's set in this universe, though I have never read them. This works completely fine as a standalone. There's quite a lot of information about worldbuilding in the beginning that was a little overwhelming, but it all became clear in time without me having to invest too much effort. The worldbuilding is complex, combining politics, religions, cultures, and other aspects of civilization in a masterful way. Now, I would really like to go and read other books set in this universe, too. Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    When I pick up a Guy Gavriel Kay novel I know I'm in for an intense, emotional story yet somehow I am constantly amazed at just how quickly I become immersed in his worlds and attached to the characters. This is quite a hefty tome but it only took a few pages for me to be invested. In this case the story involves several characters we've seen before and familiar places from the previous books so it was easy to get hooked in again. I think it would still be amazing without having read the two pre When I pick up a Guy Gavriel Kay novel I know I'm in for an intense, emotional story yet somehow I am constantly amazed at just how quickly I become immersed in his worlds and attached to the characters. This is quite a hefty tome but it only took a few pages for me to be invested. In this case the story involves several characters we've seen before and familiar places from the previous books so it was easy to get hooked in again. I think it would still be amazing without having read the two previous books but it definitely adds some richness to have all the background stories. The world building is so detailed and rich that it feels like these cities are real and exist somewhere in world history. I was truly thrilled to get lost in these warring kingdoms and elated to see some familiar characters. Kay's storytelling is mind-mindbogglingly beautiful and the language is somewhere between poetry and song. The whole tale reads like it is being told by a master storyteller in a busy exotic market, who needs to grab listeners attention-and their coins-which is exactly a scene early in this book. There are wars, battles on land and at sea, sex, love, daring feats, crafty diplomacy, family, religion and just about every element important to humanity and fascinating to readers. This is an action packed, exciting story that takes the time to build the characters so when the story gives a little peek at how their life ends which, as a reader, I really appreciate. I want to know how it all turns out and I was very satisfied with the ending in this novel. I wouldn't say no to more stories set in this world but If they happen it will be a bonus; and I will be first in line! Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada, Viking for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linda Antonsson

    In _All the Seas of the World_, Kay returns once more to his most frequently revisited alternate history setting, where the stories often touch upon the tensions between the followers of the three major religions: the Asharites, the Jaddites and the Kindath. I have not consciously reflected on this before, but when reading this book, I started thinking more about the choice of having these three religions be celestial, worshipping the stars, the sun and the two moons, respectively. To me, it hei In _All the Seas of the World_, Kay returns once more to his most frequently revisited alternate history setting, where the stories often touch upon the tensions between the followers of the three major religions: the Asharites, the Jaddites and the Kindath. I have not consciously reflected on this before, but when reading this book, I started thinking more about the choice of having these three religions be celestial, worshipping the stars, the sun and the two moons, respectively. To me, it heightens the tragedy and futility inherent in religious conflicts that their objects of worship are essentially the same things, seen in the same sky. While the shared universe connects this novel to several of Kay's earlier works, it is with the two most recent books -- _Children of Earth and Sky_ and _A Brightness Long Ago_ -- that it is most closely entwined, especially the latter. It opens only some five years after the end of the main action of _A Brightness Long Ago_, but just as that novel did, this one moves back and forth in time, offering glimpses of what lays ahead at the end of the road for some of the characters. There are also several references to both _The Lions of Al-Rassan_ and the _Sarantine Mosaic_, touching on the idea of one's legacy in the world, something which has been a recurring theme in Kay's work, in particular post the _Sarantine Mosaic_. But the most prominent theme of _All the Seas of the World_ is the telling of stories. Who tells the tale? To whom is the tale told? Which stories end up being told and who is placed at the center of the stories or at its margins? In revisiting this setting a few years down the road from _A Brightness Long Ago_, Kay picks up a few peripheral threads and moves characters from the margins to the center of the story. At the same time, other peripheral players are introduced, and we are given a few glimpses of their lives. Regularly, the narrator of the story (who is not, as in _Brightness_, identified as one of the characters) muses almost obsessively on whose stories are told, recognizing that while some lives will appear trivial within the grander tapestry, they will matter just as much in a different kind of story. "You can indeed die at the margins of a story, but you are as dead as if it were your own tale ending and never told." Is this Kay expressing that he's moved beyond telling the stories of larger-than-life characters such as Ammar and Rodrigo? Granted, Folco and Theobaldo are certainly very vivid presences within _Brightness_, but not quite on the same level, nor are they the main characters. Part of me does long for the more epic kind of story still, but perhaps they can only be told so many times, at least by the same person? Or is it that Kay has chosen to remain within the same setting (and, in the case of the last three novels, within a relatively short span of time in that setting) specifically to explore more "minor" threads as well? Speaking of the revisiting of the same setting, I think it may pose a small problem for (some) readers of _All the Seas of the World_ in regards to the many interconnections and references to previous novels. These do, at times, threaten to take the focus from the characters of this story, both because they bring to mind other characters and because, if you're anything like me, you may end up interrupting your reading to chase down a reference. That said, the craft with which this tapestry is woven is exquisite on all levels, both when it comes to the current story and the threads picked up from previous novels. When Kay chooses to show a few short glimpses of what happens to a minor character, those glimpses are enough for you to care about their fate.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Geoffrey

    (Note: I received an advanced reader copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley) Ever since I first picked up Under Heaven a few years ago, I’ve developed a strong fondness for Guy Gavriel Kay’s literary niche. His settings, which are usually a mix of heavy influences from very specific historical periods and his own world-building details, make for unique stages where Kay can essentially play around in the past and even subtly spice it with light traces of fantasy without too much worry, as he’s no (Note: I received an advanced reader copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley) Ever since I first picked up Under Heaven a few years ago, I’ve developed a strong fondness for Guy Gavriel Kay’s literary niche. His settings, which are usually a mix of heavy influences from very specific historical periods and his own world-building details, make for unique stages where Kay can essentially play around in the past and even subtly spice it with light traces of fantasy without too much worry, as he’s not in the “actual” past but rather places like not-technically-Byzantine-Constantinople or not-actually-Tang-Dynasty-China. Between these locations that combine the familiar and the new, his immersive writing style, rich casts and complex storylines, Kay’s brand of what some have called “historical fantasy” consistently makes for very fun reading. All the Seas of the World happily proves to be no exception. It’s setting, a place extremely reminiscent of the 15th-century Mediterranean region but not quite, quickly became wonderfully alive for me, and likewise it was hardly long until I became absorbed by an intrigue-thick plot. If you’re already a fan of Kay, then I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy his latest work, as “All the Seas of the World” has everything that you could ask for. If you’re a newcomer to his books, then it may take a little while to get used to his style. However, speaking from experience it shouldn’t take long until you find yourself contently lost in these pages.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.