Thursday, January 21, 2016

BOOK REVIEW : SAILING TO SARANTIUM by Guy Gavriel Kay

   TITLE : SAILING TO SARANTIUM
   AUTHOR : GUY GAVRIEL KAY
   PAGE COUNT : 448
   RELEASE DATE : 1998
   SERIES : THE SARANTINE MOSAIC (BOOK 1)
   FOLLOWED BY : LORD OF EMPERORS
   GENRE : FANTASY, FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION
   GOODREADS















Crispin is a master mosaicist, creating beautiful art with colored stones and glass. Summoned to Sarantium by imperial request, he bears a Queen's secret mission, and a talisman from an alchemist. Once in the fabled city, with its taverns and gilded sanctuaries, chariot races and palaces, intrigues and violence, Crispin must find his own source of power in order to survive-and unexpectedly discovers it high on the scaffolding of his own greatest creation.

This is my first Guy Gavriel Kay Book that I have read, and I have to honestly say I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would when I first bought this book on August 2015. I bought this book when it was on sale plus I love the cover art too which made me want grab this book in the first place. Even though I didn't read all of the reviews on Goodreads, I did glance a view on the rating description and this book got quite an impressive rating which was 4.15/5 stars! So why not buy it? Right?  It's also a book about alternate history / historical fantasy so who wouldn't love it? Well I thought I would!

But then When I started picking this book up [November 2015] , I did struggle a little bit of here and there [I even took notes for better understanding] and I end up giving up after just a couple of pages in. Leaving a bought book unread is very agitating to me so this month, I thought I should start again from the beginning and just get it over with, and finally get to finished it yesterday.

Before I begin sharing my thoughts about the book, let me first explain what the book is basically about (non-spoiler).




Like many other fantasy books, a nicely drawn map is also included at the beginning of the book. I didn't study the map until I was halfway through the book, while looking for additional references. I do have to say that I love the fantasy world of this story.

In this book, Caius Cripus aka Crispin, was summoned by the Sarantium's Emperor to design a mosaic painting on the Sanctuary Dome located in the kingdom. This story took about 60% of the part telling the process of Crispin's journey from a little village where he came from to the destined place. 90% of the journey happens on land (contrary to the book title), and the rest of the journey was then continued with a actual sailing by a ship, to Sarantium. But here in the book, GGK explains the back story with detail explanations as written below :

"To say of a man that he was sailing to Sarantium was to say that his life was on the cusp of change: poised for emergent greatness, brilliance, fortune--or else at the very precipice of a final and absolute fall as he met something too vast for his capacity"
PROLOGUE PAGE 1

I didn't say I HATE the book, but I did say I didn't enjoy it as much. My first struggle of the book actually started from the beginning of the prologue! I am absolute with obvious reasons of why I struggled throughout the book. First off, English is not my first language (so whenever I bump into a hard vocab, I had to spend time looking for the meaning), and second, this book contains alot of unfamiliar nouns. As a matter of fact I have never read a Byzantium themed book before. The historical fiction I have read only dates back to the Middle Ages. So that'll be my problem, not this book's. Here is a list of reason why I have a love-hate relationship with Sailing to Sarantium :

1. Unfamiliar names of people and places, and sometimes an occurrence (nouns in general)
To some people this might be very interesting but to me, it is not an easy way to remember who is who, where is where, and when is when?
2. Too much story detail - which can both be good or bad
I just thought that this book drags a lot too much
3. The little bits and piece of plots are quite entertaining, but the the whole story is getting to nowhere
I do like the little elements of stories in each chapters, I get to love some of the characters, and some of the parts I find funny too. But when put the story all together, uhmm... No.
4. Written in 3rd person, but frequently changes the main subject in the middle of the chapter
PRONOUNS! It makes me dizzy sometimes
5. TOO MANY CHARACTERS - and their background stories
Once I get to love a character, the character either dies or just didn't appear in the story anymore. And here comes a load more of weird names...


Overall, I did not find this book entertaining, and in fact I felt like stopping in the middle of the book for a couple of times. I believe that this is a good book with high ratings and many people would have enjoyed this book, but then it's just not my niche. Just not suitable for me. This is book one of The Sarantium Mosaic duology, followed by Lord of Emperors which I am probably not going to complete.


MY RATING



Have you read this book? Tell me what you think!


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