This is author Guy Gavriel Kay’s sixth novel, coming after the FIONAVAR TAPESTRY (a trilogy), TIGANA (which I absolutely loved) and A SONG FOR ARBONNE (which I didn’t much care for.)
My feelings about this novel, THE LIONS OF AL-RASSAN are similar to my feelings about A SONG FOR ARBONNE. I find them both disappointing, perhaps because they have similar problems. In a previous blog post, I complained that the female character in SONG (Lissot) was not that interesting. I have the same problem with Jehane in LIONS. It doesn’t help that she is often rude, prickly and just downright unattractive.
Like Lissot in SONG, Jehane in LIONS is also in the middle of a love-triangle with two powerful men. So the fact that neither woman is compelling makes each love-triangle seem contrived. After all, why would such intriguing & powerful characters as Bertran de Talaire & Blaise de Gohault be so interested in shallow flirtatious Lissot in SONG? Why would such brilliant & accomplished men as Rodrigo Belmonte and Ammar ibn Kairan be so besotted by tart-tongued Jehane in LIONS?
What a pity that Guy Gavriel Kay took a formula from A SONG FOR ARBONNE and reused it in THE LIONS OF AL RASSAN. It didn’t work in his fifth novel; it certainly doesn’t work in his sixth. Three stars. #guygavrielkay #thelionsofalrasson