As with Kay's other books, The Lions of al-Rassan
is staggeringly beautiful in it's prose and character development, it's story flow, it's eloquence and grace. Kay continues to prove to me that he's possibly my favorite prose master in all of fantasy; each of his books I read is more beautifully written than the last.
The Lions of al-Rassan is a thoughtful, twisting tale of the conflicts between the Kindath, Asharites, and Jaddites; three religious groups based roughly on the Jews, Muslims and Christians in olden times Spain. The storyline of these three factions is closely intertwined, members of each group sharing both conflicts and resolutions, interpersonal relationships and interpersonal desires. Again, Kay's brilliant use of symbolism and political commentary carry this book, not just adding intrigue but also creating plot drama, twists and statements. His dialogue is realistic, witty, pointed and impactful, and his descriptions of emotions and events transport the reader right inside the characters and events.
I could rant for days about how beautiful Kay's prose is. I could blather about how brilliant the interactions of the three factions are, the love triangle, the political drama in the courts. Everything about this book was superb, well fleshed out, deep and intermingling. There were numerous very powerful scenes, and as with always, Kay presents them in a stunning manner, puts you in the moment, makes you feel the action, the anguish of the characters, the consequences. I recommend this book to just about anyone who enjoys deep, thoughtful books, written by a master of the genre. This book is easily up there with Tigana for me as one of my favorite books.