Memories and names, something that breathes life into the people and possessions we lost. Both of these can be summed up as the fabric of identity. Despite all the war, deaths, sex, hardships, betrayal, magic, deception, subterfuge, the main essence of Tigana is reclaiming your freedom, home, memories and the implication of holding on to the past.
“There are no wrong turnings. Only paths we had not known we were meant to walk.”
Once you’ve read the author’s note, you’ll understand why this specific quote about destiny became even more impactful for me.
I do have to remind you that this is a slow paced book. Throughout the entire book, the characters spent their time mostly talking and planning for their respective final purposes. The amounts of action that can be found here are also really low, with only two heavy action sequences IIRC, but believe me, this is for a good reason because the conclusion, the last two chapters were really well done, thrilling, and satisfying.
For a standalone, the characters cast are quite huge and were explored properly. GGK did a great job in providing personality to the characters within the span of one book. However, for me, GGK’s main strength in this book will have to be in how he creates this sense of ambiguity and gray area for all the characters, both villain, and protagonists. One or two characters aside, I truly understand and can connect with their motivations and reasoning.
The world building is superb, to say the least. Taking place in a place ravaged by two tyrants; Peninsula of the Palm is a great setting which reminds me a lot of Renaissance Italy. Do remember that this is a standalone book, GGK doesn’t have a lot of room to work on every element necessary to make this a great standalone but in my opinion, he did it wonderfully.
This is due to the reasons I mentioned above, but mostly his prose. This is the first time I’ve read anything written by GGK and my god, I’m completely in love with his prose. It’s addictive, beautiful, elegant, enchanting, and never gets too flowery to read. Considering that this book was published in 1990, I envisioned he must’ve improved his prose with all his books after this one.
There are however two minor cons I had with the book.
I did feel bored during few chapters of the book, specifically almost all the POV that revolves around Dariana. No matter how many reasoning was given to this character, I just can’t bring myself to relate with her decisions. Also, I can never understand the romance and sex scenes in this book. They all happened abruptly and I don’t even know how person A can fall in love with person B and so on and so on. Luckily romances aren’t a big part of the book but when it happened, I can’t help but rolled my eyes.
In the author’s note, GGK has explained his source of inspiration for the creation this novel and how he wanted it to be remembered, mostly on the importance and implication of memories. After reading Tigana and the note, I can’t disagree that he did what he set out to do magnificently. This is the first time I read any novels written by GGK, it certainly won’t be the last. Tigana is truly a great stand-alone that all fantasy fans must try. If all his other books are better than this, there is a chance GGK could be included in my lonely list of favorite authors.