About two years ago, I read Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana, which may be one of the finest fantasy worlds I’ve ever visited. Note how I say that: I visited Tigana, which isn’t difficult when you’re reading about a fascinating character like the courtesan Dianora.
This time, rather than seeing a parallel of Italy in the Middle Ages, I’m reading about eighth-century China, in the form of the fantasy nation of Kitai. This is the setting of Under Heaven, a story that promises to be very different from Kay’s previous works.
I’ve heard a writer’s voice is one of the most important things about their craft. You always know when you’ve read on of Neil Gaiman’s metaphors. You know when the text is phonetic and southern, it’s Mark Twain. If you see a lot of second person or exceptional detail describing hand-to-hand combat, it has to be Greg Rucka. Should you be reading prose that paints a setting out of emotions as well as visuals, you have to be reading Guy Gavriel Kay.
So, I ask myself, what voice makes my prose distinct? Continue reading