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Extended Audio Sample Ysabel Audiobook, by Guy Gavriel Kay Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,563 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Guy Gavriel Kay Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2008 ISBN: 9781436244268
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Saint-Sauveur Cathedral of Aix-en-Provence is an ancient structure of many secrets—a perfect monument to fill the lens of a celebrated photographer, and a perfect place for the photographer’s son, Ned Marriner, to lose himself while his father works. But the cathedral isn’t the empty edifice it appears to be. Its history is very much alive in the present day—and it’s calling out to Ned …

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Kay tells a vivid and satisfying tale, with moments of sublime eeriness when past and present blur.”

    Washington Post

  • “Kay is at his finest. There are many writers who have shown us the gods walking among us, the age-old stories alive in the modern world. Rare are those able to demonstrate that those gods, those stories, live within us, and are as essential to our existence as oxygen. Guy Gavriel Kay is one of those rare few, and Ysabel is a splendid addition to his body of work.”

    Globe and Mail (Toronto)

  • “Kay’s language is poetic and thought-provoking, and his sensitively drawn characters are the perfect complement.”

    Romantic Times (Top Pick)

  • Ysabel, as much as the trilogy Kay was first known for, is an unpredictable, sometimes disquieting adventure—[The] Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for adults.”

    Winnipeg Free Press

  • “An explorer of history and myths, Kay has a special affinity for the people behind the larger-than-life legends that persist through time. His latest fantasy blends time and place in a crossing of worlds and universal truths.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “A fantastic novel of modern people confronting ancient powers. Ysabel is a great way to kick off the year.”

    BookPage

  • Winner of the 2008 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel
  • A 2008 Mythopoeic Award Finalist
  • A 2007 Library Journal Best Book for Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • A 2008 Locus Award Nominee

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Efseine | 2/18/2014

    " I don't know that Kay's style quite fits with a younger protagonist or a contemporary setting, but this novel is still enjoyable and well-written (it's Kay, so that's a given). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/13/2014

    " Ysabel is usually not the kind of book I pick up at my book store, but since it was written by one of my favourite author I did read it. First off the bat I always love his style of writing which keeps me engross in the book even though some part kind of bored me. The story is interesting and kept me captivated while I got invested in the character. The only problem I have is that during the whole book I felt like I was waiting for something big to happen only to be disappointed from the anti-climatic ending. Not a bad book, but will never read it again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 michele_blue | 2/7/2014

    " This wasn't my favorite of Kay's, and not just because of the contemporary setting. I found it difficult to dive into the point-of-view character's...point of view. Lovely, because everything he writes is lovely, but lacking the poignancy of some of the other books he's written. Note that I hold him to an extremely high standard; he's one of my favorite authors. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori Murton | 1/20/2014

    " I really liked this book until I got to the ending (which I thought was weak). I especially enjoyed the return of some of the characters from the Fionavar Tapestry - very nice surprise. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alicia | 1/13/2014

    " I don't understand why this is considered his best book. There are way too many characters, all too underdeveloped, and almost all of them completely inconsequential. Not only that, they spend the first quarter of the book building up this grand mystery about Ysabel and the guy in the cathedral. Well it turns out that the grand ol' mystery was that an old timey Bella-Edward-Jacob love triangle loved/hated each other so much that they return from the dead every year. And every year, she picks one of them to sleep with and then somehow, a lot of people die and this changes the history in the region. Or something. The historical bits are very fragmented and have little depth. They hint at some past tragedies, but they're mentioned in passing. It's more like a placard at a museum about the defeat of the Celts than a story about an actual tragedy. And all the events in the modern storyline have little meaning on their own. So really the only worthwhile storyline in this book is the one between Ned's mother and his aunt. It takes up about 10 pages of the whole book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Viki | 1/11/2014

    " This was slow going and not particularly interesting . "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Clare | 12/22/2013

    " I liked this a lot. I read The Fionavar Tapestry years ago and was a big fan. This one takes place in contemporary France but pulls in elements from eras past. I really like books that mess around with time and stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Keri Ross | 12/21/2013

    " Have just finished reading and thoroughly enjoyed it. Have to say at times I found it a bit confusing however all in all very good story. Would recommend to everyone that enjoys a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lois | 12/11/2013

    " I really like historical fiction but have not ventured into historical fantasy. I plan to read another one of Kay's books which I don't do unless I really like an author and want to see what he/she does with a different story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dina | 11/11/2013

    " a young adult book and a fast read...someone left it in my store and I was bored...but I liked it for a teen book :-) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ysbal | 11/9/2013

    " Guy Gavriel Kay makes writing seem so effortless. Although the beginning was a little slow for me, once the story got going, it left me breathless. A definite for the favourites shelf. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Geoffrey Dow | 10/26/2013

    " I read it back in the summer of 2008 and, maybe, remember it better than I would have predicted, judging by what I said about it at the time. Based on that, I'm almost tempted to give it a re-read ... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Paula | 10/17/2013

    " Terrible. Very disappointing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tamara | 9/7/2013

    " I would have liked a little more back story about the three "reawakened" characters, and how they fit in with the main (not title) character (a 15-year-old boy), but that probably would have made the book too unwieldy... Still a fun, exciting fantasy of the past (literally) coming back to life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nyneve Beebe | 8/10/2013

    " I loved this book. It was full of history, intrigue, and magic. The author held my interest from the first chapter to the last. The characters really drew me in. I would love to see back stories for some of them. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Evewithanapple | 7/13/2013

    " One of the author's weaker books. The premise was interesting, but the lead was dull, and too much time was spent on him when we could have been following Ysabel herself. Also, I found Melanie's ultimate fate dissatisfying. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mag | 3/8/2013

    " An excellent YA book set in France around Glanum. There must be something magical and very inspiring about the place- Margaret Atwood's first short story in the new Moral Disorder collection is also inspired by it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lisa/Bluestem Cafeohlai | 2/4/2013

    " Creepy, culturally rich and suspenseful. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mirko | 7/15/2012

    " Didn't finished it. I gave up at some 100 pages before the end. I didn't liked the story. I enjoyed Kay's novels before, but Under heaven and Ysabel weren't good for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marybeth Mitchell | 7/3/2011

    " I really liked this book - Provence sounds like an amazing place to visit. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steven | 6/10/2011

    " A wonderful book! Nobody mixes history and fantasy like Kay! But he alludes to history, he doesn't explicate it. If you know your history, this book is deliciously rich. If you don't, Kay makes you want to go learn. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stuart Lutzenhiser | 5/17/2011

    " A wonderful book. I really enjoyed it. A young Canadian gets embroiled in a a story retold over two thousand years. This was aimed at young adult readers as there is a fair amount of teen angst over sex and their place in an adult world. It is typical high quality writing by Kay. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kevin | 5/1/2011

    " Reads like an annotated screenplay for a Nicholas Cage flick....complete with middle aged men saying, "I'm getting too old for this!" Rather disappointing for an award winning book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew | 4/27/2011

    " I have to say, I rather liked this book. It's hard for me to say exactly why, but I guess Kay made me care about the characters. At points, it's a bit convoluted, but I rather liked it. Nice description, and maybe some day I'll go see Aix. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joshua | 4/7/2011

    " Great fantasy-set-in-the-modern-day kind of story, with a beautiful setting and some fairly well developed characters. A good coming-of-age/YA type book that is definitely worth a read for adults too. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisaann | 4/5/2011

    " Although this is not my favorite book by Guy Gavriel Kay, as usual he is masterful at blending history into fantasy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 3/30/2011

    " I was an easy read. More along the lines of popular fiction. I am told by fans of Kay's work that this is not necessarily his best book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tracy | 3/6/2011

    " I was alright. I'm not mad I read it. It was entertaining. "

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About the Author
Author Guy Gavriel Kay

Guy Gavriel Kay is the internationally bestselling author of numerous novels. He has been awarded the International Goliardos Prize for his work in fantasy literature, as well as the World Fantasy Award in 2008. A two-time winner of the Aurora Award, and his works have been translated into more than twenty-five languages.

About the Narrator

Kate Reading is an Audie Award–winning narrator and has received thirty Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She is also a theater actor in the Washington, DC, area and has been a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company since 1987. Her work onstage has been recognized by the Helen Hayes Awards Society, among others. She and her husband live in Hyattsville, Maryland, with their two children.