I bought and read this book the first time when I was still in high school. I was working at the bookstore (gosh, that was the perfect job for me), when a woman came in and ordered the three books in this series in hardback form. Who buys books in hardback when they are available in paperback? The woman was, in retrospect, the epitome of a middle-aged science fiction fantasy reader, including the round and smiling parts.
When I placed her order, I ordered a second set of hardbound books for myself. I would argue one of my best book buying decisions ever.
This early Kay work has the perfect writing style, where he shows the reader instead of telling the reader. Some of his later works have lost this magic, though his last book recaptures some of that magic.
The last time I started to reread this book was on the road trip with Chris, so it's been a while. Reading it this time, however, was like slipping into a warm bath of comfort, like the act of coming home. I had not realized how much this book, and the series, shaped aspects of my life, always in subtle ways.
I strongly recommend this book and this series. I've loaned my copies out, always making sure to get them back. This series in one of my top three books of all time.
“No, he’s not all right. But I seem to be the only one who questions it. I think I’m becoming a pain in the ass to him. I hate it.”
“Sometimes,” his father said, filling the glass cups in their Russian - style metal holders, “a friend has to be that.”