Simon Vance does a great job of giving each of the many main characters their own unique voice. Kay is my very favorite author, and Vance does justice to his range, from light humor to tragedy to luminous high dramatic prose.
He went far too far with the description if the all-encompassing rape of a main character. This ruins a near perfect series as a recommendation for younger readers, or indeed, those with a great sensitivity towards such things (and we should all have this). He finds, at times, a great deal of truth through and past the experience of pain. The title of the book involves one such episode. But there cannot be justification for the level of horror he details, and the books cannot be recommended because of it. I truly love these books; I once let my self-censor not consider this scene when I gave these as a gift. Be careful if you choose to read them, and thrice careful if you recommend them or give them as a gift. These are beautiful books.
The reader is very good, but choosing an Englishman to read a story with Canadian main characters seems almost a fantasy cliché. That said, he does have a beautiful voice and committed, professional style of reading, even if he can't do a North American accent.
Right up there with Lord of the Rings. This is beautifully written and the story will remain with you long after you've finished.
After listening to Tigana (same author and reader) I liked it so much that I bought this book. However, if you are as well looking for something like Tigana you will be disappointed, as was I. While Tigana had compelling villains, smart and relatable and with goals and purpose, in the summer tree we find a simple black and white world, were there villain is the super bad guy (god in this case) with the only purpose of being evil. It has its legion of orc-like beasts which of course are clearly evil as well so always know who you have to root for. This might be compelling for some, but it wasn't for me (specially after Tigana).
It is not necessarily a bad book, but there is little that compels me to continue this series.
I do not recommend this book if you are looking more books like Tigana.
I read this book on recommendation of a good friend. Due to a post traumatic stress injury I had to take time off from my usual genre of crime thrillers. I haven't read fantasy genre since HS in 1980/84 (The Hobbit). The book is divided into parts which is four stories within the story. I like that usually, and did like it here, but there are so many characters that I wish I had kept notes or printed out a copy of the character list.
Several reviewers have commented that they find it unbelievable that the five main characters could so easily accept their part in the beginning of the story. After starting the book over to re-read, I can see how some experiences of some of the five could have led the others to believe or want to believe.
I have no complaints about the writing or the audiobook as I switched back and forth between the two. I did slow the speed on the audiobook to .75 so that I could absorb words and names that I am unfamiliar with. It made the book longer while listening, but improved my attention and comprehension of an unfamiliar genre.
My one and only complaint is of the character Jennifer's storyline in this book which I am told is necessary to the trilogy. I will hope that is true since her story is the main story that brought me to tears. I recommend this book completely and I recommend the audiobook as well, since pronunciations of words found in this genre are different than in other genres, but was so enjoyable. I ended the book one day and the next started it over so I can have the characters and places engrained in my head before continuing the trilogy.