i read this series many, MANY years ago and it always remained among my favorites. The audio book narrator is talented and adds a certain charm of his own to the story.
Great tolkien-derrived fantasy world with a modern twist. Great characters and plot. Only gripe is the Canadian accents which you get used to. But other than that Simon Vance is my favorite voice actor to date!
I liked this series more than I initially expected. The literary device at the beginning to bring the charterers from"our" world to the alternative fantasy world was a little clunky. And lets face the world building without JRR Tolkien would not have happened, The dwarves and the characters who were in effect the Elves, even to some of the details was not quite copy and paste but pretty darn close. But what fantasy, especially high adventure fantasy doesn't owe Tolkien? Some are more inclined to use it for inspiration while others need to mine Middle Earth a tad more specifically. As a story I liked the characters, they developed as the story progressed, I cared what happened to them and the magic was cool. That seems to be a good way to spend 40 hours of audio time.. I like the longer stories and I would recommend this one.
Great story with all the richness and depth one expects from Guy Gavriel Kay's work. However, I found this one quite difficult to follow. So much so that I repeatedly lost the plot entirely if my attention was diverted in the slightest. I'm an enormous fan of Simon Vance, yet he seemed to struggle with the "North American" accent, leaving some dialogue a tad wooden. Neither were deal breakers by any means, but listeners should be prepared to experience something that requires a bit more patience than anticipated from this particular collaboration.
This is one of the books that I will never lose. I read the Fionavar Tapestry at least once a year and have since my 20''s. Classic high fantasy that compares with Tolkien and Martin with characters that you end up really caring for. Kay is a wordsmith of the old school, the language is lyrical and the images unforgettable.
I was inveigled into reading this fantasy book by a blog who was a fan of Diana Gabaldon, and said that this was as good. It isn't.
I can read books with absurdities in the plot, like Outlander. Of course we can't time travel, it's fiction. However the characters are deep and rounded. The discourse is educated and in parts very funny. The humor is often created by the idiosyncrasies of the characters knocking bits off each other. Outlander has a Shakespearian quality to it's balance, and we also learn a lot of history which isn't fiction
I can read fantasy, I just have to tell myself that it is a space opera with magic instead of dilithium crystals. It does tend to suffer from the same draw backs as sci fi, the first quarter of the book is used to set up the world we are living in. This tends to remove the space needed to round the characters. They are often paper thin.
"The summer tree" has characters which are not exactly paper thin, but not much thicker than cardboard, and by half way through the book I found that I didn't give a damn what happened to them. This is in spite of Simon Vance, a narrator I very much admire and who does his valiant best with almost no material.
Top 10 (I've read a little over 20). In my opinion it was not quite as good as Tigana or The Lions of Al-Rassan, but as good or better than Under Heaven, those four being the only other Kay books I have read so far (all on audio).
Diarmuid - that guy is cool as a cucumber.
Any of the Dalrei - the accent Vance uses (Norse?) is just so awesome.
Most of the time, yes. A few parts of the book dragged a little bit for me, e.g. some of Paul's scenes and most of the scenes with Ysanne and Kim.
Favorite part of the book: Part III - The Children of Ivor. Will definitely move on to read The Wandering Fire and The Darkest Road (along with everything else Kay has written).
This is one of my absolute, all-time-favorite books/series. I adore the lyrical approach Mr. Kay used, and it can absolutely suck you in such that before you blink you're riding with the DalRei or giggling over cold water thrown over a balcony. But best of all the way your emotions ride with the gut clenching sorrow, the sparkling joy, or above all the incredible peace that comes from both and all with characters who give you a personally human glimpse at what it could mean to be legendary.
While I wouldn't mind it at all, it is a bit long for me to do in one sitting alone. Especially given the emotional impact of my responses to the story, it is something to be savored one bite and one flavor burst at a time.
don't know if my tastes have just changed or if this just doesn't translate well to audio. I read this 20 years ago and adored it. but this recording is stilted and pretencious. The place and people names just sound silly. Simon Vance is a great narrator but he this is not one of his better performances. The worst is the North American accents, US or Canadian. It was distracting everytime one of those characters spoke, and the women were even worse. It set my teeth on edge. I know British actors can do NA accents but apparently not Mr. Vance. I generally like his narration but NOT this one. I think I'll read the last two books in paperback and save my credits. Some books are improved by audio, but this one suffered on many levels.