It all began with a lecture that introduced five university students to a man who would change their lives, a wizard who would take them from Earth to the heart of the first of all worlds - Fionavar. And take them Loren Silvercloak did, for his need - the need of Fionavar and all the worlds - was great indeed.
And in a marvelous land of men and dwarves, of wizards and gods, five young people discovered who they were truly meant to be. For they are a long-awaited part of the pattern known as the Fionavar Tapestry, and only if they accepted their destiny would the armies of the Light stand any chance of surviving the wrath the Unraveller and his minions of darkness intend to unleash upon the world....
©2001 Guy Gavriel Kay; (P)2009 Penguin
This series never gets old - I've listened to it (and read it) many times. The narrator is great - never distracts and pulls you out of that other world. If you are looking for a story that is high and grand and will speak to your soul, this is it.
More interesting characters and better story development.
I'd have to sample it first.
Simon Vance is the reason I chose this book. He did what he could with what he had before him.
Old Bear likes the honey
The book is very well written. Kay is a fantastic wordsmith. There are bits of the tale that are slow however and I found myself distracted from the narrative at times.
There are a number of well written characters in this story. I have difficulty picking a favorite.
For the most part.
Of course it does. It ends on a virtual cliffhanger.
I prefer the story and narration of Tigana, but if this is Kay's first book, he could have done much worse!
I had just finished reading The Lions of Al Rassan by this same author and absolutely loved it, so I was excited to try another of his books and thought to start at the beginning of his writing journey. Mistake. This is an author showing much less maturity and style. There are occasional moments that are compelling, but not enough to sustain my interest in his theme.
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.
"Classic fantasy at its best."
I read The Summer Tree (and the rest of the Fionovar Tapestry) many years ago and absolutely loved it. Consequently, I was a little apprehensive about the audio version - worried that the story might not live up to my fond memories, or that the narration might not match my vision of the characters. My apprehension was unfounded on both counts. I really enjoyed listening to the story unfold - a bit like visiting an old friend and being made to feel totally at ease. Simon Vance is a wonderful narrator - and I particularly liked the way he used regional British accents for the races/characters in the stories. It felt right. This is a 'Tolkienesque' style fantasy series - a bit 'Fairy Tale', with its mythology and classic fantasy components (dwarves, mages, elf type creatures, horse-riders etc). Some suspension of belief is required - of course! There is nothing ground-breaking here, so don't expect to have your mind blown by an innovative story. In my opinion, however, it is really well written and has an interesting plot and characters; that's what makes it special. The Summer Tree is perhaps 'the slowest' of the trilogy. The Wandering Fire has more action and I found the end of the series (The Darkest Road) particularly moving. But then - I am a big softy. I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a good old classic Fantasy romp.
"A classic of the genre."
I first read The Summer Tree in the early 80's and have loved it ever since. At a time when fantasy literature was just becoming popular most books were either Tolkien rip offs or D&D clones, and often part of very predictable ongoing series. Kay, draws his inspiration from mythology, and although we find orcs (Svarts) elves (Lios Alfar) dwarves and other fantasy staples they are not the usual flat stereotypes. Kay brings a language style reminiscent of the Morte D'Arthur and weaves a magical tale that set a new standard for fantasy at the time.
Simon Vance is a great performer and brings the characters to life. Initially the accents and character voices felt strange, but only because I've read the book so many times and have my own versions in my head. I've yet to hear a bad reading from him.
"Okay, but nothing great to stand out"
No. I kept waiting for the characters to become interesting, and for the world-building to seem believable, but it never did.
The characters were very two-dimensional. They were given back-story to flesh them out, but then their history seemed a very one-line explanation to explain why they were a particular way. The characters were all definable by a few characteristics, and one event.The world-building felt as if the author had a very cool idea for a whole world, but didn't think hard enough about how it would affect things. For example, the world the book is set in (Fionavar) is linked to 'alternate' worlds, one of which being our own world. However, the characters in Fionavar constantly encounter problems that our world could trivially solve, but Fionavar seems to have no people interested in making any use at all out of the alternate worlds.
"Unbearably boring and complicated"
My husband and I tried really hard to get into this book. We failed and gave up after two hours of incomprehensible tedium.
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