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
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
I absolutely loved everything about Guy Gavriel Kay???s stand-alone novels Tigana and A Song for Arbonne, so it was with great excitement that I downloaded the newly released audio version of The Summer Tree, the first novel in his famous The Fionavar Tapestry.
In The Summer Tree we meet Loren Silvercloak, a wizard who has traveled from the world of Fionavar to Toronto to fetch five university students (three guys and two girls) who are needed to help fight an ancient evil force that has been bound under a mountain for centuries. It is awakening, has adversely affected the weather, and threatens the future of Fionavar. The students are transported to the capital city of Caer Paravel ??? no wait, wrong book ??? Paras Derval and each discovers that (s)he has an important role to play in this strange land???s upcoming upheaval.
If I had read The Summer Tree when it was first published in 1984, perhaps I would have enjoyed it more. Or at least I would have been more forgiving back then, but at this point in my life, with many years of reading fantasy epics behind me, I just had a hard time mustering up much enthusiasm for this story.
Besides the parallels to Tolkien and Lewis which you will have already noticed, we???ve got dwarves who live under mountains, elf-like creatures who live in the forests, names which require hyphens, apostrophes, or other funny symbols, nasty creatures who are minions of the bad guy, a girl who finds out she???s the next seer, a hero who must sacrifice himself to save the blighted land???. etc. Much of it is derived from ancient myth and legend and it's presented in Kay???s eloquent and slightly overwrought style. This will likely please those who are looking for that sort of weighty epic, but to me it just felt heavy. I have no doubt that this is caused by reading this too late in my fantasy vita
Paul in Boston
Weak and God Awful!
I bought this book based upon the glowing reviews. The reviews are without merit.
Five hours was enough!
Is it possible to give this less than on star, or how about negative stars. What a waste of one credit. I struggled to listen to 4 hours of this before giving up. It's just truely not believable. These college kids that are supposed to be so smart ask no questions before just leaving earth for some alternate universe? Characters are all two dimensional, self serving, annoying, naive, or aloof, and stiff. The prose just goes on and on, just get to the point man! GGK has a great command of the english language and writes in almost a poetic style, but i just can't stomach it. I think the narrator is a little annoying too. Stick with Tolkien. You can't reinvent the wheel people. This is my problem with fantasy. No body's gonna be able to do it better than the professor so just write something else.
Simon Vance is one of my favorite narrators, but this book almost made me hate him. I realized I was blaming him for a story that was meaningless, poorly written, and just plain boring. I stopped just a few hours into the book out of sheer annoyance. I hate wasting credits...I wish Audible would institute a return policy.
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