I would have given this one 3.5 stars if I had been able to, but please don't take me wrong. I love this series and found the narration here to add si..Show More »gnificantly to my enjoyment. Many characters are introduced in this, the first book of the Fionavar Tapestry. Simon Vance gives us a clean and easy to follow interpretation of the, possibly too many, different regional groups that we meet herein.
If you like books that delve in to character development, Kay very rarely disappoints. Additionally, the world he creates is different enough to be fantasy without being so strange that it becomes completely ridiculous. Here, not only do we get a world that becomes the setting for the story, but a glimpse of things to come and an interweaving of that world's legends with our own.
In true Kay fashion, we are introduced to so many different characters and groups that is can become confusing. The narration, giving each of these characters and groups a unique voice, should go a long way to saving this one for those who haven't read it in print. Also, and true to many a first-of-trilogy tomes, a great deal of this book is spent introducing us to people, concepts, lore and mythology of the world within the story. This can make it feel a bit long at times, mostly because we don't yet know why much of it is important.
If you can read this with the understanding that it is the first book of three, it is a wonderful introduction to story and character. However, without reading the "rest" of the story, this book does fall a bit short of being able to stand on its own merit.
I do believe that this trilogy is worth reading and that the story and characters become more compelling with each successive book. I also think that you need to go in to this one with the understanding that it is the first 1/3 of a story and so much of it is spent giving us enough knowledge to follow and enjoy the second and third books.
It???s been 1?? years since I read The Summer Tree, Guy Gavriel Kay???s first novel and the first in his Fionavar Tapestry. I mentioned in the review ..Show More »for that book that I???m an adoring fan of Kay???s later stand-alone novels but that I found The Summer Tree derivative and heavy. I would have happily skipped its sequel, The Wandering Fire, but I had already purchased it at Audible, so I thought I???d give it a chance to win me over. Simon Vance, the narrator, is one of my favorites and his bad Canadian accents were toned down this time, which made him pleasant to listen to, as usual.
In this installment, the five college students are back home in Toronto after Kim whisked them out of Fionavar when she heard Jennifer being tortured after being raped by the dark lord, Rakoth Maugrim. Jennifer became pregnant and has refused to get rid of the baby. Will the son of the dark lord be evil? Are genes destiny, or might love overcome their effect? Meanwhile, the unnatural winter grinds on in Fionavar. The people are starving and the minions of the dark lord are attacking, so Kim goes to Stonehenge to summon Arthur Pendragon and takes him and the rest of the gang back to fight evil in Fionavar.
I felt pretty much the same way about The Wandering Fire as I did about The Summer Tree. Here we get to know our heroes a little better, but they still remain rather shallow even though we spend plenty of time viewing events from their perspectives and watching them act and speak with an abundance of emotion. The villains are similarly thin. The story advances, though not much has been accomplished by the end, and I had the familiar feeling that The Fionavar Tapestry could have been done in two books instead of three.
The story, though derivative (there are so many Tolkienesque elements here), is intriguing, but the addition of King Arthur (and the foreshadowed love triangle with Jennifer and Lancelot) is strange and seems out of place. There are bright patches of humor and wit, especially in the blossoming romance between Sharra and Diarmuid, which has been my favorite plotline in this series.
My main problem with The Fionavar Tapestry is that it???s so unrelievedly heavy and histrionic. The characters, even those from modern Toronto, express almost every thought in intense turgid prose. Everything that happens ??? every conversation, every fight, every sex scene, every meal ??? is treated as if it???s the climax of the story. It???s often beautiful, but frankly, it???s exhausting. This is an area where GGK has markedly improved over the years. His later novels are still full of passion, but in these earlier books, each character feels as if he???s likely to explode at any moment if the temperature in Fionavar ever gets above freezing.
Overall, then, The Wandering Fire is a rather conventional high fantasy that suffers from excess weight and pomposity, but it???s easy and exciting to see the early stages of Guy Gavriel Kay???s later greatness here. Fans who are interested in this author???s evolution will want to be familiar with The Fionavar Tapestry, especially since its mythology is alluded to in his later novels.
It's a shame Guy Gavriel Kay didn't write his version of the Arthur legend. It's here, along with so many other bits and pieces of other mythologies ..Show More »(familiar and not so familiar). And that's the problem with "The Fionavar Tapestry" trilogy; there's just too much! It's impossible to completely follow or fully feel involved in the myriad threads of this tapestry. The reader (or listener) finds hints of Arthur, of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, of Greek, Norse, Roman, and Celtic myth.
Kay's language, always poetic, ranges from moving and high-flown to faintly ridiculous. Simon Vance presents it all with conviction, but the relentless drama and absolute lack of humor in this saga makes it, in the end, tedious and a little pretentious.
I will remain a fan of Guy Gavriel Kay, but I cannot recommend committing to "The Fionavar Tapestry".