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Publisher's Summary

The Summer Tree is the first novel of Guy Gavriel Kay's critically acclaimed fantasy trilogy, The Fionavar Tapestry. Five university students embark on a journey of self-discovery when they enter a realm of wizards and warriors, gods and mythical creatures - and good and evil....

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    316
  • 4 Stars
    186
  • 3 Stars
    104
  • 2 Stars
    44
  • 1 Stars
    32

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    285
  • 4 Stars
    137
  • 3 Stars
    59
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    9

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    265
  • 4 Stars
    123
  • 3 Stars
    76
  • 2 Stars
    34
  • 1 Stars
    23
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very different from Tigana

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.

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Pretty good.

Just wish the narrator would pause between sections. Made it s bit difficult to follow. Otherwise I enjoyed this story. Downloading the next.

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  • NickyB
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 07-04-16

Wonderful story draws you in and on

Just wonderful! The story draws you in and on. About to start the next one now.

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Great story well read

Love this story and Simon Vance is a masterful narrator for it. Looking forward to the next book.

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Multi-faceted, Multi-Character, Saga

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.

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  • Story

Love It!

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.

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I just couldn't care about the characters.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

More interesting characters and better story development.

Would you ever listen to anything by Guy Gavriel Kay again?

I'd have to sample it first.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Simon Vance is the reason I chose this book. He did what he could with what he had before him.

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  • Story

Fantastic writing.

What did you like best about The Summer Tree? What did you like least?

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.

Who was your favorite character and why?

There are a number of well written characters in this story. I have difficulty picking a favorite.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

For the most part.

Do you think The Summer Tree needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Of course it does. It ends on a virtual cliffhanger.

Any additional comments?

I prefer the story and narration of Tigana, but if this is Kay's first book, he could have done much worse!

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  • M. Rosen
  • Santa Barbara, CA USA
  • 04-06-16

Not as mature as his other books

Would you try another book from Guy Gavriel Kay and/or Simon Vance?

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.

Any additional comments?

Good narration

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  • Story

Many years later, still a favorite.

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.