• The Summer Tree

  • Fionavar Tapestry, Book 1
  • By: Guy Gavriel Kay
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 13 hrs and 5 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (154 ratings)

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The Summer Tree  By  cover art

The Summer Tree

By: Guy Gavriel Kay
Narrated by: Simon Vance
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Publisher's summary

Two-time Aurora Award-winning author Guy Gavriel Kay has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award three times.

In the first book of his Fionavar Tapestry series, five college students meet a wizard who takes them to the heart of the first of all worlds - a place called Fionavar. The students soon discover that they have been pre-ordained as part of the pattern called the Fionavar Tapestry - and if they don't fulfill their destinies, the world will suffer devastating consequences.

©2001 Guy Gavriel Kay (P)2020 Recorded Books

What listeners say about The Summer Tree

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My favorite trilogy.

I revisit this trilogy every few years. Love, honor, friendship, good versus evil. What more can you ask for?

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9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Mediocre

The summer tree

The start is hokey. It lacks cohesive premise or platform. A magician and a dwarf show up from another world to, presumably, a world with most magic and a world comparatively more modern - the difference between 1750 and 1985 if I had to take a guess.
This magician and dwarf whisk 5 college kids off to another world like it’s the most normal thing in the world.
Once they arrive in the other world, again, dark ages compared to where these kids came from, they fit just fine - they can ride horses, do acrobatics, etc - as if that’s normal for modern day college kids. In fact, they pass off so much as just normal that it distracts from the story, it’s extremely hard to buy in.

The dialogue is also an issue. The characters lack depth even though there a frequent, desperate grasps at giving the characters more dimension, they come off awkward, random, and pathetic. Again, making it hard to buy in to the story… also extremely juvenile and annoying.

The sex is gratuitous and random. Not that it’s explicit, because it’s not, but it’s also normal for people to galavant across worlds and just fuck everybody all the time. I’m all for sexual freedom and a HUGE fan of Jaqueline Cary, (if you haven’t read the Kushiels Legacy series and all books in that universe, you should), but the sex in this book is frivolous and pointless, adds nothing of value to the story and usually comes across as a pathetic attempt of the author or editor to grasp reader attention (“sex sells”).
For those who claim to have been swept away to Fionavar, I daresay this is the only work of (or, rather attempt at) high fiction they’ve been exposed to and know nothing of Tolkien, Lewis, G.R.R. Martin, etc). Trust me, I would have LOVED to have been swept away to this realm, that’s what I’m ALWAYS on the look out for on audible, but unfortunately, this book just lacks to much to do any serious sweeping.
I know no one is perfect and I’ve never written a novel or any kind of book myself, but I feel like all of these issues are obvious from the outset and with just a little more work, this could have been a great book.
The best story line was David’s, the trip to Fionavar should have led with this in my opinion, it would have gotten the commitment needed to keep pace with tracking the other 7 characters’ stories a little easier. Unfortunately, David’s story didn’t start until the last hour or two of the book, so up to that point it was a challenge to stay focused on everything that was going on.
I’d say this is a mediocre attempt at high fantasy, in more artistic hands, this book could have been much better, but I’m going to download the second book and see if the book levels out and holds my attention like the last two hours of this one did or if it’s back to more chaos and annoying incongruities.

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5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Made me wish for a longer commute

Beautifully written and narrated, my hour long work commute transported me to Fionovar, and wished I never had to leave!

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I don't get why this has such good reviews

I listened over 1/4 of the book and there are so many details missing, there are very few details given and it goes on and on.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Okay

It was not the best GGK has written the story was not that thrilling. I didn’t like or care about any of the characters. I really didn’t care what happened to any of them
The plot sounded intriguing but the execution was not that great

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I truly REGRET wasting a credit on this story!

I rarely write harsh reviews but I mean, what do some writers think?! The story starts from some event at University of Toronto, making it seem like it is a reasonable story. Then suddenly the characters jump into a portal and into a different realm where we learn magic exists and time moves faster. Then the writer expects us to accept everything. Suddenly there are dwarves, seers, magicians, werewolves, monsters in bottles, etc., and it just goes on and on. There is even an effort to support women's rights (unrelated but true) and I think this effort has resulted in just the opposite, making the reader assume manly and womanly labels for the characters.

I mean, why do some authors think they can say "this a different world than Earth, so I can bend any rules I want, create anything I want and the reader will simply enjoy it"?
Think about Stephen King for instance. His novels are also based on fantasy, but he makes you believe they can be true! He doesn't just write any imagination that comes to his mind hoping the reader will enjoy it. Go read "Fire starter" or "The institute", or "IT" though it is horror story and you'll see what I mean.

One last thing; you hear many familiar names in this book as if the author could not think of other names than the ones that are already famous. I listened to half but could not finish it. If names such Gandalf and Neo appear in the second half I won't be surprised!

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

why, why why oh why?

it’s a good story …it has a lot of things that are similar to other books and authors but I guess that’s fantasy! “there’s nothing new under the sun” as the saying goes…but why, why all the weird accents? Scottish and Irish and Jewish and I’m not really sure what some of the other ones were but it actually made me laugh at places where I probably shouldn’t of been laughing :-/
so if you can get past that, overall, it’s a good start to a Trilogy and the last third of the book is a little easier to bear because now you’ve become accustomed to the narration.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good story

The book is one I’ve enjoyed since first reading it. The narrator does a good job. Some voices seem unlike the written characters, but are easily distinguished.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Takes a while to build up

If you can get through the first third of the story, and not get too distracted by the multitude of different names and plot lines, the second and especially the last third of the book, make up for it. In many parts, the prose was beautiful, the imagery and word choice warranting a reread. A solid contribution to the genre. I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the trilogy.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

dear God the Scottish accents!

why why why why?... beautiful narration absolutely ruined by the cringeworthy Scottish accents used for Risers

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