The Summer Tree, Fionavar Tapestry Book One: classic fantasy

I was thrilled to find a tattered, used copy of The Summer Tree, by Guy Gavriel Kay while looting used bookstores in the U.K. I saved the book for my flight and it was the perfect escape from a terrible trip home. It had been years since I've read Kay's epic, sweeping, amazing fantasy wherein 5 young Canadians visit Fionavar, the one true world.

The Summer Tree introduces us to a sweeping cast of characters, expertly done and with detail reminiscent of Tolkien. Unsurprisingly, Kay worked as Christopher Tolkien's assistant in editing the Silmarillion, and the association shines through. Kay builds a world so rich and full of detail that I simply get lost in it. The detailed backstory behind every blade of grass is perfect, and while sometimes obvious, always add emotional weight to the story.

From Matt Soren and Loren Silvercloak to the lios alfar, princes and priests, magical creatures and gods, this story is dense! It timed out perfectly for me to finish as the plane landed. I was heartbroken to see no e-book edition of the rest of Kay's fantastic trilogy. I've ordered them and can't wait to finish. The story is better than I remembered, and that is saying a lot!

Summer Tree, The: Book One of the Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay

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  1. Oh yeah, Fionavar Tapestry trilogy, she's a good'r.

  2. Only Amber is true, all else is shadow.

  3. I loved those books, and even Kay's less than excellent novels (i.e. Last Light of the Sun) are page turners. You can tell he just finished working on the Silmarillion with Tolkein's kid when he wrote the Fionavar Tapestry though.

    The Sarantine Mosaic remains one of my all time favourite historical/fantasy series, really epic page turning awesomeness.

  4. Oh man. I loved the Fionavar trilogy. I've read through it 4 or 5 times. One of those books was the first time I can remember a book making me cry (though, I can't remember which one now). It's been about 5 years since I last visited, but now I know exactly what book I'm going to read after I finish my current one.

  5. Cunk says:

    I read the first two (I think -- maybe it was just the first) quite some time ago but never was able to finish because I couldn't find the remaining book(s) anywhere. I was a little put off by some of the tired tropes he leaned a little too heavily on. If I remember correctly it had a kindly, absent-minded wizard and a humble dwarf companion who was actually an exiled king or something. A lot of it felt like he was committing a D&D campaign to print. However his writing style was so compelling that I wound up seeking out and enjoying most of what he's written since.

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