Review: The Summer Tree (The Fionavar Tapestry #1) ~ Guy Gavriel Kay

The Summer TreeThe first volume in Guy Gavriel Kay’s stunning fantasy masterwork.

Five men and women find themselves flung into the magical land of Fionavar, First of all Worlds. They have been called there by the mage Loren Silvercloak, and quickly find themselves drawn into the complex tapestry of events. For Kim, Paul, Kevin, Jennifer and Dave all have their own part to play in the coming battle against the forces of evil led by the fallen god Rakoth Maugrim and his dark hordes.

Guy Gavriel Kay’s classic epic fantasy plays out on a truly grand scale, and has already been delighting fans of imaginative fiction for twenty years.

4 Thumbs-UpI need to say upfront that this is a hard novel to get into and begin to feel a connection to its characters.  More times than enough the reader will be overcome by the feeling that the contents are all too familiar, and they would be right as it gives more than a passing nod to some of the better known epic fantasy novels out there; it fully embraces themes, countries and characters, but this isn’t a bad mark that I can hold against this book.

In the beginning all the characters are portrayed as being rather one-dimensional, their conversation is stilted and they almost appear to be awkward appearing on the pages of the book, but as the storyline progresses and the reader begins to learn more about these people they visibly develop and grow into true three-dimensional characters before the readers eyes, and a connection is made.  With a skilful hand the Author is able to turn trite and shallow characters into fascinating, enigmatic people the reader takes a real interest in.

The book itself is full of the modern and classic, the mystic and mysterious, tragedy and victory all set in the flowing and expansive locations of a fantasy world that weaves its spell and stretches the imagination with each page.  It doesn’t matter if the locales seem familiar; it is the way the Author takes the familiar and turns it into something new that makes this book wondrous.

So why only four thumbs; it just wasn’t long enough and this will mean I will definitely be picking up other books in this series to continue the adventure.  Yes, I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of the fantasy genre, and those who are looking for a new, but at the same time oddly familiar read.