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Having read The Summer Tree a few months back, and noting the result of my 2010 reading poll, I thought I would tackle the other two books of the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy together. As I've said before, I am a huge fan of Kay's later work, but as with The Summer Tree, I felt that in these earlier books he is still getting his talent together. The explicit resurrection of Arthur and Lancelot (and Guinevere reincarnated as a Canadian) sat rather more uneasily in Kay's fantasy world than his previous plundering of Celtic and Germanic folklore, and the various plot strands are not always easy to entangle, particularly in The Wandering Fire.

But Kay shows early on that he is prepared to kill off key characters, so there is an underlying feeling of suspense as we wonder who will live and who will die. And the series is lifted by the climax: epic final battle, self-sacrifice, and a decent resolution. I am not sure that I would recommend the trilogy generally, but it is a decent enough portal fantasy in its own right, and of course points the way for Kay's subsequent triumphs.

Top LibraryThing UnSuggestion for both books: My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 18th, 2010 12:06 pm (UTC)
Having read those books initially at the tender age of about 17, they remain among my favorites. THE DARKEST ROAD can still make me cry, which is a claim very few books can lay. (I met GGK a few years ago and said his books made me cry, which I meant as a compliment. He said, gloomily, "I'm afraid that's what my tombstone is going to say. 'He made me cry.'" *laughs*)
Jan. 18th, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)
I loved book one! Cried, cried, cried. But in 2 and 3 the Arthurian stuff turned me off.

Love Tigana and A Song for Arbonne.
Jan. 18th, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC)
Coincidentally, I've just read these for the first time. I enjoyed them without actually thinking they were any good. The leap in quality between this trilogy and Tigana is amazing--Kay must have needed to write the Fionavar books to get the derivative crap out of his system.

The protagonists took their situation really remarkably well. Their unquestioning lack of surprise at anything that happened to them was a wonder to behold. By the end of The Summer Tree I was wondering if they might be a little crazy.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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