Customer Reviews for

The Summer Tree (Fionavar Tapestry #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Comment on sabin's 2 star review

First off...to anyone considering this series, it's fantastic and rates in the top 5 (quite possibly #1) of books I've read in my lifetime. The characters are wonderful and compelling, as is the story. With regard to a few of the comments below saying that Kay took ...
First off...to anyone considering this series, it's fantastic and rates in the top 5 (quite possibly #1) of books I've read in my lifetime. The characters are wonderful and compelling, as is the story. With regard to a few of the comments below saying that Kay took much of his ideas from the LOTR and from Donaldson's Covanant series though...What you are reading (the book in your hands) was a recent reprint published in 2001. The original series was published in 1984 (first book) and finished in 1986. Originally, the Covanant series was published in 1981, but recieved very little press until 1986 when it was reissued. So I'll give it the possiblity that Kay lifted some ideas from it. Given this though...the idea of people from our world travelling to another world was broached at least 30 years earlier by CS Lewis in the Chronicles of Narnia, which I think has more similarity to Kay and Donaldson's work than either of them have to each other. I enjoyed Donaldson's work, but I wouldn't say that it's achingly similar Kay's work...even if we discount that one is much more along a single person journey of discovery while the other is more of a fellowship sort of thing. As for the Lord of the Rings. It's not to be surprised to find similarities between Kay's work and Tolkien's. Most fantasy has fallout from Tolkein...he covered much of the territory in fantasy (Lord Foul is very similar to Sauron, just as the Dark One in the Wheel of Time is similar to Sauron...it's hard to escape the theme of a central great evil One). Also, Kay co-edited the Silmarillion in the mid-70's with Christopher Tolkien, so I'm sure some influence leaked in there. On the other hand, Kay draws *very* strongly and obviously from Norse, Celtic and Arthurian myth for many of his gods and characters. Tyr, Fenris, The Lady of Shalot, Odin, Loki all make veiled appearances in the Fionovar Tapestry. This is something Tolkien did too, however to a much lesser (or at least, less obvious) extent. My *personal* opinion though is that incorporation of myth into books often strengthens the story since we have a strong undercurrent of myth in our culture. The incorporation of myth only serves to strengthen our ties with the story because it has a familiarity and undercurrent we are already bound to (classic use of the Heroic Cycle is another big one...starting way back in Greek Tragedy and continuing forever and hugely visible everywhere...including Star Wars).

posted by Anonymous on January 18, 2003

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Questionable

This book was very highly recommended to me. However, I found that it was mildly enjoyable if you were in the right mood, and that was about it. The characters were far too perfect. I couldn't really relate to any of them. There was also too much history and no...
This book was very highly recommended to me. However, I found that it was mildly enjoyable if you were in the right mood, and that was about it. The characters were far too perfect. I couldn't really relate to any of them. There was also too much history and not enough plot development. The main highlight was the style in which it was written. Some sections seemed liked the author was trying too hard, but others were really truly beautiful. In short, I think Kay should have been a poet, not a novelist.

posted by Anonymous on February 18, 2006

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2004

    Interesting ideas, Bad prose

    It was with great eagerness and anticipation that I picked up The Summer Tree. Kay as an author had been highly recommended to me and I had enjoyed Tigana very much. But when I began reading I was shocked. The ideas were good but I found the manner in which they were put forth was confusing at best. I got the feeling that Kay was trying too hard. Trying to hard to make the story fascinating but giving you as little information as possible, trying too hard to make the characters real but giving them too many issues. I felt so in the dark about the entire thing that it was difficult to enjoy. All the elements of Fionavar that could easily have been explained for the reader's benefit(there were five characters from earth that could have been the vehicles for those explainations), he spoke of only vaguely. The result is that I'm left will a million questions (which will of course keep me reading the trilogy) but little satisfaction.

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