Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book Review - The Summer Tree

The Summer Tree by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Summer Tree
Review by Jacqui Slaney

I could not write reviews without mentioning at least one of this author’s works. So I chose the first one that I read called The Summer Tree, this is the description:
 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.

This is a first in a trilogy called The Fionavar Tapestry, as in any first book, it starts relatively slow. The book begins in our world and you meet the five main characters and get a slight insight into who they are and how they relate to each other. The move to Fionavar is occurs relatively quickly and the 5 humans at first think they have been picked at random to take part in a celebration for a King in Fionavar, but later finds that each of them has a different part to play in this world.

As with any fantasy novel you will find similarities with other books, there are Elves and goblins or lios alfar and svart, as they are known here. There are wizards and gods both good and bad, magic, blood and death. There is also a prevalent Arthurian theme running through the story as well.

As I said, the story starts slow and I found it a bit hard to accept that you could be shown this other world and accept it and then go there as easily as these five people apparently do. You do need to persevere with the book though as it is worth it, as the story picks up, the characters become less wooden and stilted the further into the story you go.

The writing really starts to flow, and speaking for myself, I enjoyed it, there is plenty of action to keep the plot moving, and you start to care about the characters and the things that are happening to them, as people do get hurt.  As I mentioned in other reviews I am not a great fan of magic being used in books just for the sake of it. However, in this story it is cleverly used with the mages and their sources and the priestesses with their blood magic.

Some reviews call this a cheap copy of the Lord of the Rings, but this is a world in it’s own right and speaking as someone who is trying to write a book themselves I would be happy if anything I wrote turned out half as good as this one. I read this book and the rest of the series years ago, but I can honestly say I can still enjoy it today and the battered set of paperbacks still sits happily on my bookshelf. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy, as I am sure that they will not be disappointed

8 out of 10