The Darkest Road by Guy Gavriel Kay
Review by Jacqui Slaney
As I mentioned previously I have a second home at the hospital so am finding I am rereading many of my old favourite books. With this in mind, I grabbed this one off the shelf the other day knowing that I would be hours and that I could rely on forgetting a lot of what was going on around me with this story.
The young heroes from our own world have gained power and maturity from their sufferings and adventures in Fionavar. Now they must bring all the strength and wisdom they possess to the aid of the armies of Light in the ultimate battle against the evil of Rakoth Maugrim and the hordes of the Dark.
On a ghost-ship the legendary Warrior, Arthur Pendragon, and Pwyll Twiceborn, Lord of the Summer Tree, sail to confront the Unraveller at last. Meanwhile, Darien, the child within whom light and dark vie for supremacy, must walk the darkest road of any child of earth or stars.
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.
This is the third in the series of the Fionavar Tapestry and is my favourite. It sees the coming together of all the different story lines to what I think is a great finale.
The Arthurian theme, which built up gradually through the different books comes to a head with the three characters of Arthur Genevieve and Lancelot all coming together at the end.
It is hard talking about a book at the end of a series without putting in spoilers for those yet to read. I will therefore just say there are great characters: Darien for one and his search to find his own path, Diarmuid as always and his growth, the changes in Jaelle and Dave, and Pauls new found power and his ability to finally deal with his past.
There is a great deal of criticism of the series, some of which is unfair as people compare it to Tolkien and say that it is not as good. I would say that I agree with them yes it is not The Lord of the Rings, but then again I was not reading this series expecting it to be.
This is a good series, yes; it could have been done slightly better with the characters reactions to their transportation to another world being better handled.
This series is early on in Kays work though; there are others of his writings, which are far superior. I however have remained fond of the series and this book in particular for years, there is still enough skilful writing to keep your attention, in this book as well, the characters have grown and developed more depth to make the story seem more polished and satisfying to read.
For all its faults I would say read the series and do not give up with book one, I think you will be rewarded with the conclusion.
8 out of 10