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The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay

Review by noire

The Summer Tree
The Wandering Fire
The Darkest Road

The World
It starts off here on earth, then travels to Fionavar, the truest world of all the dimensions. A Typical fantasy world with Elf-like beings, drawves, wizards, priestesses, and Gods who are forbidden to intercede in the affairs of man.

The Plot
Five college students from Toronto (Kevin, Kim, Dave, Jennifer, Paul) are brought to Fionavar by a mage and his source, ostentatiously as part of the celebration for the king's 50 anniversary. However things aren't all roses in Fionavar where the Unweaver, the badest of the bad, an evil God bent on world-domination, is about to break free of his centuries-old prison.

The Review
Kay draws heavily on celtic myths (especially King Arthur) to create a rich and enjoyable fantasy. It's a little slow to start as I don't particularly care for people-from-our-world-drawn-into-an-alternate-dimension-to-save-everything stories but Kay's writing style, the attention to detail, the depth of his characters, and the way he cuts between PoV, playing fast and loose with chronology, to build suspence made the trilogy a fascinating page-turner that I simply couldn't put down. I think I would have gotten more out of them had I a greater familiarity with the King Arthur Legends but enough was explained that I didn't feel like I was missing anything important to the plot. Kay's earliest work lacks the depth of his later "historical fictions" but the writing techniques that make him such a wonderful author are clearly visable, if not yet polished.

The only downside to the story is that, because he draws so heavily from traditional stories, there's an element to the plot that feels like it's been done before. Like he's retelling a familiar story with new twists rather than telling a new story. This is, however, offset by the feeling that it was a deliberate stylistic choice.

The Grade
4 out of 5 amulets

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