Guy Gavriel Kay has to be one of my favourite authors.
I discovered him in 2005 in Montreal: I wanted to read some fantasy, different from Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, which were my go-to books in case of boredom. I needed something new. In a bookstore I go and straight to the fantasy section with one of my good friends. I asked the sales person to give me something that had the depth of LOTR and the easy style of HP. She right away gave me two names: Guy Gavriel Kay and Philip Pullman. I had already read His Dark Materials , in French so I went for Kay. And have never regretted it. I actually have a signed copy of The Fionavar Tapestry, since it was a new edition that had been presented in the very same bookstore a few weeks prior. Apparently. And as you can see from the photo, I have a few more books from him: I have them all except his poetry book, which I never bought for some obscure reason.
Anyway I devoured the book; I loved the characters, I enjoyed their arcs, I laughed and I cried. I couldn’t put it down. I read it in a week: the three books that compose the Tapestry: The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, The Darkest Road. There are things that are left unanswered, which I enjoyed the most. I loved how it is similar and yet entirely different to what I had read until then. Although it is not my favourite Kay book, it is the book that introduced me to his writing and his body of work. I loved it because it was reminiscent of LOTR without being a carbon copy. I loved the depths of the mythology, how it fed on different traditions and how they somehow seamlessly intertwined to create a powerful narrative. Not a perfect one some would say, but very much enjoyable and immersive.
The characters are believable: not perfect, relatable. Compelling… I loved that I was surprised by some twists that were foreshadowed but not so overtly that it was making it easy to guess. I was thrown off by some of the author’s choices, shocked… and I loved every moment of it. Well… not every moment; some were just too sad, too raw. All of that made the book a success for me. I would advise anyone to read it; in many ways, it’s lighter in style than LOTR but as dense and engaging in terms of story telling.
I re-read the book a few weeks ago… and it’s always a great read. Pick it up.