Imagine: at a wizard’s request, you leave your life in Toronto to visit Fionavar — the “first of all worlds.” Your mission: to help the populace defeat baddy extraordinaire Rakoth Maugrim, who by threatening Fionavar, plans to propagate his evil across every world. This is the opening premise of The Fionavar Tapestry, Guy Gavriel Kay’s rip-roaring, epic fantasy series.
A classic tale of good vs. evil, The Fionavar Tapestry is “brightly woven” (as they say in Fionavar). It’s well-paced and meaty, a page-turner that transported me from the wilderness of Canada to a magical place where I lost track of time, fully immersed in Kay’s prose, the complex and introspective characters, and a plot packed with poignancy and intrigue.
I noticed some similarities with Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series (small band of youthful do-gooder protagonists, a lady sect of priestesses similar to Jordan’s Aes Sedai). But where Jordan’s characters are flat, dull, and often clueless, populating a plot that meanders for hundreds of pages, Kay’s characters feel real — they think deeply and they’re self aware. They gain real insight and grow.
Weighty themes await you in Fionavar. The responsibility and consequences of personal choice and the myriad costs of power — two ideas woven throughout the novels — make for great tension and above all, a very satisfying read. The worst thing about The Fionavar Tapestry is that it ended.
I laughed, I teared up, I cheered, and now I wholeheartedly recommend this brightly woven series to you.
July and August, 2016