Hmmmm, Book 1 in the Fionavar Tapestry, The Summer Tree, is a strange one for me. It doesn’t surprise me to find out that this book was first published in the 80s. It neither has the flavour of the modern epic fantasies or the classics. Though the narrator of the story reminds me a lot of the narrator in Chronicles of Narnia. The narrator is kind of in your face constantly giving off asides.
Ok so five Canadian university students are approached by a mage from another world, Loren Silvercloak. Loren tells the five students that he wants to take them back to his world and show them off as a gift to his king that has reigned for fifty years. Loren does whatever he does to convince the five people that he isn’t just some crazy person and so all five agree to go, one of them reluctantly.
Surprise, surprise, the five students, Jen, Kim, David, Kevin, and Paul, aren’t really there to help celebrate the king’s reign. They in fact have really important roles to play in the struggle between good and evil on Fionavar, the first world that all other worlds, including the one the students are from, are modeled after.
Rakoth Maugrim has been trapped under a mountain for a thousand years. Everyone can feel his prison is breaking and are thus preparing for war. Spoiler alert ****Rakoth is free by the end of book 1 ****.
The reason I am not surprised that the book was first published in the 80s is because the book does a lot of things that authors would cringe at nowadays. They would wag their fingers and say that it is wrong. The passage of time, for example. Frequently throughout the book you have a lot of, “while this was happening, at the exact same time on the other side of the world this is happening”. The author literally phrases it like that. Breaking the 4th wall is something else that authors will tell you you should never do. I mentioned it earlier how the narrator is constantly talking to the reader. Lastly, there is a ton of info dumping in a not so subtle way. “Oh, you are new in this world? Let me tell you a story……..”
All in all, I must reserve my judgement of this book until I read the final 2 books in the series. It’s hard to judge based on this single book here because it is rather short and so clearly just back story for the rest of the series. I do have a feeling though that I will like the series very much.