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Group Reads Discussions 2011 > "Summer Tree" First Impressions *no spoilers*

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message 1: by Brad (new)

Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments The kick off point for our June Fantasy theme. Let the blood flow.

message 2: by Andre (new)

Andre (telyni) | 79 comments Awesome. Just as mysterious and evocative as I remember. And yes, there is some blood flowing almost right away.

I volunteered to help with the discussion, so does anyone mind if I create a couple more threads for particular topics I think would be interesting to discuss about this book?

message 3: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (breakofdawn) Oh hey, where have I been? I didn't realize this was our June read. Mayhap I'll have to squeeze it in! It's sitting on my shelf, ready and waiting.. I'll see what I can do :)

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Go for it, Andre :)

I got a few pages into this last night before sleep took me. Hopefully will get some serious reading done tonight.

message 5: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Okay I am seriously a day behind I could have sworn it was June 1st right now. I just got my copy today. Go ahead and make some threads Andre I'm sure you'll be great at it and I can't wait to jump in.

Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides (upsight) | 542 comments I finished re-reading this yesterday. I never noticed before how much this is a lot like a buddy movie, i.e. one in which male friendships are an important element. Having thought that, I don't think I can unthink it now. (Including about the big honking spoiler which happens in the second book.)

Also it seemed like there was a bit more Christian symbolism than I remembered. (Not complaining, just an observation.) Did anyone else see that, or am I imagining things?

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Which parts exactly, Sid?

message 8: by Brad (new)

Brad (judekyle) | 1640 comments Perhaps a thread should be started for just such Christian symbolism?

message 9: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine Me (Jasmineme) I just read the posting rules to the right of this box which means this is my first post in this group :D

I'll be reading this book later this month... I have a couple of books to go through first...

I've heard so many good things about Kay's books and this will be my first Key book...looking forward to it :)

message 10: by Amy (new)

Amy (amyhageman) | 60 comments This started slowly for me. During the first couple of chapters, I had a hard time summoning the mental energy to stick with the story. It really started to pick up in part two. I ended up staying up way too late to find out how things turned out for Paul. I'm now invested enough that I will read this (and probably the other two, since they're waiting for me on my shelf) but I'm not completely in love with it (yet).

message 11: by Coralie (new)

Coralie | 58 comments I am still waiting for my daughter to get back to me with our copy of the book, but she's in the middle of exams so I am not holding my breath. Until I see her I shall have to work on my memories.

message 12: by Kate (new)

Kate | 4 comments Eeee! I've always loved this series. The characters' relationships are very human, and while the plot is pretty standard good v. evil, it's still creative and enjoyable.

Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides (upsight) | 542 comments re: the Christian elements, I was thinking of how (view spoiler), and how the evil guy is also called Saithan. There were a few things that jumped out at me as maybes, but I'd have to go back and look at the book, because I foolishly didn't make a list. So it may be a few days before I can attempt to make a post.

This paper, from Kay's official web site, claims that this series uses Christian symbolism. Unfortunately, it's more about the good/evil/free will ideas there and in LOTR. But apparently I wasn't completely imagining things.

message 14: by Andre (new)

Andre (telyni) | 79 comments Snail in Danger (Sid) wrote: "re: the Christian elements..."

There is a separate thread for Christian symbolism now.

That's a very interesting paper though. I love the contrast made between Fionavar and LOTR and what that says about their treatment of free will and destiny.

message 15: by Gewbook (new)

Gewbook | 18 comments I've had a slow start on this one as well. At first I felt like I was in a cross between LOTR and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and it left me a bit disoriented. I spent a lot of time referring back to the map and character list, I think only because they were provided at the beginning and I felt I should already know rather than absorbing the information as I read. But at about 100 pgs in I'm much more invested in the story and most of the characters. I haven't quite learned enough about all of the five and why they are there to invest yet, but I believe that I will and I'm willing to read through to find out.

message 16: by Jan (new)

Jan | 4 comments As I get further into the book, there are parts I seem to remember mostly the descriptions of areas. At first it seemed like it was going to much of the pattern of moving into a "dungeon" from playing a game but so far it is holding together.

message 17: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 894 comments I started this yesterday and quickly read through the Overture and Part I: Silvercloak sections. I had a bit of trouble focusing on the story as it seems 'dated' to me in that the 80s seemed inundated with this cross-over type of fantasy. By cross-over I mean people in our 'real' world crossing-over to a parallel world or universe. Very vogue then, but somewhat blase' to me now.

message 18: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (Kathy_H) | 96 comments Ahhh!
I ordered this book a while ago and still don't have it in hand!

message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Lost in the mail?

message 20: by Andre (new)

Andre (telyni) | 79 comments Jon wrote: "I had a bit of trouble focusing on the story as it seems 'dated' to me in that the 80s seemed inundated with this cross-over type of fantasy."

It's true; I've read a lot of those. But after reading through the whole trilogy the first time, I understood the feeling of what Kay was talking about with Fionavar being the "first of all worlds." It was like this was the real story and all the others were copies or imitations. That's a testament to the artistry of the writing, I think.

message 21: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 894 comments Andre wrote: "That's a testament to the artistry of the writing, I think."

I completely agree. I love reading Guy Kay's prose. I did not mean to disparage his efforts in this novel, just pointing out that the 80s were rife with this 'type' of fantasy, some (probably most) of it not nearly as well written as GGK's work.

message 22: by Denae (new)

Denae (whimsicalmeerkat) I started this last night. So far it's enjoyable but nothing great, to me.

message 23: by Jodie (new)

Jodie (geordax) | 14 comments I can't say this one is really grabbing me at this stage (about 100 pages in). It just doesn't seem to flow very well. I think my main problem is I don't know anything about the motivations of the characters, they seem to be randomly going along with events. I am not sure if the problem is that we are following so many different characters, and I haven't got far enough in to revisit any of them so it just seems disjointed?

The story also seems to be written as if I should have read some more books by this author that have touched on the background of Fionavar. Instead I feel like either information is provided too densely (like Kim's vision-dream) or too loosely hinted at, as if it is something I should already know.

Hopefully it picks up.

message 24: by Carson (new)

Carson Kicklighter (TheKicklighter) | 19 comments I had tried and failed to make it through The Summer Tree before, but I thought I'd give it another shot. Unfortunately, I knew this book and I weren't going to get along when I read that a creature “allowed a smile of lean pleasure to flit across its features,” instead of just “smirked.”

I made an effort to care about the characters and setting, but everything just seemed so bland and generic. I wanted something unique or specific or striking to sink my teeth into, but I couldn't find anything. (I stopped around page 100).

Did anyone else feel like this, or am I just a curmudgeon?

message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Nah, you're not alone. I can see how you'd feel that.

I read the entire trilogy, and it was ok.

I think it mainly suffers from age at this point. That and the fact that many others in the same vein have been written since.

message 26: by Veronika (new)

Veronika KaoruSaionji (KaoruSaionji) | 109 comments Some crossover of Tolkien´s work and Narnia Chronicles for young adult (about twenty years old) readers. :o)
Maybe later it will be better, I hope.
(And Canadian university students plus magic, it remins me on Blood books by Tanya Huff and maybe it was inspiration for it. I enjoy it.)
But I want surely read the whole trilogy.
I like Paul. :o)

message 27: by Jeff (new)

Jeff (jkeene) | 96 comments I was somewhere past the halfway point when it finally felt compelling, and then it started to move along well. But I really had to push myself to reach that tipping point. Going back and re-reading the first few chapters the morning after I finished it showed me a few things that were hints of what was to come, but plainly those hints didn't provide much impetus to get me through the first half.

message 28: by Jinksb (last edited Jun 30, 2011 06:23PM) (new)

Jinksb | 1 comments Carson wrote: "I made an effort to care about the characters and setting, but everything just seemed so bland and generic. I wanted something unique or specific or striking to sink my teeth into, but I couldn't find anything. (I stopped around page 100).

Did anyone else feel like this, or am I just a curmudgeon? "

Hail, fellow curmudgeon. :-) I gave it a good try, got about 100 pages in, and just couldn't take the writing style any more. There were things I liked: I loved the premise. I thought the idea of a Mage from another world being an expert in Celtic lore in ours was brilliant. But there wasn't enough in those first pages to get me hooked on the characters and want to see what happened to them. Ah well. Maybe next month's fantasy read will appeal more to me.

message 29: by Kerry (new)

Kerry (rocalisa) | 59 comments I loved this whole series when it came out. I've been afraid of rereading it ever since in case it didn't stand up to the test of time. When the group picked The Summer Tree, I decided it was time to take the risk.

I found the first part of the book slow going. I liked it, but it was slow. Around halfway, it picked up and I was back in love with it again. I'm now almost at the end of The Wandering Fire and will read The Darkest Road later this month.

I'm so pleased that the magic was still there for me. I understand that not everyone likes these books but I'm happy I still do.

message 30: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine Me (Jasmineme) Veronika wrote: "Jennifer´s rape ..."

oh for God's sake have the decency to add a spoiler's tag... you've ruined the book for me... more than it was already ruined...

I'm so leaving this group...

message 31: by Maggie (new)

Maggie K | 477 comments Veronika-this WAS supposed to be a spoiler-free thread...

message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Whoops. Sorry folks.

Unfortunately, the only thing a mod can do is delete a post.


message 33: by Andre (last edited Jul 11, 2011 09:02AM) (new)

Andre (telyni) | 79 comments What about Jasmine's quote of Veronika's post then?


message 34: by Jon (new)

Jon (jonmoss) | 894 comments I started this days ago and finally reached the third chapter last night. I'm enjoying the read, but I'm struggling with the hardcover edition I have. I'm getting spoiled and lazy in my old age and finding myself wanting to read everything on my Nook Color (where I can control the font size). And with a very busy weekend ahead of me, I don't anticipate getting much farther.

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Books mentioned in this topic

The Darkest Road (other topics)
The Wandering Fire (other topics)