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The Fionavar Tapestry

(The Fionavar Tapestry #1-3)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  6,904 ratings  ·  246 reviews
In the three novels that make up the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy collected in this omnibus edition (The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, and The Darkest Road), five University of Toronto students find themselves transported to a magical land to do battle with the forces of evil. At a Celtic conference, Kimberley, Kevin, Jennifer, Dave, and Paul meet wizard Loren Silvercloak. ...more
Paperback, First Thus edition, 792 pages
Published 1995 by HarperCollins Publishers Canada (first published 1986)
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Becci Finovar isn't childish at all, especially with some of the topics that are dealt with - YA, maybe, but not childish.
They have a good solid mythologic…more
Finovar isn't childish at all, especially with some of the topics that are dealt with - YA, maybe, but not childish.
They have a good solid mythological background, well derived characters and quite an interesting and intricate story line. (less)

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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  6,904 ratings  ·  246 reviews

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Start your review of The Fionavar Tapestry (The Fionavar Tapestry #1-3)
6.0 stars. On my list of "All Time Favorite" novels. This trilogy has taken over the TOP SPOT on my list of "heroic" fantasy trilogies, knocking the standard, LOTR, down to number two. In fact, given how shicking that last statement may sound, I intend to re-read LOTR in the not too distant future just to confirm for myself the accuracy of the above.

In many ways the plot of The Fionavar Trilogy follows the classic heroic fantasy script created by LOTR though, in my opinion, in such a way as to
Dec 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wow, I am in awe of the breadth and scope of this extraordinarily layered masterpiece.

A true epic fantasy not to be missed.

Often compared to LOTR and not in a bad way... though, I must confess that as much as I loved LOTR, The Fionavar Tapestry far surpasses it on so many levels. This is a case of the pupil exceeding the master. Know that I do not say this lightly. The Fionavar Tapestry now holds my #1 top spot of Best Epic Fantasy Trilogy of All Time.

A unique blend of Celtic mythology and Arth
Kara Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This is a great read-- a totally consuming fantasy novel with all the typical light against dark themes. The creativity in this book lies less in its newness but rather in its skilled borrowing and "weaving." Let's be straight here- Kay knew how much he was borrowing from Tolkein and I think the matching arcs of the books were quite intentional. But like some of the best folk music, I cannot help but love when a familiar story is enriched by a new kind of telling- one that adds a different persp ...more
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I will only rarely write a review, but for this I will. I love books like treasured friends, so I prefer to accept the enjoyment they give me without analyzing them too closely. I love all kinds of books, but the ones that hold the most special place in my heart are the kind where people struggle against a seemingly insurmountable evil and yet find a way through to the light.

The Fionavar Tapestry is such a story. It is told with such majesty and grace that any description I give here would fall
Jun 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
At first glance, this trilogy seems to be nothing more than another Tolkien clone. However, the author surpasses Tolkien on a number of points. Firstly, the characters in this tale are three dimensional with real feelings and conflicts. Secondly, the author's ability to make you feel alongside with the characters has touched me perhaps more so than any other series. I confess that I teared up at several points throughout the tale - which is a rare occurrence for me. The author's writing style, l ...more
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
The Fionavar Tapestry is among the dwindling numbers of portal fantasy stories—I can’t help but feel that if more people read it, then this particular sub-genre would make a roaring comeback beyond the realm of fanfiction. Literary, expertly crafted mythology and worldbuilding, and that incredible Kay ability to create a host of beautiful characters have made for a series that may be as dear to me now as Lord of the Rings.

University of Toronto students Kim, Kevin, Jennifer, Paul, and Dave all at
Oct 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
An incredibly epic tale. Kay is a natural storyteller and he shows it in this tale. There are so many facets to this story and Kay manages to balance them all and keep them active and interesting. With all the various situations occurring and escalating, Kay manages to keep the story moving forward in such a way that the excitement escalates. As a reader, I found myself drawn into the world of Fionavar and its struggles, in its people and their lives. Good doesn’t always win; a win isn’t always ...more
Tim Hicks
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all fantasy readers
Shelves: fantasy
Folks, if you haven't read this trilogy, you can't say you've covered the basics of high fantasy.
Level One contains Lord of the Rings, and this. No, really.

Kay gets one star simply for daring. He postulates an original world from which all others, including ours, are derived. Then he populates it with about 80% of all the gods and magical characters that western literature has ever known. And some elves and orcs and dwarves, because you have to have those. Clumsily drop in five people from ou
The Fionavar Tapestry was Guy Gavriel Kay's first venture into fantasy; he got his start in the genre helping Christopher Tolkien edit his father's unfinished Silmarillion, and to an extent, that shows in The Fionavar Tapestry. The story begins when five college students are invited by the mage Loren Silvercloak to journey to his world of Fionavar, the first of all worlds, of which all other worlds are but a shadow. Fionavar has many echoes of Middle-Earth: there are elves (the lios alfar), who ...more
Michael Drakich
May 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There is a strange dichotomy to writing a review to this series. There are so many things one could say that can be construed as negative. The dialogue, for example. Many statements made by the main characters are simply groaners. Then there is the eventual conversion where everyone from Earth talks like a Fionavarian. Seriously? They change, just like that? Another complaint will be how so much in this series is a complete rip off from older ones. Lord Of The Rings? From elves, dwarves, goblins ...more
Feb 29, 2012 rated it did not like it
Left unfinished.

I finished the first book, The Summer Tree under duress because it was a pick for my bookclub. I was told it would get better. It didn't.

I started the second...... I cannot FORCE myself to read further. I dread picking it up. I rarely NOT finish a book, but I will not finish this. It's excrutiating.

I don't like any of the characters. I don't care about the war. I just can't get through it. It's dry and dull. The good news is I'm sleeping better....

Is Kaye a bad writer or is this
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A grand and passionate homage to Tolkien, a lyrical tour de force of high fantasy. Most of the readers tend to dismiss this as a imitation of the great master, and to do so is not fair at all. Undoubtedly the influence of Tolkien is palpable in the story, in regards to worldbuilding and some of the tropes, but, Kay's mythos has more depth, poignancy, and a tragic feeling that subdues Tolkien's bitterweet nostalgia. Kay tells about things lost, the sacrifice that behooves us all of joy, but gives ...more
Josh Angel
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I feel like I would have enjoyed this series more if I hadn’t finished reading Lords of the Rings recently. Had I known this series was essentially a beat-for-beat reinterpretation of the Lord of the Rings (with Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere thrown in for good measure) I may have put it off for awhile until the tropes wouldn’t feel so overused to me.

While I did not enjoy it as much as I may have with better timing, I do feel this is an underrated series that I think has MASSIVE appeal for a ce
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
it was really interesting and the world building was incredible. i got real into it near the end so im glad i liked the ending!
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
I don't know what happened to me and this trilogy. The first book was pretty wondrous. I really enjoyed the characters, settings, world building and the part of the plains people. There is a intriguing connection that grows between reader and book the deeper one gets into it. I did find the writing a little weird at times as Mr. Kay likes to use lots of comma's and I also found the writing at the start to be a little choppy, but otherwise the first book was good fun.

Then the second book happened
Jul 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Definitely not my favourite Guy Gavriel Kay, I could certainly tell it was one of his older books. This was pretty good, if a little over complicated, and the Camelot backstory was a lot with the whole Fionavar mythology as well.
Andrea McDowell
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hannah Fergesen
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book as a middle schooler in Toronto, having no idea what I was in for. All I remember is that I didn't want to read young adult books, I wanted to read epic fantasies with interesting characters that were not available in "My" section of the bookstore. So my parents bought the omnibus of these books for me, over 1000 pages of text, for $20 (it was Canada, over a decade ago). It had a pretty dragon on the cover and couldn't be that bad, right?

This book is now incredibly well worn, wi
Jul 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, canada, mythology
This is an epic slightly arthurian fantasy. There are three books that make up the Tapestry: The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, and The Darkest Road. Starting out at the University of Toronto, of all places, five acquaintances find themselves sucked into another world and an ancient story. All the stories and people created in here are beautiful, I can't recommend this one enough to anyone who loves fantasy.

It's my favourite fantasy book of all time, possibly my favourite book. It beats even L
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Book 1 (The Summer Tree) reread finished 3/12/13. I really like the stilted, formal tone of this book (it's almost Biblical, and it really suits this kind of epic myth). I also like the characters and the interweaving of mythology (especially Celtic--the cauldron, the horn, etc.). I still don't like the ending. 3.5 stars.

Book 2 (The Wandering Fire) finished 5/9/13. Oh. My. God. Amazing and heartbreaking. 5 stars.

Book 3 (The Darkest Road) finished 7/6/13. I had to take this home to finish; I'd be
Ian Mathers
Jun 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
It's been too long since I read a good fantasy novel (or novels, I guess). My dad tried getting me to read this as far back as high school, but I generally hate it when real world characters are put in fantasy worlds. Kay makes me realize that I feel that way because most authors assume that such real world characters would be overly credulous/idiotic/skeptical, though, and in fact the characterization here is one of the biggest strengths of the Fionavar books. It's really not doing anything too ...more
Travis Cottreau
Dec 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Guy Gavriel Kay is just a good writer. This was his first book, an homage to J.R.R. Tolkien, but much better constructed in my mind, with well rounded, realistic characters and amazing writing, with a classical, well told story.

Kay has everything a good writer should have, with the integrity to write a series or novel in isolation without folding to publisher pressure to re-use the stuff that's already been successful.

While there is a feel of a common background, each of his stories is separate
Robert Hudder
May 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Two of four big books that I intended to read this year. Left is the Game of Thrones series and the Homer stuff. This one reflects on the nature of fate. It was a really good read and the closing of a large circle that gives me hope for the future.

As hokey as it is, I first found out about this book in high school. It is one of three books/series that I wish I had finished then. I bought a copy when a book store was going out of sale a long time ago. Now it is done. Sometimes you read the right
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Normally I don't go for real world/fantasy world cross-overs, but this is a special set of books. "Tapestry" is the right word - this is an intricate and ultimately beautiful story. It knits together everything from Arthurian legend to the old fantasy standby of the epic, across-the-ages battle between good and evil in richly detailed and breathtakingly moving way

I love GGK's writing style. There's a rich, lyrical quality to his prose that is beautiful and affecting. This set of stories is no ex
Ted Hopkins
Aug 07, 2011 rated it liked it
A disappointment after reading Ysabel, but then this was Kay's first book. The transitions from contemporary Toronto to Fionavar are awkward and less than believable. Arthurian inclusions are messy and contribute only weakly to plot development. Though predictable, the plot holds a certain intrigue that meant that I did pick the book up again each time I put it down and thus read it to the end. ...more
Jackie Harlow
Feb 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have been meaning to read this book for over 20 years ... I have no idea why I waited so long!

It was definitely worth the wait! I was actually tempted to re-read it immediately after finishing it. It is everything I love in a fantasy novel - huge epic storyline, complex characters, humour, parts where you actually get angry at the novel, etc.

The next time I see a book I really want to read I won't wait 20+ years to do so. :-)
Mar 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Really a 3.5. Satisfying for fantasy readers. Liked the use of "the weaver" as a creator and associated language. For example, characters congratulating each other by saying, "Brightly woven." Really didn't like the King Arthur, Lancelot, Guinevere subplot--the fact that they were supposedly living this life over and over again w/o any ability to control their own destiny. Irked me. ...more
May 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
my absolute, hands down, favorite books of all time. period. i recommend them to everyone, always, and i re-read them once every year or so. they are fantastically written, the story is amazing, and the characters touch you and get into your soul.

if you haven't read them, there's nothing else i can say but GO. READ.

Peter Levi
Mar 10, 2013 rated it liked it
A solid fantasy trilogy, although I think it works better for younger/more casual readers. A few SPOILER comments: for gods who can't interfere in events, they interfere a lot. There's a great deal of weeping and melodrama. We also have the classic moment of the villain revealing their weakness. It's inferior to Kay's later work, but worth reading nonetheless. ...more
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See similar books…
Guy Gavriel Kay is a Canadian author of fantasy fiction. Many of his novels are set in fictional realms that resemble real places during real historical periods, such as Constantinople during the reign of Justinian I or Spain during the time of El Cid. Those works are published and marketed as historical fantasy, though the author himself has expressed a preference to shy away from genre categoriz ...more

Other books in the series

The Fionavar Tapestry (3 books)
  • The Summer Tree (The Fionavar Tapestry #1)
  • The Wandering Fire (The Fionavar Tapestry, #2)
  • The Darkest Road (The Fionavar Tapestry, #3)

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