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In the second novel in Guy Gavriel Kay's critically acclaimed Fionavar Tapestry, five men and women from our world must play their parts in a colossal war, as the first of all worlds confronts an ancient evil... After a thousand years of imprisonment the Unraveller has broken free and frozen Fionavar in the ice of eternal winter. His terrible vengeance has begun to take its In the second novel in Guy Gavriel Kay's critically acclaimed Fionavar Tapestry, five men and women from our world must play their parts in a colossal war, as the first of all worlds confronts an ancient evil... After a thousand years of imprisonment the Unraveller has broken free and frozen Fionavar in the ice of eternal winter. His terrible vengeance has begun to take its toll on mortals and demi-gods, mages and priestesses, dwarves and the Children of Light. The five brought from Earth across the tapestry of worlds must act to wake the allies Fionavar desperately needs. But no one can know if these figures out of legend have power enough to shatter the icy grip of death upon the land--or if they even want to...


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In the second novel in Guy Gavriel Kay's critically acclaimed Fionavar Tapestry, five men and women from our world must play their parts in a colossal war, as the first of all worlds confronts an ancient evil... After a thousand years of imprisonment the Unraveller has broken free and frozen Fionavar in the ice of eternal winter. His terrible vengeance has begun to take its In the second novel in Guy Gavriel Kay's critically acclaimed Fionavar Tapestry, five men and women from our world must play their parts in a colossal war, as the first of all worlds confronts an ancient evil... After a thousand years of imprisonment the Unraveller has broken free and frozen Fionavar in the ice of eternal winter. His terrible vengeance has begun to take its toll on mortals and demi-gods, mages and priestesses, dwarves and the Children of Light. The five brought from Earth across the tapestry of worlds must act to wake the allies Fionavar desperately needs. But no one can know if these figures out of legend have power enough to shatter the icy grip of death upon the land--or if they even want to...

30 review for The Wandering Fire

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mayim de Vries

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that while not all who wander are lost, those who mashup the Lord of the Rings with the Arthurian Legend, wander into their impending doom. As you know for me The Summer Tree went promptly beyond fantastic and straight into the epic category. My initial awe was even strengthened by the opening pages of The Wandering Fire. The previous instalment finished with the most brutal sequence sealing Jennifer’s fate in Fionavar, cut (and cauterised) by the crossing b It is a truth universally acknowledged that while not all who wander are lost, those who mashup the Lord of the Rings with the Arthurian Legend, wander into their impending doom. As you know for me The Summer Tree went promptly beyond fantastic and straight into the epic category. My initial awe was even strengthened by the opening pages of The Wandering Fire. The previous instalment finished with the most brutal sequence sealing Jennifer’s fate in Fionavar, cut (and cauterised) by the crossing back to our world. What Jennifer does in the beginning of the Wandering Fire as a response to the evil that has marred her mind, body, and soul is beautiful. More than beautiful, for it is a defiant answer to hate, to death, it is transforming destruction into a wild hope, even if choosing life seems daunting and impossible, and, quite frankly, unnecessary heroics. (view spoiler)[ I am referring to her decision to let the child begotten of rape to live, to be her own response to what had been done to her, and be an unknown in the coming battle. (hide spoiler)] Events that occurred in the previous instalment were like a three-night long overture to the events taking place in this book. Rakoth Maugrim, the powerful Unraveller, has been set free and if Fionavar loses to him, then eventually all the world would fall and the Tapestry be torn and damaged beyond redress. The waiting is over. But then, as they say, shift happens. Arthur Pendragon enters the scene with all his retinue of anguish and drama. Excuse my Latin, but I have to ask: why the hug?! This is my main problem with The Wandering Fire. Why would you feel the need to supplement the lush Tolkienesque universe with another literary topos, at least as rich and complex as the Middle-earth? Fionavar has had it all: the dwarves and the elves (lios alfar), the orcs and uruk hai (svart alfar and urgach), the kingdom of Gondor (Brenin) and the riders of Rohan (the Dalrei), Been and Luthien (Lisen and Amairgen), Sauron (Rakoth) and Saruman (Metran), the Fellowship (the companions), the myths, the legends, the courage and beauty and light. In other words, an abundance of archetypes, tropes, and themes of which each alone could suffice for the whole book. Additionally, Kay has added his ingenious touches, like the Lord of the Summer Tree or the mage and the source system. Why would you bring, to this already overcrowded picture, another universe of characters and references with their own dynamics and arcs? While the beginning of the book was everything I hoped for, the Arthurian mashup, reduced the pleasure significantly. The Wandering Fire still possesses the brilliance of its predecessor: the elegant and lofty style (everyone is beautiful, and graceful, and wise and virtuous), action, drama, mystery, magic and suspense, but at the same time, it becomes too much. At tad too much. Just like a dress with too many sequins that was meant to be a bold statement and instead becomes tacky. Perhaps one needs to be a lover of Avalon in order to truly appreciate it. Alas, don’t count me in. I couldn't care less. My irritation was like a pebble in a shoe, a constant feeling that something is not right made it easy for me to concentrate on other imperfections. And so, page upon page, instead of enjoying myself, I grew restless. The random sex scene featuring Loren and one of the other main characters was the last straw, decisive when it comes to rating. No. You cannot have Gandalf and then send him on one-night stands just because everybody deserves some stress relief. Once again, I have to say that in spite of Kay’s sheer brilliance his approach to sexual relations is downright perplexing. I had similar issues in Tigana, and even more problems in his other owrks. It is not a one-timer, it’s one of his recurring themes. Also, something that shaves the second star off the rating. I am sad to write this, but I don’t think the majority of the readers will be happy with The Wandering Fire. You need to love both all things Tolkienian and all things Arthurian in order to truly appreciate it. My guess is that such people exist, but are not too numerous. If you'd like to start your journey with Kay, try Tigana first or, if you are more historical-fiction minded reader, the Sarantine Mosaic duology set in Byzantium-like world: Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors. Also in the series: 1. The Summer Tree 3. The Darkest Road

  2. 4 out of 5

    mark monday

    the second book in the Fionavar Tapestry is not quite as impressive as the first, but hey it's still pretty damn good. two things in particular stick out for me: Sex. i love how this novel places sexuality at the center of much of its magic, both implicitly and explicitly. it is really refreshing. and not corny! i suppose that is the danger of including sex in fantasy - if its not done right, it is a trashy sex scene or, even worse, an eye-rolling tantric experience featuring new age nonsense tha the second book in the Fionavar Tapestry is not quite as impressive as the first, but hey it's still pretty damn good. two things in particular stick out for me: Sex. i love how this novel places sexuality at the center of much of its magic, both implicitly and explicitly. it is really refreshing. and not corny! i suppose that is the danger of including sex in fantasy - if its not done right, it is a trashy sex scene or, even worse, an eye-rolling tantric experience featuring new age nonsense that makes me gag. sexuality in this novel is mysterious, natural, unnatural, a profound part of some magic, a threatening form in other kinds of magic, and just a regular part of life as well, no big deal. it is taken seriously but it is also not turned into the whole point either - it is an important part of the tapestry, so to speak. it is a refreshingly adult perspective. Rape. at the end of the last novel, a major character was captured, tormented, and raped repeatedly. it was a horrifying sequence and also exceedingly, surprisingly well-done. i have actually never read its like before in a fantasy novel - i was horrified while simultaneously impressed by the language, by the ability of the author to remove all traces of potential, repulsive "sexiness", by the way the author showed how the raped character retained her strength while never shying away from how truly negating the experience was, in every way imaginable. in the sequel, Jennifer does not just bounce back. it is not an easy journey for her and she doesn't try to make the people around feel better as they try to comfort her. in a way, reading about Jennifer took me to a sad place, as i recalled the couple friends i've known who were assaulted sexually, and the struggles they lived with for so long after, and probably still live with to this day. Jennifer's character and her struggles seemed so true, in particular her detachment. and when she at last is able to make a faltering step, then another, and another, on the road to recovery, and when she's finally able to even experience sex again, to experience a connection to another person that is both emotional and physical... it was like seeing something slowly coming through in an endless gray sky, some light at last appearing, after waiting for so long. that's a trite image, i know, but that's how it felt to me. i teared up a little bit reading that scene, and i think that's the first time tears have ever sprung to my eyes when reading something so basic as a love scene.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    I've been falling into and out of this book in almost precisely the same way I had in the first. I love the short lyrical descriptions, I enjoy the mythic references, and I especially love how each character eventually gets woven into each of the underlying story structures. There is a great deal to love in these books, and I've enjoyed tracing much of the straight-line continuation of style from this fantasy novel into the types that have enjoyed much fame and popularity in the eighties and nin I've been falling into and out of this book in almost precisely the same way I had in the first. I love the short lyrical descriptions, I enjoy the mythic references, and I especially love how each character eventually gets woven into each of the underlying story structures. There is a great deal to love in these books, and I've enjoyed tracing much of the straight-line continuation of style from this fantasy novel into the types that have enjoyed much fame and popularity in the eighties and nineties. But I'm going to be very honest with ya'll. It just wasn't for me. There's very beautiful language, assuming you love pastoral (and glacial) story progression, filled with enough ooohs and aaaahs to stun every romantic bone in your body. This is what it is, after all. A romance. It's turning war into romance, rape into romance, summoning undead into romance, and all it's missing is Spenser's The Fairy Queen. Oh, wait... there's even some of that, and Le Morte d'Arthur: King Arthur and the Legends of the Round Table, too. I'm not saying that sexuality is the key to the tale, although there is plenty of it that makes magic either powerful or weak or unimportant. I'm saying that this novel is all about the romantic frame of mind. If you like novels that gloss over the grimdark features of life, speeding through epic battles to focus on the epic heroics, or wallow in the myriad build-ups that are there to push the fully-engrossed reader into a paroxysm of legendary legends legending the legendixed legendonier, then you're in good hands. I just couldn't get into it. I finished it, and I'll do the next in the trilogy because I'm willful like that, but I just can't get all starry-eyed with a build up of prophesied and lost babies, the idea that women are the true strength behind their heroic men, (Why can't they be their own heroes, exactly?), or the fact that we've got not only a lantern hung on a specific character here (view spoiler)[Arthur Pendragon (hide spoiler)] , but an entire lighthouse hanging on his neck like an albatross. What do I mean? Even Kay knows he's cribbing the legend so much that he doesn't even bother to submerge the meme into any of his characters. He just brings him back through a universe-spanning curse and forces him to replay both his deeds and his lost love story as penance, nearly fourth-wall-breaking borrowed pathos, and the Weaver's serendipity. The fact that Jennifer/Guinevere was fairly interesting doesn't spoil the fact that the rest of the novel was a slogfest for me. I really wanted to like it a lot more than I did. I tried liking it repeatedly as I was reading it, giving excuses to myself, tracing all the mythological elements and revelling in it, even trying to summon a truly heroic effort in my heart to like Paul, our resident mage, as he learned to walk the spaces between life and death, tickle fish, and beat back winter. I have no complaints about the mythos. It's beautiful how Kay brings in so many cool elements, such as the basic connections between winter and death and summer and life, including the greater and lesser mysteries, and how it all interwove into the defeat of the Wolf. If the novel had the speed and excitement of modern novels, I'd have been rocking hard to this. As it was, it felt so old-fashioned and pedestrian and mild and old hat that I wanted to cry and plead that I had just read this novel too late in my life, that I have already read too many great novels that explored all these themes too well, that the characters just weren't strong enough to make up for that fact, or that I am, in the end, sad that I'm just an asshole. These are just my opinions, of course. I might not really be an asshole. I'll leave that to others to decide.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sebastien Castell

    Having just re-read The Summer Tree, the first book in the Fionavar Tapestry, I jumped straight into this one and enjoyed it almost as much as I did when I first read it in the 1980's when it was first published. One of the features of the series that still resonates with me is the way that each book completes its own major plot threads yet still manages to end on a cliffhanger – not a painful, forced cliffhanger that signals the author left out huge parts of the story, but one which pulls you to Having just re-read The Summer Tree, the first book in the Fionavar Tapestry, I jumped straight into this one and enjoyed it almost as much as I did when I first read it in the 1980's when it was first published. One of the features of the series that still resonates with me is the way that each book completes its own major plot threads yet still manages to end on a cliffhanger – not a painful, forced cliffhanger that signals the author left out huge parts of the story, but one which pulls you to the next book without feeling as if the one you're holding wasn't satisfying. A second aspect I enjoyed on re-read was the way Guy Gavriel Kay takes mythic tropes, such as the Arthurian mythos, and – without "turning on its head" as is the current fashion – still manages to imbue those characters and themes with a deeply personal and emotional take on them. In other words, it's when Arthur appears in the story, he'd not suddenly some monstrous brute but still has those qualities that made fans of the myth love him, yet he's still (to me, anyway) more human than I find in other retellings. Not everyone will love Kay's style. There's a certain melodrama that runs through the series, and you'll often find characters reacting with a familiar refrain of "He knew then that what he saw was a deep thing, as deep as any other thing he'd ever seen before, so deep it might swallow him whole and . . ." I'm paraphrasing here bordering on satirizing, but there's a lot of that sentiment in the books. Most of the time they work for me, and when those moments do land, they're wonderful. Again, though, we tend towards a more cynical voice these days, so not everyone will enjoy this. I also enjoyed the relative brevity of this second book in the series, which allowed it to still deal with big, important movements in the sage yet without ponderously tromping through endless meetings or dinners or whatever else. Fans of Brandon Sanderson-esque world building might feel like the Fionavar Tapestry skips past the kinds of details that fill out the image of each scene, but for me, I appreciated the pace. Overall, if you enjoyed The Summer Tree, you'll certainly enjoy The Wandering Fire. I'm looking forward to re-reading the third and final book in the trilogy soon.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Markus

    A good sequel, although not as good as the first book in the trilogy. It suffers from a slight case of second-book syndrome, there is not the same sense of wonder as in The Summer Tree, and I did not enjoy the introduction of the legendary characters at all. However, it's Guy Gavriel Kay. It's still beautiful and highly enjoyable. It's just not on the level it could be. A good sequel, although not as good as the first book in the trilogy. It suffers from a slight case of second-book syndrome, there is not the same sense of wonder as in The Summer Tree, and I did not enjoy the introduction of the legendary characters at all. However, it's Guy Gavriel Kay. It's still beautiful and highly enjoyable. It's just not on the level it could be.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Wanda

    What can I say about book two that won’t be too spoiler-y for book one? I guess I can say that there is more of the same. The world of Fionavar is locked in an unnatural winter, caused of course by a Mage-gone-wrong. What can the forces of good do against the very winds of winter? King Arthur is the Eternal Warrior, needed for any possibly-world-ending war. The five wayward Canadians who have found their way to Fionavar have also proven why they were selected by fate to make the transfer to that What can I say about book two that won’t be too spoiler-y for book one? I guess I can say that there is more of the same. The world of Fionavar is locked in an unnatural winter, caused of course by a Mage-gone-wrong. What can the forces of good do against the very winds of winter? King Arthur is the Eternal Warrior, needed for any possibly-world-ending war. The five wayward Canadians who have found their way to Fionavar have also proven why they were selected by fate to make the transfer to that world. There is pain and there is happiness. I can’t quit reading—finished The Wandering Fire last night and barely paused before starting The Darkest Road. I think this series is going to become part of my “nursing home library,” those books that I intend to take with me to the nursing home when such a move becomes necessary.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Constantina Maud

    Beautiful, beautiful prose. Sadly, though, among a few other things too, I couldn't get past those Arthurian legends thrown into the tolkienesque mix. Would definitely have loved to see instead more of Kay's own abundant inspiration, like the Summer Tree and its Lord ~ Beautiful, beautiful prose. Sadly, though, among a few other things too, I couldn't get past those Arthurian legends thrown into the tolkienesque mix. Would definitely have loved to see instead more of Kay's own abundant inspiration, like the Summer Tree and its Lord ~

  8. 5 out of 5

    YouKneeK

    The Wandering Fire is the second book in Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry trilogy. I enjoyed this book, but a little less than I did the first book. The story picks up several months after the first book left off, with (view spoiler)[our main characters from Earth back home after Kim brought them back in the process of rescuing Jennifer. At the beginning, they're trying to find a way back to Fionavar, among other things (hide spoiler)] . I noticed some improvements with the writing in this boo The Wandering Fire is the second book in Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry trilogy. I enjoyed this book, but a little less than I did the first book. The story picks up several months after the first book left off, with (view spoiler)[our main characters from Earth back home after Kim brought them back in the process of rescuing Jennifer. At the beginning, they're trying to find a way back to Fionavar, among other things (hide spoiler)] . I noticed some improvements with the writing in this book. In particular, I didn’t notice any unexpected head-hopping whereas that happened a lot in the first book. In this book, so many problems are solved by miraculous intervention or by the discovery of abilities that the characters themselves didn’t really know they had. I guess I should apply this complaint to the first book also, but it didn’t seem like such a frequent plot device to me then. I don’t think it’s done in a way that would bother everybody, but it became a bit too much for me. I have a few more comments along those lines, but they’re a little less general so I’ll need to put them behind spoiler tags. (view spoiler)[I don’t think there’s necessarily any one thing that frustrated me, but rather the accumulation of so many little things. Every main character from Earth has some sort of previously-unknown special identity, or latent special ability, or they develop some special connection with the gods on Fionavar. Nearly every time there was a problem, one of the characters would suddenly discover some new latent ability or previously-forgotten knowledge that could help. Often the characters would join a mission with no idea how they could help, then of course they would be the one to pull a rabbit out of their hat in the nick of time. The Arthurian stuff was a bit much too, at least when added on top of all the rest. (hide spoiler)] I still enjoyed reading it despite my complaints. My complaints are mostly story-based whereas I still really like most of the characters, so that helps. A 3.5-star rating was an easy decision, but I had trouble deciding whether to round up or down on Goodreads. Given my complaints I should probably round down, but I enjoyed it enough that I’m going to round up. I plan to finish out the trilogy to see how things end.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    5.0 stars. This is an incredible book and part two of an incredible series. Guy Gavriel Kay is one of the best writers working in any genre and his writing is both technically superb and deeply emotional. This series should definitely be on the "must read" list of any fan of epic fantasy. Highly recommended!! 5.0 stars. This is an incredible book and part two of an incredible series. Guy Gavriel Kay is one of the best writers working in any genre and his writing is both technically superb and deeply emotional. This series should definitely be on the "must read" list of any fan of epic fantasy. Highly recommended!!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Meredith Holley

    Okay, this story finally got me. Fiction takes life and crystallizes it. It boils down and simplifies, so that when real life is too overwhelming, I can remember what to filter out and what to hear. I can remember that the pining lovers reunite, the little girl grows into wisdom, the white horses win. The double-edged part of that sword is that it’s probably not true, it probably shouldn’t be true. But, sometimes stories don’t need to be true in order to be somehow necessary, I guess. I was in t Okay, this story finally got me. Fiction takes life and crystallizes it. It boils down and simplifies, so that when real life is too overwhelming, I can remember what to filter out and what to hear. I can remember that the pining lovers reunite, the little girl grows into wisdom, the white horses win. The double-edged part of that sword is that it’s probably not true, it probably shouldn’t be true. But, sometimes stories don’t need to be true in order to be somehow necessary, I guess. I was in the right mood for this book. I was in the right craving of escape, craving of simplicity. I know this story isn't all good guys winning all the time, but it still organizes good and evil and love and hate and family into something manageable. These are my random thoughts about the story: (view spoiler)[Jennifer has Satan’s baby in this book. That rules. I totally love Satan’s baby stories, I guess. I had just watched the X-Files where they do Rosemary’s Baby, and it’s officially one of my favorites. I hadn’t realized before that I really dig Satan’s baby stories, but I do. Maybe it’s my Mia Farrow thing. I still don’t get what Satan’s motivation was for choosing Jennifer, though, but maybe book 3 will clue me on that. Satan’s motivations are a big mystery to me in this story. Also, I’m totally okay with the Camelot stuff, but I’m not in love with it. And, Kim has sex with Loren!!! GROOOOOOOSSSSS! That guy is like one million years old in my brain, and just cause she has white hair doesn’t make her elderly! I thought she and the king were going to have a thing, so I was SHOCKED when she went for the old dude. Shocked. (hide spoiler)] So, I really love the story of the rake prince and the princess from the south. I guess I love a rake, and a rake finding his girl, and all that. I just like that story. I like the idea of guys appearing careless to cover up their own passion and perfection. It's a failing, but I'm a sucker for it. I also like that the couple likes each other and are basically nice to each other except when it makes sense for them not to be. And it's nice that the story has come around to make the fighter girls (the priestess and the princess) respectable or endearing, rather than threatening or psycho like I felt they were in the last book. I’m still feeling like the girls keep getting the short end of the stick, though. (view spoiler)[Like, Paul sacrifices himself, but then he gets to rise again and be a god/man. Kevin sacrifices himself, but, like, he dies of orgasm as he impregnates the head goddess, right? Not too shabby of a way to go. And both of those sacrifices save the world. But, Jennifer gets taken and impregnated by Satan, which possibly curses the entire world (or saves it, no one knows yet). And Kim is just naturally a seer, which seems to be pretty much a hassle for her all around. So, the guys seem to get a better deal, and their better deal seems to work out better for everyone generally. I know I’m looking too closely at it, but the girls are my models! Why do our stories have to suck more?! (hide spoiler)] Ultimately, I am not totally comfortable with the typical fantasy format that assumes an enemy’s physical characteristics mark the enemy as evil. That just seems like propaganda that leads to race wars. It is comforting to read, though, when real life is so opposite of that kind of simplicity. I guess that’s one of the reasons it’s called fantasy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    DNF at 47%. I just can't do it. I'm bored and I don't like the humans in Fionavar scenario. I'm dreading picking it up, so I'm calling it quits. :( DNF at 47%. I just can't do it. I'm bored and I don't like the humans in Fionavar scenario. I'm dreading picking it up, so I'm calling it quits. :(

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nicky

    By this point in reading the trilogy, you've probably decided whether you can bear with Guy Gavriel Kay's style or not -- whether you can be invested in his characters or not. If the answer is yes, then carry on: he won't disappoint you. If not, then... I don't think he will get your attention at all. Less seems to happen in this book until the end: it's a time of waiting, of things coming together. If you're invested in the characters, though, there's plenty to worry about: Kim's dilemmas, wheth By this point in reading the trilogy, you've probably decided whether you can bear with Guy Gavriel Kay's style or not -- whether you can be invested in his characters or not. If the answer is yes, then carry on: he won't disappoint you. If not, then... I don't think he will get your attention at all. Less seems to happen in this book until the end: it's a time of waiting, of things coming together. If you're invested in the characters, though, there's plenty to worry about: Kim's dilemmas, whether she has a right to do what she's doing; Paul's separation from humanity; and Kevin's initial helplessness, and then his journey to the Goddess... And there's Arthur, of course, and the Wild Hunt, and Darien... Yep, and if you were wondering, I really do mean Arthur. King Arthur. I love what Kay does with his story, with the image of his tapestry -- but I can't say more because I'd plagiarise my essay, again. My academic life needs to stop getting in the way of my fannish meta, ugh. Suffice it to say that Guy Gavriel Kay nods to the Arthurian tradition whilst creating something entirely his own. Not the strongest of the three books, but still beautiful.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    I can't really put my finger on what it is that I'm loving about this series. I can name the faults at length (but I won't) and I don't feel that I *should* like this as (gasp) I dislike both The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, both of which seem to be major influences,, and yet! Totally enamoured. I can't really put my finger on what it is that I'm loving about this series. I can name the faults at length (but I won't) and I don't feel that I *should* like this as (gasp) I dislike both The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, both of which seem to be major influences,, and yet! Totally enamoured.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Em Lost In Books

    Sad, heartbreaking and full of surprises, this book was a wonderful journey.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    This review is from my reread of this series in 2015/16. The middle volume is often a let down in trilogies. I would argue that this one is anything but a let down. In this one the Arthurian myths get weaved into the story, although they had been foreshadowed in the first book. We also get the results of Jennifer's violation and rescue from the first book with the birth of the new andain Darien. Of the five visitors to Fionavar from the first book it's only Kevin and Jennifer's roles that hadn't This review is from my reread of this series in 2015/16. The middle volume is often a let down in trilogies. I would argue that this one is anything but a let down. In this one the Arthurian myths get weaved into the story, although they had been foreshadowed in the first book. We also get the results of Jennifer's violation and rescue from the first book with the birth of the new andain Darien. Of the five visitors to Fionavar from the first book it's only Kevin and Jennifer's roles that hadn't been set out and both have big roles to play here. There's much more on the themes of sacrifice and power as well. In many ways this is my favorite book in the series, partly because of the desperate acts of bravery. Vae's simple declaration that Darien will need a lot of love when she finds out his parentage. Arthur's complete acceptance that he will fall in the coming battle and why that is just. Kevin. Matt Soren at the climactic mage's battle. Even poor Gereint and his lost travels over the sea he has never seen. We also get to see Gwen Ystrat and much more about Jaelle's priestesses. I'm a little conflicted about the representation of female power here, mainly because it's all tied into blood, mystery, sex and sacrifice, but I think it needs to get a pass in that it is female power, and that's largely lacking in these books. Still one of my favorite series of all time.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jane Jago

    Review to follow when third book read

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    This is the second in a trilogy (The Fionavar Tapestry as you've already noticed). I noted in the review of the first volume that I tried to read these some years ago and really couldn't get into them. Without giving any spoilers (something it can be difficult to accomplish and also say "why" you think or feel what you do about a book) this one stays (for me) in the "middle ground" area. I didn't dislike it, but I didn't really get into it either. I found my interest waxing and waning throughout. This is the second in a trilogy (The Fionavar Tapestry as you've already noticed). I noted in the review of the first volume that I tried to read these some years ago and really couldn't get into them. Without giving any spoilers (something it can be difficult to accomplish and also say "why" you think or feel what you do about a book) this one stays (for me) in the "middle ground" area. I didn't dislike it, but I didn't really get into it either. I found my interest waxing and waning throughout. The story is "somewhat" constructed around the Arthurian Legend or maybe I should say a version of the legend. That is obvious. I can also see heavy influence from Tolkien here (not a bad thing, in some ways I'd like to have seen more of it). This is definitely a book that fits into the "high fantasy" end of the genre but,(by the way, I love "good" high fantasy) I can also see influences from other writers who aren't "usually" thought of a high fantasy. There are some things that strongly put me in mind of Roger Zelazny for instance. So, Thomas Mallory, J.R.R.Tolkien, other fantasy influences. You'd think I'd be enthralled, but I wasn't. The best I ever accomplished was, "mildly interested". Will I run down the third volume? Probably at some point, but I have a lot of books waiting and I don't think I'll rush it to the top of my "to be read" list. 3 stars.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    This, the second novel of the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy, was truly amazing. The blending of Celtic mythology and Arthurian legend was artistry. Vivid imagery and spectacular storytelling, this is Epic Fantasy at it's very best. Best image: Diarmuid singing in battle. So very Celtic. Best fight scene of all time: In Chapter 15, on the Plains near Adein. It surpasses any and all fight scenes of the myriad books I've read. It'll stay with me for a long time. Everything about this book is fantastic an This, the second novel of the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy, was truly amazing. The blending of Celtic mythology and Arthurian legend was artistry. Vivid imagery and spectacular storytelling, this is Epic Fantasy at it's very best. Best image: Diarmuid singing in battle. So very Celtic. Best fight scene of all time: In Chapter 15, on the Plains near Adein. It surpasses any and all fight scenes of the myriad books I've read. It'll stay with me for a long time. Everything about this book is fantastic and Kay is an impressive author. If you love Epic Fantasy, The Fionavar Tapestry is not to be missed.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Just as much nonsense as the first book in the series with gratuitous Arthur-Lancelot-Guinevere thrown in. It's so crap it's laughable, GGK has tried to get every conceivable fantasy trope into this series, and all it does is make a complete mess. There really isn't any coherent story, the protagonists lurch from scene to scene with no character development apart from they all suddenly develop mysterious!powers or are *beloved of the gods* or given *items of power*. Why five Canadians transporte Just as much nonsense as the first book in the series with gratuitous Arthur-Lancelot-Guinevere thrown in. It's so crap it's laughable, GGK has tried to get every conceivable fantasy trope into this series, and all it does is make a complete mess. There really isn't any coherent story, the protagonists lurch from scene to scene with no character development apart from they all suddenly develop mysterious!powers or are *beloved of the gods* or given *items of power*. Why five Canadians transported into another world are so important is beyond me and certainly isn't explained in the books - it just smacks of cultural imperialism. Here, let's bow down to five strangers who will *solve all our problems* for no particular reason. It is complete and utter nonsense, and I won't be wasting any more of my life on this series. Time for something better written

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    2.5 stars. I rounded the first book to 3, so I'll round down with this and maintain the average. Next up, The Darkest Road. If I can bear it. 2.5 stars. I rounded the first book to 3, so I'll round down with this and maintain the average. Next up, The Darkest Road. If I can bear it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth McDonald

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. For my thoughts on the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy as a whole, see my review for The Summer Tree. The Wandering Fire is a little bit of a middle-book-in-the-trilogy, but manages a decent plot nevertheless. I have to complain a little bit, though, about a part that didn't sit right with me the first time I read the book and still leaves me underwhelmed: Kevin's death. Kevin, who seemed pretty well-adjusted in the first book aside from worrying about Paul, suddenly starts getting all angsty about whet For my thoughts on the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy as a whole, see my review for The Summer Tree. The Wandering Fire is a little bit of a middle-book-in-the-trilogy, but manages a decent plot nevertheless. I have to complain a little bit, though, about a part that didn't sit right with me the first time I read the book and still leaves me underwhelmed: Kevin's death. Kevin, who seemed pretty well-adjusted in the first book aside from worrying about Paul, suddenly starts getting all angsty about whether he's actually important in this war. He's not content to be an average, dedicated soldier, because he's a main character and his friends all have nifty superpowers, or tragic histories, or something. Then, even more suddenly, he realizes his destiny: he is the reincarnated... somebody... exactly who is never explained. But his fate is to leap off a cliff in a cave, have sex with a goddess while falling, and then die--this sacrifice allowing a magical end to the magical winter that is slowly killing the country. This destiny has been foreshadowed by the fact that he has always had really, really intense sex his whole life. I'm sorry. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me. It seems like a very abrupt end to a character. Maybe I'm just not that into human sacrifice. Maybe the sex thing seems incongruous to me. Most of all, though, I'm bothered by the thought of Kevin's father. He's the only sympathetic character in the brief "real world" parts of the book, and it's clearly shown that Kevin is the only person this sweet old Jewish man cares about. And his son dies in a parallel universe while having sex with a pagan goddess. Even assuming someone can explain this to him and have him believe it, is he supposed to accept this as a reasonable ending to this part of the story? Am I?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bart

    Please read the full review on Weighing A Pig... The Summer Tree, the first book of The Fionavar Tapestry, was gripping & amazing. It gutted me. As the series is regarded as one of the classics of fantasy, it is no surprise that The Wandering Fire was a feast as well. My review of The Summer Tree applies to this book too: The Wandering Fire continues the story, and has the same strengths as Kay’s debut. I’ll elaborate a bit on some of those – language & emotion -, and discuss a few themes that ar Please read the full review on Weighing A Pig... The Summer Tree, the first book of The Fionavar Tapestry, was gripping & amazing. It gutted me. As the series is regarded as one of the classics of fantasy, it is no surprise that The Wandering Fire was a feast as well. My review of The Summer Tree applies to this book too: The Wandering Fire continues the story, and has the same strengths as Kay’s debut. I’ll elaborate a bit on some of those – language & emotion -, and discuss a few themes that are deepened in this second book. Naturally, I more than look forward to reading The Darkest Road, the concluding volume. (...)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Don Bradshaw

    Most of this book was spent amassing forces. There were a few big surprises in abilities and one of the five was lost. Some of our Earth lore seems to have been woven into Fionavar lore which got a little confusing. The gods are beginning to play a more active role. Still a great fantasy series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    N.N. Light

    A very flowery narration turned me off completely. The Wandering Fire is a fantasy romance unlike anything I've read before. Can you really expect me to believe war is romantic? Umm, no. My Rating: 3 stars Reviewed by: Mrs. N A very flowery narration turned me off completely. The Wandering Fire is a fantasy romance unlike anything I've read before. Can you really expect me to believe war is romantic? Umm, no. My Rating: 3 stars Reviewed by: Mrs. N

  25. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    At times I thought this book was better than the first. It felt like Fionavar had had some extra world-building done in comparison to The Summer Tree, which was nice. The story itself doesn't connect with me personally though. I don't really care what happens, I just listen and let it all happen, untouched. Sometimes there are glimmers of things I quite like, but then they flicker and are gone. I think my problem is that the book is so crowded. The myths and characters scramble over each other, t At times I thought this book was better than the first. It felt like Fionavar had had some extra world-building done in comparison to The Summer Tree, which was nice. The story itself doesn't connect with me personally though. I don't really care what happens, I just listen and let it all happen, untouched. Sometimes there are glimmers of things I quite like, but then they flicker and are gone. I think my problem is that the book is so crowded. The myths and characters scramble over each other, trying not to drown in the throng. I really wanted "the warrior" to be someone NOT king Arthur. No such luck. Oh well. 🤷🏻‍♀️

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kat Hooper

    ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature. It’s been 1½ years since I read The Summer Tree, Guy Gavriel Kay’s first novel and the first in his Fionavar Tapestry. I mentioned in the review for that book that I’m an adoring fan of Kay’s later stand-alone novels but that I found The Summer Tree derivative and heavy. I would have happily skipped its sequel, The Wandering Fire, but I had already purchased it at Audible, so I thought I’d give it a chance to win me over. Simon Vance, the narrator, is one ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature. It’s been 1½ years since I read The Summer Tree, Guy Gavriel Kay’s first novel and the first in his Fionavar Tapestry. I mentioned in the review for that book that I’m an adoring fan of Kay’s later stand-alone novels but that I found The Summer Tree derivative and heavy. I would have happily skipped its sequel, The Wandering Fire, but I had already purchased it at Audible, so I thought I’d give it a chance to win me over. Simon Vance, the narrator, is one of my favorites and his bad Canadian accents were toned down this time, which made him pleasant to listen to, as usual. In this installment, the five college students are back home in Toronto after Kim whisked them out of Fionavar when she heard Jennifer being tortured after being raped by the dark lord, Rakoth Maugrim. Jennifer became pregnant and has refused to get rid of the baby. Will the son of the dark lord be evil? Are genes destiny, or might love overcome their effect? Meanwhile, the unnatural winter grinds on in Fionavar. The people are starving and the minions of the dark lord are attacking, so Kim goes to Stonehenge to summon Arthur Pendragon and takes him and the rest of the gang back to fight evil in Fionavar. I felt pretty much the same way about The Wandering Fire as I did about The Summer Tree. Here we get to know our heroes a little better, but they still remain rather shallow even though we spend plenty of time viewing events from their perspectives and watching them act and speak with an abundance of emotion. The villains are similarly thin. The story advances, though not much has been accomplished by the end, and I had the familiar feeling that The Fionavar Tapestry could have been done in two books instead of three. The story, though derivative (there are so many Tolkienesque elements here), is intriguing, but the addition of King Arthur (and the foreshadowed love triangle with Jennifer and Lancelot) is strange and seems out of place. There are bright patches of humor and wit, especially in the blossoming romance between Sharra and Diarmuid, which has been my favorite plotline in this series. My main problem with The Fionavar Tapestry is that it’s so unrelievedly heavy and histrionic. The characters, even those from modern Toronto, express almost every thought in intense turgid prose. Everything that happens — every conversation, every fight, every sex scene, every meal — is treated as if it’s the climax of the story. It’s often beautiful, but frankly, it’s exhausting. This is an area where GGK has markedly improved over the years. His later novels are still full of passion, but in these earlier books, each character feels as if he’s likely to explode at any moment if the temperature in Fionavar ever gets above freezing. Overall, then, The Wandering Fire is a rather conventional high fantasy that suffers from excess weight and pomposity, but it’s easy and exciting to see the early stages of Guy Gavriel Kay’s later greatness here. Fans who are interested in this author’s evolution will want to be familiar with The Fionavar Tapestry, especially since its mythology is alluded to in his later novels.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nicky

    The second book of the Fionavar Tapestry feels by far the shortest, to me. That isn't to say not much happens -- a lot does happen, so much that it makes my head spin a little, but it feels quite short. Possibly because my copy is both slim and has bigger writing than the other books, which are both thicker and have tiny writing. Anyway! The Wandering Fire really introduces the Arthurian thread, which is the newest thing. It's been hinted at and set up already in The Summer Tree, but it's in The The second book of the Fionavar Tapestry feels by far the shortest, to me. That isn't to say not much happens -- a lot does happen, so much that it makes my head spin a little, but it feels quite short. Possibly because my copy is both slim and has bigger writing than the other books, which are both thicker and have tiny writing. Anyway! The Wandering Fire really introduces the Arthurian thread, which is the newest thing. It's been hinted at and set up already in The Summer Tree, but it's in The Wandering Fire that that's finally articulated. I'm interested as to how much Guy Gavriel Kay has drawn on existing Arthurian legend and how much he has built himself. I haven't read anything about Arthur being punished over and over again -- he's generally portrayed as fairly virtuous -- and I've never read anything about Lancelot raising the dead. I do like the way the legend is constructed here -- differences to the usual main themes and stories, but using them and showing that the stories we have are supposed to be reflections and echoes of this 'reality'. I love the fact that the gods aren't supposed to act and there are penalties for this... and actually more of the lore about the gods in this world, like Dana working in threes and her gifts being two-edged swords. The death in this book makes me cry... not the actual death, at least not until the very last line of that section, but the reactions, and particularly Paul's. This isn't really surprising, but it highlights once again how much these books make me care. Reread again in February 2010. It's amazing to me how much I can love almost every word of this book and yet find a small scene was horribly jarring -- it's the same in The Summer Tree, just one scene sticks in my throat and won't go down. It's the scene with Kim and Loren, at Maidaladan. It just doesn't make sense. There's no build to it. I always thought she should go to Aileron instead... now there's a build-up that makes at least some sense. Nonetheless, wow. This book breaks me more every time.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Once again this book moves me to tears. The writing is beautiful. The story is often heart-breaking. It isn't the tragedy of Arthur and Guinevere and Lancelot however that makes me weep. It's the children. The stories of Finn and Darien and to a lesser extent Tabor break my heart. They always have. So four stars. Or perhaps four and a half. This novel is shorter than The Summer Tree. Our five university students have evolved into archetypes themselves and now fit into this mythic tale in a way t Once again this book moves me to tears. The writing is beautiful. The story is often heart-breaking. It isn't the tragedy of Arthur and Guinevere and Lancelot however that makes me weep. It's the children. The stories of Finn and Darien and to a lesser extent Tabor break my heart. They always have. So four stars. Or perhaps four and a half. This novel is shorter than The Summer Tree. Our five university students have evolved into archetypes themselves and now fit into this mythic tale in a way they didn't in the first novel. All of these myths from different cultures fit into one magnificent whole, Arthur and Camelot, the story of Adonis (Greek), the Mabinogion, the Lios Alfar from Norse myths, the Goddess, Odin and his Ravens. This is a gorgeous tribute to all of those things. One side thought, when I first read these books I adored Diarmuid. What can I say I was 21. I don't care for him so much now. I'm older now and I've met too many men like that. He does redeem himself eventually if I recall correctly. I have to read The Darkest Road again to see.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Traci

    I was so impressed by the first one I really wanted to like this one, but if I had read this one alone I'm not sure I would continue with the author. My biggest problems were the introduction of King Arthur and all the sex. Okay, first of all the sex, no it wasn't graphic nor did it occur in every chapter. My problem is the lack of feelings. Or maybe too strong of feelings too quickly. Now for Arthur. The first book mixed Lord of the Rings and Narnia, to add Arthur and Lancelot seems like over k I was so impressed by the first one I really wanted to like this one, but if I had read this one alone I'm not sure I would continue with the author. My biggest problems were the introduction of King Arthur and all the sex. Okay, first of all the sex, no it wasn't graphic nor did it occur in every chapter. My problem is the lack of feelings. Or maybe too strong of feelings too quickly. Now for Arthur. The first book mixed Lord of the Rings and Narnia, to add Arthur and Lancelot seems like over kill. In the first book I liked the idea of mages and their sources but it doesn't seem to be used to it's full potential. Again my favorites are the Dalrei. And Kay's biggest strength seems to be male characters and their relationships. The women are very shallow. I liked but didn't love it. I will finish the series. And I will read more by the author hoping his other books are better. I think they will be.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    This is a book to make you remember why we read. It not only takes you to a new world, it makes you want to go there, to know these people, to become part of their lives, to join in their quest. The second book in Fionavar is simply amazing. He can write so well, what takes Tolkien a chapter to paint, Kay does in a page or two. And he just plays with your emotions so effortlessly: So it was amid laughter and joy that the company set forth to ride to Taerlindel. Where a ship lay waiting to bear fi This is a book to make you remember why we read. It not only takes you to a new world, it makes you want to go there, to know these people, to become part of their lives, to join in their quest. The second book in Fionavar is simply amazing. He can write so well, what takes Tolkien a chapter to paint, Kay does in a page or two. And he just plays with your emotions so effortlessly: So it was amid laughter and joy that the company set forth to ride to Taerlindel. Where a ship lay waiting to bear fifty men to a place of death The battle scenes are not long and not many, but they are as good as any I have read: Swift were their horses, passing swift their blades, fierce was the fire in the hearts of the Children of Light. Into the ranks of the svarts they rode, sharp and glittering, and the foot soldiers of the Dark screamed with hate and fear to see them come. This is a book and a story to make your heart beat fast. If you like fantasy, you will love it.

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