Day 253: The Darkest Road

Cover for The Darkest RoadI guess it’s about time for me to finish The Fionavar Tapestry series by reviewing the last book. I have avoided doing this because my notes mostly consist of comments about who I was sad about (Finn, Tabor, and Diarmuid) and who I didn’t care about (Jennifer, Darien, Dave, Paul, Kevin).

The end of the novel is, of course, an epic battle. I would actually like to read a fantasy novel that doesn’t end with an epic battle. But the crux of the matter lies with the god-child Darien, who has to decide whether he is good like his mother Jennifer or evil like his father Rakoth. Unfortunately, because Kay chose the route of having Jennifer be Queen Guinevere reincarnate, she isn’t allowed to develop as a character but is treated more as a symbol. As I stated before in my review of The Wandering Fire, I think the whole Guinevere/King Arthur/Lancelot plot is completely unnecessary.

My other significant comments are that the pace is very slow and I feel the final book, although affecting, perhaps tied up all the loose ends too neatly. I would like to close, unusually, by quoting a review from Publisher’s Weekly, because it is true and made me laugh. “The exceptionally detailed background of this fantasy would be more impressive if it didn’t suffocate a book already burdened with static narrative and turgid, poetic prose that all too fittingly captures the adolescent posturing of its transplanted college student protagonists.” You might remember my comments about the juvenile characters in my review of  The Summer Tree.

The Fionavar Tapestry is a well-known work by Guy Gavriel Kay, but really, if you want to try reading him, you can do much better. Pretty cover, though.

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