Having found Kay's Tigana
overly cluttered and too much for a single novel, it was with trepidation I sat down to read The Summer Tree. Would it be better, would it be worse or would it be the same? Only the conjunction of my mind and eyes with the paper pages of the book would reveal. I was not let down by the contents of this book, overall. However I felt that were some elements of the text better handled this book could have earned a five star rating instead of the four stars I gave it.
The plot and the world building of this story was phenomenally entertaining. Certainly not to the level of J.R.R Tolkien but then Kay was not attempting to write for the self same reason was he. He set out to write an entertaining read and he succeeded. His characters possessed flaws and yet were ultimately heroic making them both likeable and entertaining.
However despite such positives I felt that some aspects of the book appeared poorly explained (I know, because I often stumble over my words and have to rewrite my work, how easily it happens). I personally felt the reasons for bringing the characters into the world of Fionavar was poorly explained and that Kay could have written those opening scenes with more finesse. Also the inclusion of gods interfering in mortal actions in crucial scenes ended up coming across as almost deus ex machina (ironically). I felt that some scenes could have done without the involvement of the gods to give a more realistic and polished edge to the novel.
When all's said and done however this is an impressive piece of fantasy fiction. I have now finally observed Kay put his talents to work crafting a fine and uncluttered piece of fiction and I am to say the least impressed. I recommend reading this series and shall read more of his work in the future. In many ways his poetic style reminded me of the way I like to write and this provided an affinity with his work. I particularly wish to continue with this series.