The Darkest Road by Guy Gavriel Kay


The conclusion of Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry is reached with The Darkest Road.

The five young hereos from our world go back to Fionavar to face the ultimate battle between good and evil. With only their new-found powers, courage and Arthur Pendragon to aid them, they must sail to meet the Unraveller, Rakoth Maugrim, for the final time.

The Fionavar Tapestry is not Guy Gavriel Kay's best work, flawed might be one word to describe it but it does give enough indications of what wonderful work was to follow shortly in the form of Tigana, Sailing to Sarantium and The Lions of Al-Rassan.

The cover illustrations by Martin Springett are once again beautiful and are worth the book price alone. It's hard to put your finger on exactly why this trilogy falls short, there are moments of brilliance but they seem to coincide with chapters that seemed forced, unstructured and not in keeping with the rest of the narrative. For instance, when the child does finally take the darkest road that is the book's title, it is a deeply moving experience. The problem falls mainly with the five characters who are from "our world". They are one-dimensional and rather charmless but the majesty of the world into which they are taken makes up for this. I guess that these books are slightly infuriating because they never quite reach the heights that they seem destined to meet.

"As he did the same she saw, grieving, that the moonlight and the stars were shining through him. Then Imraith-Nimphais spread her wings, and she and her rider were gone. Another star for a moment, and then nothing at all."
The Darkest Road: The Last Kanior

There are paragraphs in the book that the English would describe as cheesy and the Americans, corny. I know that it isn't going to happen but it would be fantastic if Guy Gavriel Kay could go back and edit these books up to the same standard of his later works.

The funny thing is though, that although this review has more negatives than positives, The Darkest Road and the Fionavar Tapestry are very enjoyable books to read. Maybe, because the author was Guy Gavriel Kay, my expectations were too high. This is still better than most of the fantasy books available today but pales into comparison with his later, simply brilliant work.

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All reviews for Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar Tapestry series

The Summer Tree

Five men and women find themselves flung into the magical land of Fionavar, First of all Worlds. They have been called there by the mage Loren Silvercloak, and quickly find [...]

The Wandering Fire

As the evil of Rakoth Maugrim threatens the very existence of Fionavar, the five from our own world must cross over once again to play out their given roles: Kimberly to su [...]

The Darkest Road

The young heroes from our own world have gained power and maturity from their sufferings and adventures in Fionavar. Now they must bring all the strength and wisdom they po [...]

More Guy Gavriel Kay reviews


Set in a beleaguered land caught in a web of tyranny, Tigana is the deeply moving story of a people struggling to be free. A people so cursed by the dark sorceries of the t [...]

The Lions of Al-Rassan

The ruling Asharites of Al-Rassan have come from the desert sands, but over centuries, seduced by the sensuous pleasures of their new land, their stern piety has eroded. Th [...]

Under Heaven

For two years Shen Tai has mourned his father, living like a hermit beyond the borders of the Kitan Empire, by a mountain lake where terrible battles have long been fought [...]

A Brightness Long Ago

International bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay's latest work is set in a world evoking early Renaissance Italy and offers an extraordinary cast of characters whose li [...]

Sailing to Sarantium

Rumoured to be responsible for the ascension of the previous Emperor, his uncle, amid fire and blood, Valerius the Trakesian has himself now risen to the Golden Throne of t [...]


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