One of the first things I did when I moved into residence on the downtown campus of the University of Toronto, was seek out Convocation Hall. And then take a stroll down Philosopher’s Walk. Just in case. Y’know… just on the off chance that I would meet a tall, silver-haired, distinguished looking gentleman who, in reality was a wizard – a Mage from another world – looking for a handful of students to accompany him to that world. Epic adventure would then, naturally, ensue. Because, you see, that is what happened in my very favorite trilogy of books that I had been reading annually (at least!) for some years by that time.
That was some years ago.
Now, of course, I write. I write Young Adult fantasy. This trilogy of which I speak – these three extraordinary books, written by an extraordinary writer named Guy Gavriel Kay, that make up THE FIONAVAR TAPESTRY – were the fantasy I read when I was a young adult. And although this series isn’t technically catagorized as such (indeed, I’m not entirely certain there was such a classification back then), if you like to read YA fantasy, you must – MUST – pick these books up.
THE SUMMER TREE, THE WANDERING FIRE, and THE DARKEST ROAD.
They are epic. They are transporting. They start in, of all places, Toronto (now my home town – see above!). They are heartbreaking and majestic and funny. They are steeped in mythology and folklore. They are bursting with a cast of characters that will stay with you forever and I sincerely mean that. Diarmuid (oh, Diarmuid… sigh…), Aileron (sigh…), Paul, Kevin, Jennifer, Kim, Dave, Loren Silvercloak (that Mage I mentioned earlier – and am still on the lookout for every time I’m around campus), Jaelle, Arthur (super sigh…), the list goes on. There are fantastical creatures and bloody battles. There is love and loss. The settings are rich and the story is layered and fascinating and, above all else, fun!
And I now have to go read them again. You should too.
Today is #FIONAVAR day on Twitter. That is because the good people at HarperCollins have decided to re-release them with new covers. This is an excellent idea. Because EVERYONE should get the chance to read these books. They made me want to read. More to the point, they made me want to write. Sonny and Kelley, Clare and Milo and Allie, Fennrys and Mason owe their existence, in no small measure, to these books.
Check them out.
Of course, I’m not the only one who feels this way about these books. The lovely and talented Arthur Slade wrote this excellent post about the effect these books had on him not too long ago. When I read it, I felt like he was reading my mind. Arthur – I would like to join you on that desert island in a second comfy chair so we can sit silently and reread the whole dang trilogy front to back. In the evening, we’ll discuss. And raise a glass to the sons of Ailell. 😉