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Guy Gavriel Kay – The Darkest Road

February 25, 2008

23. The Darkest Road by Guy Gavriel Kay (1987)
The Fionavar Tapestry, Book 3

Length: 444 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Started: 21 February 2008
Finished: 25 February 2008

Summary: This book really belongs to Darien, child of Jennifer and Rakoth Maugrim, perfectly balanced between the forces of Light and Dark. With the power of a god, the body of a man, and the soul of a still-young child, he walks the Darkest Road, not fitting in anywhere, forced to blindly choose his path that will ultimately decide the fate of Fionavar. Which is not to say that the other characters don’t have their parts to play, of course. The book starts with Kim on her way to the giants, to free them from their binding by the Dark, and encompasses the return of Amiargen to Lisen’s Tower, Matt Soren’s return to his Kingdom of the Dwarves, and the final battle for the fate of Fionavar and thus of all worlds.

Review: This book took me longer than I was expecting it too, partly because of my short attention span recently, but also because it’s a dense book. Dense with characters, dense with language, dense with themes and threads and plots and power and emotions – most specifically emotions. And this density requires a fair amount of attention from the reader; the underlying emotions that give weight and power to a scene are so captured so really, but in a way that you have to invest yourself in the story without having things spelled out for you, which makes for a much more moving reading experience. Kay has a way of telling a story so that everything that happens just seems right. Things might not happen the way you expect them to, almost certainly won’t all happen the way you want them too, but the way the story unfolds is heart-breaking in its rightness. I am not a particularly easy crier, but I had tears in my eyes intermittently starting about a hundred pages from the end, and then constantly for the last fifty. 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: A bit of a slow start, although that might just be me. You can’t read the first two and not read this one, though, and all of the varied threads of the Tapestry are brought together in this worthy conclusion.

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First Line: “Do you know the wish of your heart?”

Vocab:

  • p. 84: “At the same time, the ambit of his authority – of anyone’s for that matter – seemed always to come to a sharp terminus at the point where Diarmuid’s own wishes began.” – a sphere of operation or influence; range; scope.
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