After the first book had been such a tantalising read, I was anxious to see what The Wandering Fire – the second book in the Fionavar Tapestry Trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay – had in store. I was not disappointed.
The book picks up a few months after the first finished. Kay has a way of just trusting his reader, for he doesn’t explain how they got there or what their reactions are to anything that has happened. Instead, he lets the reader find that out for themselves and it doesn’t take long to realise the five friends are struggling, especially Jennifer – pregnant with a child of darkness forced upon her.
Events slowly bring them back to Fionavar, back to the war they knew was waiting to be fought. Only there is no fighting, just an everlasting winter that is slowly crushing the spirit of all those who oppose it. Determined to find a way to help, each of the friends must begin to come to terms with the powers resting inside of them and understanding the full potential of what they are capable of. Kim and Paul began to unlock that within the events of the first book, only now the others must also step up if they are to survive.
Old characters return, more profound than ever. But new ones are also introduced, including giving it in Arthurian twist when Kim brings back to life the Warrior – Arthur Pendragon himself. Destined to never rest because of past crimes, it is soon revealed there is more to Jennifer than meets the eye as she is, in fact, Guinevere.
A tale of love and lost, of fights and romance, The Wandering Fire is even more powerful than the first book. There is still the split narration, but due to already having an understanding of who the characters are, it does not lead to the disjointed feel that was present at times in the first. Instead, Kay weaves a tale of excitement, one where it is impossible to put the book down as the characters slowly come into their powers and twists happen that you never saw coming. The fights are intense and Kay’s ability to kill off (and sometimes revive) his characters means there is no guaranteed outcome, no way of predicting what the end is.
The reader is swept into the story where worlds collide and myths from history rise again to defeat evil. The book truly builds upon the first, but adds more mystical creatures and deepens the magic being performed as an understanding of the world builds. The climax is satisfactory in its own way, yet also leaves the reader desperate for the final book in order to see if this evil can be defeated and whether the five have the power within them to overcome the darkness.
A thrilling story of self-discovery and sacrifice that will have a reader gripped from the first page to the last. Definitely a trilogy that needs to be read in order though.