After one year and two read-throughs of The Wandering Fire, I have finally finished Guy Gavriel Kay’s first fantasy series. In the final installment, The Darkest Road weaves the events of the first two books into a grand conclusion, forcing the Light and Dark to clash and determine the fate of all worlds.
Spoilers abound here. I don’t want to go into much detail, but I will set the scene. Once again, The Darkest Road jumps back into the timeline immediately. Kim’s story picks up after being ambushed by a group of men in the mountains. Dave strategizes with the Dalrei as the impending battle looms over the forces of the Light. And Paul sails from Cader Sedat as Jennifer waits for the group in a tower near the sea.
After the heart-pounding events that seemed to grace each page of book two, The Darkest Road feels slow in comparison. There was a lot of build-up before the final battle, and the myriad of moments we jumped through felt choppy. Additionally, the well of emotion I was so used to up until this point felt shallow, that is, until the final events. I hate to admit it, but the first three parts of this story are my least favorite in the entire series. That magical essence that propelled me to devour the first two books was missing here, but the good news is the ending delivers all that Guy Gavriel Kay epicness.
The endings for our main characters are varied. Some have more fulfilling conclusions than others, but overall I am happy with where their story ends. Kim takes the lead in The Darkest Road, so much so that the others fade into the background quickly. Looking back on the series, I dare say Kim is the main character. While everyone is integral to the tapestry, Kim’s thread is thicker than the rest as she drives major events throughout the series. As we see in this final installment, Kim’s choices determine who reigns in the end. It makes her adventure weighted with sorrow, and I appreciated her portions in this story more than most.
The Darkest Road may start slow, but the Weaver didn’t let me down by the end. The threads that appeared in book one are finally woven together, and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing Guy Gavriel Kay’s grand vision appear on this epic tapestry. I’ve been recommending this series a lot lately, and I am happy to say the end will satisfy all who dare venture to Fionavar.
The Darkest Road – 7.5/10
Fionavar Tapestry – 9/10