Profile: Fantasy, “High Fantasy”
If you Google “Fionavar” and visit the first couple of results, you will quickly see a pattern. Every single website directly compares Kay’s trilogy to the works of Tolkien. Some are very direct about it, such as the Wikipedia entry that notes the similarities in world construction; geography and cosmology in particular. Kay’s own website remarks that Fionavar is deliberately styled after Tolkien’s High Fantasy concept. Most, if not all, of the professional reviews reference Tolkien and most of them are complementary. It is, in face, impossible to experience this novel in cyberspace and not be exposed to a large sized container of your choice of Middle Earth.
It is tempting to say that Kay has updated the Lord of the Rings trilogy and done a rather good job of it. It is tempting to say that Kay was the correct choice to do this because of his experience editing The Silmarillion. But ultimately, The Summer Tree falls somewhat short of these lofty expectations and while this review will have ZERO impact on the enormous body of comparison that already exists; I cannot just rubberstamp A J.R.R. Seal of Approval and call it a day.