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The Summer Queen (Questar Science Fiction) Paperback – December, 1992

4.4 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the Snow Queen Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Vinge returns to the worlds of her Hugo Award-winning The Snow Queen , blending complex characters and mythic resonances with the sweeping grandeur of an interplanetary saga.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

As the Summer Star ascends in the skies above the planet Tiamat, marking the end of more than a century of exploitation by the technologically advanced Hegemony, Moon Dawntreader--the Summer Queen appointed to lead her people back to their traditional ways--breaks with ancient custom, choosing instead to prepare to meet the Hegemony's inevitable return on equal terms. In this sequel to The Snow Queen (Dell, 1980), Vinge weaves a complex web of tangled love affairs, secret cabals, political intrigue, and high adventure centering around a unique woman and her visionary gift. The breadth and richness of this sf epic invite comparison with Frank Herbert's Dune and Isaac Asimov's "Foundation Trilogy." Although best read in tandem with its predecessor, this masterpiece of creative world-building is a priority purchase.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Questar Science Fiction
  • Paperback: 949 pages
  • Publisher: Questar; Reprint edition (December 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446362514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446362511
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,535,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian King on November 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
How you will feel about Summer Queen will depend on what you're looking for when you pick it up. I disagree with the last reviewer's doorstop comment. I feel that it's a bit unfair. I certainly agree that Snow Queen was a tighter work from an "action" perspective. However, I was never bored with the sequel. The pace just doesn't remain at breakneck throughout, and I suppose some people are only interested in that kind of pacing. While I was in the middle part, I kept thinking "Ah, the plot thickens." "Ooh, the plot thickens yet again." "Hmm, the plot is becoming molasses!" However, I was very excited for the last few hundred pages.
This book is more solidly about characters and their relationships than the universe in which it's set. People who prefer a "genre fiction" approach like Asimov's Foundation or Tolkien (where the world is the main character) will probably lose interest in Vinge's detailed character development. Science fiction is often disparaged for a lack of character development, so I applaud Vinge for tackling that stereotype. She also ventured into the still-risky topics of homosexuality and transgenderism.
I give Summer Queen a high rating. If you have a low attention span, then perhaps you shouldn't be reading books which are over 900 pages long!
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Format: Paperback
This huge book is an intimate story built around big themes. Action fans, beware! Although there are generous servings of adventure and suspense, this is essentially a character-driven story, even more so than its marvelous predecessor, THE SNOW QUEEN.

At the heart of the story is the ancient, mysterious repository of the human knowledge gleaned from cultures past and present, worlds known and lost. Throughout history and across galaxies, the machine and its revered human conduit, the Sibyl Network, have been relied upon for answers to all manner of questions--trivial and profound, personal and technological. The Sibyl Mind binds humanity together. But it is showing signs of failure. To lose it would be to lose civilization. The task of saving civilization becomes entrusted not to warriors or superheroes, but to a small group of living, breathing people.

The Summer Queen, Moon, has learned that the machinery behind the Sibyl Mind resides on her undeveloped planet, Tiamat. She must find a way to protect and heal the Mind without exposing it. This is no mean feat for a country girl on a repressed world where ignorance and culture clashes have been encouraged by powerful offworlders to their own advantage. Moon grows up in a hurry. Her determination is unwavering, but the burden of her responsibilities puts a strain on her compassionate nature. For her, it isn't much fun being Queen!

Worlds away is BZ Gundhalinu, who, after many personal trials, has become a hero by restoring the means of faster-than-light travel to the empire-building Kharemoughis. Although relatively at peace with himself, he must walk a dangerous, duplicitous path if he is to shield his beloved Moon and her Tiamatans from the very exploitation that he has made possible.
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Format: Paperback
I avoided reading this book because I feared that it, like the sequel to Dune, would not be as engaging as the original. How wrong I was! This book is better than the original, and since the original was a Hugo award winning classic, that is saying an awful lot. Moon's major quest is not just to recapture her lost lover; it is to save an entire race of intelligent sea creatures. And her adversary is not one woman, her genetic equal; it is the entire might of the Hegemony. As in the first, her undeniable pluck and good will help her overcome the most difficult obstacles only to find herself faced with more hardship, so much that your heart cries out to her and everyone around her.

As Moon has grown up, I think Vinge also has grown up. The relationships in this book are much more mature and complicated, and I was constantly reminded of true feelings in my own life as I read this book. I think Vinge also fell in love with BZ, because he becomes so much more dear in this book, so much more complete. There are flaws, of course. The first book was much tighter; Vinge is contantly re-iterating events from the past, particularly concerning BZ, extending the pages with excessive exposition. And it does not have the same "Ah-Ha!" revelation as the first one, as the story is pretty clear to the reader from the beginning. It more than makes up for it, though, in small surprises, in moments of beauty and tragedy that forced me to read the last 300 pages in a single day...

There is something about this book, something so much more than real, that makes it hard for me to stop thinking about it. I think what makes it so wonderful is that even though, in the end, Moon and her cause accomplish so much, they lose so much in the process. It is a bittersweet ending, both happy and sad, and there is nothing better.
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By A Customer on April 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have read the Snow Queen as well as the Summer Queen, and I really liked both of them. The Snow Queen did more for me, however, because it had more an air of innocence about the characters in it than the Summer Queen did. I was somewhat disappointed in the rolls of the characters, here, especially Sparks. However, this book did well at carrying on the story.
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