Now in mass market paperback-Tad Williams' triumphant return to high fantasy!
The Good Points:
-The prologue was excellent, mysterious and gripping, and really drew me into the book. The blind king and motionless queen were very intriguing.
-Williams did a good job of creating many more questions than answers in this book so you want to keep reading to solve the mysteries. Especially at the end of the book, the world is in upheaval, all the characters are embarking on journeys, and I would like to see what happens to everybody in the next book.
-The scenes describing the Qar were interesting and well written. I especially liked the descriptions of their main stronghold, where Williams really shows off his imagination and powers of description.
The Not So Good Points:
-VERY few of the human characters were exceptional or even interesting in any way. I didn't care about these characters nearly as much as I did about those from Memory, Sorrow and Thorn and Otherland. Indeed, a good half dozen of the characters seem like boring remakes of characters from MS&T. Barrick and Briony seemed to me like annoying versions of Simon & Miriamele, right down to the colour of their hair! I won't bother to mention all the others...The only human I really liked was Ferras Vansen--he's such a darn nice guy. Also, Chert and Opal Quartz were pretty endearing.
-I felt that there were a couple too many POVs. It diluted the story. Especially Quinnitan's story--if Williams was going to include her, shouldn't he at least have hinted by the end of the book what on earth she has to do with anything?
-The setting of Southmarch didn't seem very interesting to me.
Now to the review. I've read all of Williams' works and to a degree loved them all. MS&T was still the most poignant for me and the story to draw me in the most. Otherland was admittedly brilliant, but it didn't pull me emotionally the way MS&T did.
Anyway, Shadowmarch have the most overtones of MS&T with a bit of War of the Flowers as well, but not as good. Dragonbone Chair did start off slow, but not THIS slow for goodness sake! I don't like the (apparent) protoganists, the twins, but there's hopes that they will grow and develop. The Qar are very interesting and the prologue as well as the other references to them are intriguing and I wonder what they plan, exactly. The Funderlings are slightly reminiscent of the Trolls, just a bit more, err.. hobbit-like than the trolls were. I like them though and the foundling child is another great mystery. I was especially interested in the POV half a world away, for the very reason that it doesn't tie in with the story yet but knowing Williams, it eventually will. Captain of the Guard is a character I really liked and would like to read more about as well as Shaso. Chaven is slightly reminscent of Dr Morgenes from MS&T, but hopefully he will stick around longer and some of his mystery be cleared up.Read more ›