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Shadowmarch: Shadowmarch: Volume I Mass Market Paperback – Sep 5 2006

3.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 816 pages
  • Publisher: DAW; Reprint edition (Sept. 5 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756403596
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756403591
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 4.3 x 17.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #217,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Booklist

Williams opens another of the intricate, intriguing sagas that are his stock-in-trade. In a once turbulently conflicted land of humans, elves, and dwarves, an old truce is starting to unravel. The frontier called the Shadowline, between the Twilight Lands and those of humans, is being breached. The first Marchlands kingdom in the path of Twilight invaders is in disarray, for its king is a prisoner, and not all accept his elder son's regency. What's more, the cruel empire of the south is moving north. So the Marchlands are caught between two foes while having to deal with internal intrigues and inexperienced rulers. When the prince regent is killed, apparently by one of his closest advisors, the surviving regents are an impetuous princess and a disabled prince. Trust at court and in the kingdom dwindles even as Twilight forces attack, and responsibilities the princess never dreamed of or prepared for fall upon her. A page-turner, if you can keep the who, where, and when straight (the appended lists of people and places help). Frieda Murray
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A master storyteller, equally adept at whatever genre chosen, and often on a grand scale."

A thrill ride...will enchant established fans and win new converts. ("Publishers Weekly," starred review) A page-turner. ("Booklist")

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I just finished Shadowmarch. To be honest, I wasn't very impressed. Not that it was a bad book, but it wasn't up to par with Williams' usual quality of writing.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
Although not part of the review, I would like to respond for a moment to the two reviews above that mention George RR Martin's work. I adore Ice & Fire and think it the most exceptional fantasy out there at the moment. But really, Tad Williams most definately didn't borrow from GRRM, if anything, you can say (as said above) that GRRM borrowed from Mr Williams' first trilogy, Memory, Sorrow & Thorn, which I also don't believe. All writers of a genre, especially fantasy, have similarities.
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Shadowmarch is the first book in a quadrilogy written by Tad Williams, a fantasy and sci-fi authour with a long pedigree. His experience shows in the writing; it's taught, skilful, and, at times, poetic. This is an authour that's been around the block a couple times, and it shows. It's just a shame that Mr. Williams' editor didn't cut the book in half. The writing would have been even tighter and more focused, because Shadowmarch in its published form ends up losing its way after a few hundred pages and becomes meandering, and, to be honest, kind of boring.

Shadowmarch is a book about a princess. Its title alludes to the city she ends up ruling over, but it's not gone into in any real detail, and, aside from its geography of being located on a spit of land connected to the mainland by an artificial causeway, it seems rather generic. Its real focus is on the travails of one Princess Briony, and, to a lesser extent, Prince Barrick, her emo twin brother. Together, they form the royal household of Eddon. Overall, though, you won't find yourself caring all that much about them. You would think in an 800+ page book a lot would happen to these characters, but you end up realizing very little actually does. Barrick complains about his arm some, Briony cries, Barrick acts emo, yadda, yadda, yadda. It's not badly written, it's just not very interesting.

The book shifts through a number of separate PoVs, with its most disconcerting shift being that of Qinnitan's, in a far away continent to the south. I feel the novel would have been better served if this PoV were cut altogether.
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