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The Maze Like Castle Of Southmarch Stands Sentry Along The Border Between The Human Kingdoms And The Land Of The Immortal Qua Now, The Darkness From Beyond That Border Has Begun To Enfold Southmarch Or Shadowmarch The Qua S Ancient Home To Stop The Darkness Falling, The Southmarch Royal Family Must Face Their Human Enemies, Supposed Friends And The Family Curse Twins Barrick And Briony Shoulder Impossible Burdens As Their Father Is Imprisoned And Their Brother Murdered Briony Flees Towards Her Father And The Slave Armies Of The Autarch, While Her Brother Barrick Crosses The Shadowline Gripped By Madness

10 thoughts on “Shadowmarch

  1. says:

    It has been way too many years since I picked up a Tad Williams fantasy I read the books surrounding the Dragonbone Chair back when they came out and I was extremely impressed by the writing quality and character, the slow burn and devoted character building, the inexorable finality of the grand explosion or magical release or bloodshed to come.He builds slowly, carefully, and with enormous attention to detail.Therefore, I knew very well what I was getting into here These are long books and there are a lot of them, and true to modern epic fantasy form, we have a firmly established place and time We get to know all our main characters, their little squabbles, their personalities, their little strivings.It requires patience Even to me, it required a lot of patience I grew bored with long stretches, but nothing is permanent Battles and magic and the Shadow come to those who wait, as well as long stretches underground, fae creatures, goblins, and a truly wicked scene being set.Darkness and all the creatures in it will come to reclaim the land And I mean literal darkness, neverending night, and this is no hyperbole Tad Williams is setting the stage for an end all epic scene of destruction and mayhem and horror.I trust him as I trust few writers His Otherland SF series was a brilliant romp of the imagination and his fantasy reaches high brow status while never skimping on the gritty detail.But again, it requires otherworldly patience The taste of things to come at the end of this huge tome is well worth the wait I feel like I ve grown up with these folks now I feel like I m living here, that I love this place The anticipation of its destruction is truly wicked.Suffice to say, I can t let this end here I m in it for the long haul, and that s sometimes the only thing you can do.

  2. says:

    This book puts all of Tad Williams strengths and weaknesses on display Whether the strengths or weaknesses dominate is a matter of personal taste I suppose As for me, I enjoy his work, but his weaknesses definitely detract from that enjoyment.First off, the strengths As a fantasist by which I mean creativity, ideas, inspiration and the use of pre existing concepts in a fantasy setting and a world builder, Tad Williams is very good Perhaps the best we ve got right now None of the other names I considered have both of these gifts in the depth or strength that he does The Shadowline, the Qur, the Funderlings, Southmarch and the other March Kingdoms, Xand, Hierosol, the various religions of this world, Williams introduces them all to the reader and helps said reader get a sense of the world as than just words on a page or a name on a map While reading Williams is almost like truly visiting his imagined world Unfortunately, the company usually isn t very good.William s weaknesses are almost the reverse, or perhaps the consequences of his strengths Characterization and plotting Ironically, his characters are not a weakness because of a lack of ability on his part, but rather because the same depth and detail that makes his fantasy worlds so rich, tend to make his characters profoundly unsatisfying People, or at least I personally, don t like stupid, indecisive heroes or heroines Yes, in real life teenagers are impulsive and sometimes foolish, thinking they understand than they do Non teenagers as well But if you re going to work so hard giving your characters realistic flaws, you need to work even harder to make sure they stay likeable.The main focus of this series or at least the first book is the royal twins Prince Barrick and Princess Briony Barrick is cold and arrogant, half mad at times and with a deformed arm His sister is brash and headstrong, demanding what she sees as her due without seeming to understand what is expected of her in return Their main redeeming qualities are for Barrick, that his several afflictions are pitiable and that he s very intelligent, and for Briony, that she at least tries to do her duty as she sees it and that she can be kind And both of them are extremely devoted to each other Is that enough to make you forget how often you want to just grab them and shake them until they stop being so stupid That s for you to decide.As for the plotting well, Williams pattern is to cram so much into his books that the first two move at something of a snails pace without really seeming to That is, when the third book kicks into high gear to resolve everything that the first two books have left hanging, those first two seem much plodding in comparison And that third book is both much longer and something of a let down as there is so much to wrap up that nothing really gets the attention that it would have in either of the first two books He tends to divide his attention between so many characters, in so many different parts of his world that its difficult to bring all the threads together and then wind the story to a close without things seeming rushed He writes trilogies that really need five books There s no reason to believe this series will be different.

  3. says:

    It took me two weeks to read 200 pages from The Quiet War and I finished this mammoth of than 800 pages in just one This says something about how good and gripping is Tad Williams writing.If you re used to his style, then you ll know that this book is just a longer prologue for future events There are a lot of things happening here as well, but the story is just beginning to unfold.Shadowmarch is, like the Osten Ard Saga, another epic fantasy with a multitude of main characters, all caught up in a turmoil of war and betrayals There are a lot of magical and funny creatures, some good, some bad We have a coming of age story of the royal twins, of an adopted strange six years boy who doesn t know who he is and many others, all of them mingled in an intricate story, with bits and pieces of mysteries which keep you hooked Each of the characters is different from the other, each with its own story and different path so that you won t get bored I could not help it not to root for almost all of them and I can only begin to guess what s to come so I can t wait to read further.It was a great read, with a lot of humor and I guess its magic put a spell on me

  4. says:

    Solid well written Fantasy I decided to go with 4 stars simply because I thought it had some pacing problems Instead of 800 pages, this felt like a tale that should have been edited down to 550 or so Barring that, I enjoyed it.

  5. says:

    I had high hopes for this book, after reading and liking The Dragonbone Chair series by the same author Unfortunately, this book suffered from distracting disconnect and fragmentary storytelling The book constantly switched between plotlines and characters, often multiple times in a single chapter Just as I d start to get into a story I d find the point of view switched to another character, or another country entirely Then when I was interested in that story, it would be switched again I fancy I have a higher tolerance than most for fragmented storytelling I am of the internet generation I m used to receiving information in short bursts but even so this book was too much for me It took me a month to get through it just because I couldn t muster the long term attention necessary to read it continuously.That said, the story itself is rather impressive and well laid out I m still debating whether my desire to know what happens will win out against the struggle it will be to read the rest of the books in the series We will see.

  6. says:

    I m a fan of Tad Williams I ve read his Memory of Sorrow and Thorn series twice, and plan to read Otherland again someday But this one is just not for me It s definitely in the category of Dark Fantasy, and I m not ready to read 2500 pages of bleakness, hopelessness, and madness I know when it starts out bad only to get worse, when everything that could go wrong does, and everyone who started out solid begins to fall apart and twist into something else, that it s not going to improve through the next 4 books The intro setup is likely the highest point in the whole series, which is not saying much I decided long ago not to put myself through depressing reading because it s not something I can enjoy I had read reviews saying that this series fell into the Dark Fantasy category, but I had to try it for myself I tried it I don t want to read any of it I will still read of Tad Williams work that is not in this category in the future.Edit I normally rate books 1 star that I can t even finish, but I m giving this 2 stars just because I do like Williams writing style He s good.

  7. says:

    Didn t finish Got about a fifth of the way in and got tired of reading about all kinds of details but not having the story go anywhere Skipped to end, and discovered that after six hundred some pages, nothing much happened Though I imagine there were lots of details.

  8. says:

    The first part of a series where the well known writer returns to the spirit of the series that marked him, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn These things I liked are here, with the plot and the writing style being very close.The basic story is simple in a kingdom that does not go through its best days, a threat from the past returns, a defeated race returns to take revenge, bringing chaos and destruction The duty to deal with them falls on the young sons and the daughter of the king who, without being prepared, must discover what is happening and protect their own subjects, persuading their doubters But the obstacles they have to face are many, as well as the external dangers they have to deal with dangerous political games from within So we have an interesting mystery and an interesting emotional situation as our heroes try to find the inner power they need in front of what they have to do Along with all this, somewhere far we have an Oriental story, where her heroine is confronted with the strange habits of a distant country.All this in a book that introduces us very well into a story that seems to be very great It gives us a picture of the imaginary world, where it is inhabited by cute creatures and some not so cute, while slowly the writer unfolds the mystery that becomes and intense as we go into the book This unwinding may be slower than it should, as the plot does not go very fast, but this is not necessarily bad So it s a pretty good first part that prepares the readers for a sequel where they can expect many interesting things , Memory, Sorrow and Thorn , , , , , , , , , , , .

  9. says:

    This is epic fantasy at it s absolute best, but I should also warn you it is DARK So if you re not a huge fan of dark epic fantasy, this might not be for you If you don t mind a little dark, though, I really can t see how you will be disappointed.What I Have to Say Lately, I have been rediscovering epic fantasy, and I don t know how, but I seem to pick only the most amazing books with which to rediscover it Because that is exactly what Shadowmarch is Amazing Tad Williams has constructed a creative, intelligent, solid piece of dark epic fantasy, and I m a fanWhat I most liked about Shadowmarch is that it is far than just an epic fantasy It is full of complexities He takes familiar ideas and familiar things and turns them into SO much making you wonder why any other author would ever even try with similar ideas Tad Williams has already done it and done it so well that it seems there s no point though I will admit there were some things reminiscent of the Fraggles and the Borrowers, and I would be dreadfully sad if those didn t exist It starts off so easily that, despite the length, you ll be halfway through before you know it and wondering where all the time went I recently reviewed Acacia by David Anthony Durham, and in that book I was impressed with the parallels to the different countries we find in our world today they were obivous without seeming forced or lacking in creativity While, in Shadowmarch, the parallels to our world seemed to focus on already dead civilizations, I was even impressed with Tad William s way of making his story seem relevant while still allowing it to remain 100% fantasy.I feel like I could turn this review into something almost as long as the book itself, but it seems kind of pointless as I gather it has already been done a thousand times before, and it would just give away too much I almost think it is best to go into this book blind for ultimate enjoyment So, to finish, there was just one small thing that I didn t love about the book, and that was that, with one minor exception, I didn t actually connect to any of the characters They all seemed like they were only STARTING to be developed, and, since the book was so long, it seems like it could have taken a bit time to help us empathize with the characters But then, there are books to the series, and I m figuring by the end, I will either love or hate all of them BEcause of this, though, it does occasionally feel SLIGHTLY slow moving towards the middle.Shadowmarch is one powerful bang of a book, and fans of dark epic fantasy will absolutely NOT be disappointed This book is definitely worth the time it takes to read it and If you know my reviews, you know that I don t give 5 stars lightly, and this book is definitely worth all 5 of them

  10. says:

    This is the first of a trilogy Tad Williams is the best writer of fantasy or Science Fiction today That s my opinion He is a master of invention and description If you haven t read his Otherland books, you could start there Anyhow, Shadowmarch is a fantasy novel and the cast of characters is vast and incredibly seductive The plot, as usual with his writing, is intricate to the extreme and keeps you turning the pages If there were 6 stars for his books, I d give them.