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Shadowheart (Shadowmarch #4)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,855 Ratings  ·  184 Reviews
"When it comes to inventing new worlds, he's as skilled as J.R.R. Tolkien and Frank Herbert." -Christopher Paolini, bestselling author of Eragon. Southmarch Castle is about to be caught between two implacable enemies, the ancient, immortal Qar and the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis. Meanwhile, its two young defenders, Princess Briony and Prince Barrick, are both trapp ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 730 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by DAW (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tad Williams is a very gifted storyteller, with an astonishing imagination. This final volume of the Shadowmarch-Adventure is no different. Alas, alas... I fear either Mr. Williams or his publisher have not quite come to terms with the fact that they're selling books, not ground meat. What I mean: as if paid by the weight of the product. Williams' "Otherland"-saga suffered from this flaw as well: just too much. Either there is no editor, or Williams has a contract that forbids any cuts, I don't ...more
In the end only duty, or the love from which duty springs, can provide strength for such a journey.

Southmarch es un pequeño reino que se encuentra después de varias generaciones de relativa paz en medio de una lucha contra los Qar, sin saber que cosas más profundas y muchisimas más antiguas vienen a determinar ese lugar como centro de disputa de muchos poderes.

Southmarch was indeed alive, and in a way that almost nothing else was. It was alive because it was full of doorways, and it was full o
Apr 24, 2012 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A weak three is what I was planning to give this book through its first two-thirds, and I still think three stars is about right. Did not live up to the third book, but maintains enough momentum to not suck just overly hard.

My guess is that Robert Jordan's legacy to the current generation of fantasy writers is upping the ante (I think that cliche is actually technically accurate in this case) on the number of intertwining plots and POV characters considered necessary to drive a fantasy reader's
Michael Knudsen
Mar 13, 2011 Michael Knudsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tad Williams is one of my literary heroes. In the early 1990's I was beginning to lose hope for epic fantasy when I ran across the paperback of The Dragonbone Chair, volume one of Memory, Sorry, and Thorn at the grocery store. I was so enthralled with that book that I could hardly wait for the rest of the series. A few years later, his Otherland series (more a blend of sci-fi and fantasy) grabbed me and didn't let go for four more huge volumes. Now that I've finished his new "Shadowmarch" quarte ...more
May 29, 2011 Karina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Omg, I forgot so much from this series, and it is so complicated. Although some of it is fitting together as I go along, there are a lot of other books I've read with similar elements.

After finishing, this is definitely not a stand alone book. This series that needs to be read as a group in order to keep track of all the characters and truly appreciate what is happening. There are so many characters and plot lines that most of it is underdeveloped. I was also annoyed with several surreal, opium
Mar 02, 2016 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, own
The trouble with Tad Williams' books is that I read the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy straight through, in high school, and it was the most amazing experience of my young life. After that, where do we go?

Well, we go to Shadowmarch, which has even more breadth and scope than Osten Ard, but is slightly lacking in what made me fall in love with everyone and everything in that earlier trilogy. Namely: the characters. This series is made up of ten page chapters, each one of which is broken up in
Jul 31, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: die hard fantasy people only
as i've posted on the other books' pages, i'm reviewing all four books as a series, which i think is really the only way i can do it properly. each book had its strengths and weaknesses, but i read them all right after each other, and so there are, i'm sure, parts that i'm getting mixed between books. it's one massive story, and that's how i'm going to review it. (because i can.)

3.5 stars for the whole series together, rounded up to four.

i had read Shadowmarch soon after it first came out, with
I really liked this, despite what the current flavor of review says. Maybe I just like characters that no one else does. I ended up liking characters that I didn't think I would, and didn't like in the beginning. I mean, Vansen, really? Me? He's just, I don't know, he just grew on me somehow. And when (view spoiler) died, I was sad for the rest of the night, over a fictional character. I ended up liking him so much that I renamed one of my own characters, also dead, after hi ...more
Jul 27, 2014 Julian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an incredible ride!! Not since I read Williams' "Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn" series years ago have I been so engrossed in a story and its world. Tad Williams is one if the best at epic fantasy. This series finished with class and the master storytelling that Tad Williams is known for. He could teach Stephen King a thing or two about to expertly end a novel. Whereas lesser talents conclude their books shortly after the final villain has been destroyed and the world saved, Williams added an ad ...more
Jeff Miller
Jan 25, 2011 Jeff Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thrilling conclusion is such a cliche, but there are times when cliches are the most accurate phrase to use. Since I have been following this series since it first came out I have been waiting some years for this conclusion of what was originally suppose to be a trilogy.

This was well worth the wait and this fantasy series becomes one of my all time favorites. Tad Williams is so adept at creating a believable world with intricate plots and characters fully fleshed out. Reading the ending was almo
Nov 11, 2012 Lauren rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, reviewed
I want to give this a 4.5, but can't give it a 5 based on a few things.

First, it's a great ending to the series. It ties up most of the loose ends with varying degrees of satisfaction. As a side note, I think I've been reading too many YA books, because those tend to tie up things in very satisfying, straightforward ways. Some of the characters had vague endings, and I found myself being a little annoyed at Williams because I wanted to know specifically what happened to them!
I don't want to give
Dec 29, 2011 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tad Williams further cements his standing as one of the best fantasy writers with the concluding volume of his Shadowmarch series, despite weaknesses readers by now come to expect. Again, there simply is too much of "Shadowheart" for its story line, and at its midpoint seemed like a three-star book. But Williams' inexorable drive brings an exciting, stellar conclusion. Investing so much time into this massive series pays off handsomely, one realizes in closing the final volume. Williams ties eve ...more
Dec 20, 2010 Terence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Shadowheart is the final volume in Tad Williams' Shadowmarch tetralogy, and it provides a satisfying conclusion to the story: The good guys win and the bad guys lose but all the sides are satisfyingly complex that characters are not simply archetypes and motivations are believable (i.e., people don't do things just because they're "evil"). If there's a deeper meaning to the plot it may be the dangers of religious fundamentalism.

Or not. There's no need to impose any deep meaning on this material
Dec 01, 2012 Jamie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Victoria Osborne
I finished this book in the wee hours of the morning. It came to a breath taking climax and tied all of the loose ends for me.

I found the journey of Briony especially interesting, but nothing compared to the complex plot and subplots of Quinnqinn. Her journeys and those of the autarch kept me riveted.

Character developments most of the characters were fully fleshed out with good and bad points. I love the subplots of the twins finding love in the most unexpected people.

Plot, like many epic fantas
Nov 27, 2011 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
They say two data points does not indicate a trend, but Tad Williams has made it difficult for me to finish one of his book series for the second time in a row. Sure, this one wasn't as bad as the fourth book of the Otherland series, but Shadowheart took a story that had drawn me in and carried me along for over two thousand pages, and almost spit me right back out before it could finish. Williams creates huge, detailed worlds, and compelling characters, but this novel saw him trying to bring se ...more
Aug 31, 2011 Jess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I always enjoy Tad Williams' writing, this story didn't grip me the way his others have. I think it was because it was easy to become confused by the different forces behind people's motivations. There were many allusions to stories of what one family did to earn another's hatred, or stories of the gods that were so easy to mix up because of the different cultures had different names for each god...I kept feeling like I couldn't remember if I had read the stories being alluded to already a ...more
Elisabeth Wheatley
Here's what I want to happen by the end:

Sulepis to be Very Seriously Dead.

The world not to end.

Barrick to be the fairy king.

Qinnitan to be the fairy queen.

Briony to become heir/ruler of Southmarch.

Vansen to become Briony's consort. (I could make a whole other list of why this would be better than her marrying Eneas, but never mind.)

That is all.

(view spoiler)
Jun 03, 2015 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The storyline of the Shadowmarch series was once that I liked but could only make this statement final after reading the last book. This was due to the fact that it felt like the last book was finally explaining all the questions the first three books kept on creating. It was a little frustrating to have all the answers to your questions in the very last book. I do understand that is how some stories work but usually there is a few questions that author's leave to the end to keep you reading and ...more
L.Y. Levand
Feb 22, 2016 L.Y. Levand rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I didn't write a review of the third book, mostly because I really wanted to get to book four (this one). Book three was more of the same as far as good and bad points.

The first thing I want to say about this book is that the ending has got to be one of my favorites. It was a "happy" ending, but it had some bittersweet notes that made it realistic. It was long enough to tie up all the loose ends, and was very satisfying after reading through three other books to get to it. To give you an
I really need to stop picking up books at random from the library. In the first few pages the reader is bombarded with child rape and kids murdering other kids just to see what it felt like. When did adult fantasy become synonymous with deviant behavior? People that read this crap ought to have an in depth psychological evaluation.
Only after putting the book away did I realize it was the fourth in a series. Small wonder I've never heard of it.
Mar 18, 2012 Heidi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book was about 300 pages too long. I struggled my way through the entire series. I was interested enough to want to find out what happened to the characters but at the same time had to make myself pick the book back up and plug along. This was not his best work. If you are looking for a good fantasy series I say skip this one and go for the series that starts with The Dragonbone Chair. That one has much better pacing.
Dec 22, 2015 Nerium rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 02, 2015 Janice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I must admit, I was a little worried about this one. I was reading, reading, got to around page 600 of 800, and was in the midst of the climatic battle. Now, I understand wrapping things up after the battle, tying up loose ends and all, but 200 pages worth? Well, first the battle took more than a handful of pages to wrap up, but there were a lot more loose ends to wrap up than I remembered too. In the end, it was very well done. Everything WAS wrapped up nicely, if not happily, but then "happily ...more
Paul Haines
Tad William's writing is wonderful, but this series was LONG LONG LONG. I think a couple of hundred pages could have easily been shorn. I also felt like I'd seen a lot of this before (which is probably true of any epic fantasy) and in particular detested the development of the Princess Briony character and her impending romance.

Without Williams' prose, I would have given up on this series.
I really enjoyed the Shadowmarch series, but have to admit, felt vaguel unsatisfied with this last installment... It just didn't resonate like the earlier volumes, but still, it carried on a story I enjoyed and I was surprised at some of the happier endings - overall, I liked it and this is a series I will reread and recommend
Robert-Jan Van Looy
I liked the final book in the Shadowmarch series, but was not blown away. The big finale was satisfactory, but the book starts to drag on for a while after that, giving all the mayor characters a final scene. I was all a little too neatly wrapped up in the end for my taste. Still, it was an entertaining story.
Mar 18, 2011 Sandy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
meh! (sorry Tad!) too many descriptions of battle, too many poorly delineated characters, too little of the witty repartee that I have to to expect of this author. It's sad when I am glad to be finished with a series, rather than wanting more. Bring back Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn!
Dec 05, 2011 Jesse rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
OK, so I didn't read the whole thing but I got the point and skimmed the end. A little bloated and not a great finish to the series. Should have been half as long.
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Pagination 3 15 Sep 21, 2012 02:29PM  
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Tad Williams has held more jobs than any sane person should admit to—singing in a band, selling shoes, managing a financial institution, throwing newspapers, and designing military manuals, to name just a few. He also hosted a syndicated radio show for ten years, worked in theater and television production, taught both grade-school and college classes, and worked in multimedia for a major computer ...more
More about Tad Williams...

Other Books in the Series

Shadowmarch (4 books)
  • Shadowmarch (Shadowmarch, #1)
  • Shadowplay (Shadowmarch, #2)
  • Shadowrise (Shadowmarch, #3)

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“So we face our final hours...and all that was once certain has become uncertain. Except for defeat. That, as always, is the end of all our stories.” 7 likes
“Why were men so caught up with their honor, their solemn word, their promises?
Half the time the promises were never asked of them in the first place.
And yet the wars that were fought over such things, the hearts broken and the lands ruined..!”
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