The conclusion of the Shadowmarch series brings everybody back together at Southmarch castle where all the various threads come together in an epic coThe conclusion of the Shadowmarch series brings everybody back together at Southmarch castle where all the various threads come together in an epic conclusion. I really want to say that I love the series but it seemed to me that Mr. Williams just decided it was time to end so he pulled everything together into a less than satisfactory ending where he mentioned all the characters but didn't actually resolve everything. (view spoiler)[The god is brought back to life and then is defeated by being drowned? Really? A god. Even in the dialog the characters seemed to think that was too easy. Then we have Chaven and the mirror and the goddess who just ends. I guess that was supposed to be a manifestation of the Trickster but Chaven is obsessed with it, returns to it over and over and then just leaves the story. Really? I can go on and on. (hide spoiler)]
As frustrating as the ending was, I really enjoyed the series. The author has a real talent for slowly revealing what is happening and bringing you into knowledge as the characters are brought in which I find intriguing. Good read. Interesting characters. Lazy ending.["br"]>["br"]>...more
I really want to like Tad Williams. He does everything right. Epic Fantasy writer, check. Long involved stories, check. Interesting premise, check. MyI really want to like Tad Williams. He does everything right. Epic Fantasy writer, check. Long involved stories, check. Interesting premise, check. My problem is that he just doesn't tell a good story. I have had much less of an issue with that in his pure fantasy books, but with the virtual reality premise of the Otherland series, he really descended into a bunch of disconnected stories of people just wandering around with no real purpose. And what is it with the small, dark, mysterious male who provides wisdom? He has one in every series.
I will keep reading him, but my first instinct was to avoid this series and unfortunately, my first instinct was correct....more
City of Golden Shadowis set, for the most part in Virtual Reality (or VR for the aficionado). The basic story line is a young South African professorCity of Golden Shadowis set, for the most part in Virtual Reality (or VR for the aficionado). The basic story line is a young South African professor loses her younger brother to a coma induced by his travels in VR. She is accompanied by !Xabbu, a South African Bushman lamenting the loss of his native way of life.
I enjoy reading Tad Williams, including Otherland, but he is an author who never rally rises above very good. This, the first book in a four book series, suffers from the fact that Mr. Williams tends to build his worlds very slowly. I expect that the story will pick up in the later books as the other series from Mr. Williams have.
Otherland is an interesting departure from regular fantasy in that the VR nature of it pretty much replaces magic with prowess within the VR worlds. For example, one of the other major characters, Orlando, suffers from a physical ailment in the Real World (RL) but has developed phenomenal prowess as one of the heroes of a VR world. The downside of using VR, at least for me, is that the author can pretty much make anything happen at any time which feels like cheating. With a wave of the hand, the extremely dangerous situation you are in suddenly disappears. In Otherland that is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the author uses a plot device where the participants can't go off line. Still, it makes for continuous Deus Ex Machina moments which gets tiring.
ALl in all, I enjoyed City of Golden Shadow. It is a pleasant read and I look forward to the next book in the sequence....more
Shadowrise continues the story of Barrick and Briony as they work to recover their kingdom and stop the world from ending. In this book we start to seShadowrise continues the story of Barrick and Briony as they work to recover their kingdom and stop the world from ending. In this book we start to see more and more of the motivations of the various players as they explain themselves and start making alliances and having contact with each other. I enjoy the author's ability to keep you interested in the components of the story and continue expanding our understanding of the world and the main characters operating within it.
This contribution to the tetralogy (I had to look that one up...) has the main characters come to terms with themselves for the most part and then start to converge on the Shadowmarch castle which is the center of the story (view spoiler)[ as it is the seat of the central God of the story - Crooked (hide spoiler)].
As with the last book, I enjoyed this more and more as the author brought me to a better understanding of why things were the way they were and I was able to better understand what motivated each character and I had more and more sympathy for them and what they were doing.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
As I expected, Shadowplay, the second book in the Shadowmarch series was a far more entertaining read than the first one. We start to actually see theAs I expected, Shadowplay, the second book in the Shadowmarch series was a far more entertaining read than the first one. We start to actually see the fairies as more than just a concept and begin to understand more of the world and the people in it. One of the things I like about Tad Williams and is evident here, is his ability to slowly build the entire picture as you work your way through the story. Yes, for those who read my review of Shadowmarch, that can make for a lot of intro without a lot of understanding, but it makes for a story that pays off continuously once you get through the initial confusion early.
One small quibble with the author. He seems to just make up new inhabitants of the world just for the heck of it. Multiple times you see a new life form that is used for a chapter or so and then goes away.
Quick summary - I really enjoyed this book. Clearly, it is just a continuation of the story to get from the first book to the third book, but as I mention above, the story gets better and better the more you read of it....more
I like Tad Williams, I really do, but it is really obvious that he wrote Shadowmarch as an 800 page introduction. I am writing this having only read aI like Tad Williams, I really do, but it is really obvious that he wrote Shadowmarch as an 800 page introduction. I am writing this having only read about a third of the next book in the series so I don't know how the story develops after the first book, but whereas most fantasy authors set up the world and the characters in the first few chapters and then send off their protagonists on their journey shortly thereafter, Shadowmarch spends the entire book building the world, introducing the various players and then sending them off to make their fortune.
Some positives.... The human characters are interesting and the world that Mr. Williams builds is complex and well thought out. It is an entertaining read as each person is slowly introduced and you get to know them. Each one has a well developed personality and I do think there are many opportunities to build interesting stories in the grand arc of the overall story line. This is one of those books I look forward to reading, but can (and sometimes want to) put down at will; a sign of a good, not great story.
Some negatives..... Other than the fact that the book was essentially a really long introduction, I found the elves inscrutable which is probably the point, but you really don't have any idea of what they are doing or why they are doing it. I also find it frustrating that the author randomly introduces new types of 'people' (like a gnome in this book), has them in the story for a chapter or so and then it is as if they never existed.
I am guessing I will warm up to the series as it goes along so take this as just a view looking at the first book only....more