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Empire of Grass

(The Last King of Osten Ard #2)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,222 ratings  ·  176 reviews
Following on from The Witchwood Crown, Empire of Grass: Book Two of The Last King of Osten Ard continues the story of one of the best loved fantasy epics of all time - Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, the inspiration for Christopher Paolini and George R. R. Martin.
ebook, UK Edition
Published May 28th 2019 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published May 7th 2019)
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Sean Barrs
The Empire of Grass continues the epic story set in the massive world of Osten Ard. It’s fantasy at its finest because it is layered with so much history and lore. This is a world so detailed it could be real.

The very best of fantasy isn’t plain and simple; it isn’t light verses dark: its people fighting for survival in a world where only the most ruthless win. And this world is filled with cunning politicians and conniving backstabbers. There are so many motives, so many agendas and so many fa
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This series becomes better and better with every page. The richness of writing, the world created, every word meticulously selected, every little detail thoroughly thought, every action carefully planned, every character strong, main or secondary doesn’t matter, all are so masterfully crafted and developed, with their own contribution to the story and not a single moment or word wasted or boring - Tad Williams, I’m in awe at your skills; Osten Ard is one of the marvels in fantasy realms.

With Que
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Some books are simply hard to judge because it is written to its own drummer. It all becomes clear and epic in the end, but getting there can sometimes be something of a chore.

In comparison to other epic fantasy books of this nature, it Tad Williams has always (and I mean, long before the modern trend,) been a slow and methodical storyteller. He takes a long, long time to build up characters' histories, developing them in such a grandly detailed way that there cannot be any doubt in our minds t
The second book in the 'The Last King of Osten Ard' series. As with much of Tad Williams's work, this is less of a series book and more like the continuation of a really long story.

Where as the first book in this new series (The Witchwood Crown) set up all the new characters, factions and political situations, Empire of Grass moves all of these plots and sub-plots, forward and there are a few surprising revelations. We finally find out just what the Norn queen is up to and generally things all
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
🌟 As you may have noticed, I'm a Tad Williams fan girl. Needless to say I was very impressed by this installment. The ending - it was intense, powerful but also sad. Without spoiling, I really feel for the characters. Mr Williams returns to the kaleidoscopic writing again in this book, and it's executed perfectly, like the Witchwood Crown was. A few new characters are introduced, but not too much. And if you're confused, there's a list of people at the end of the book. This is around 650 pages, ...more
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wallowed in this book for over two weeks.

I lived in it.

I gloried in it.

It reminded me all over again of how much I had loved, and lived and breathed Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn back in high school when I discovered those books. Williams' writing is so glorious. His world is so complete and unique and beautiful, you just want to settle in and live there. The action scenes are glorious, the characters quickly become so beloved, even the ones you hate feel so real that you're upset when they die
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Middle entries in trilogies are hard. There is a reason why "Middle Book Syndrome" exists.

In Empire of Grass, the second installment of The Last King of Osten Ard (itself a sequel to the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn “trilogy” that inspired writers from George R.R. Martin to Patrick Rothfuss), Tad Williams manages to kick the syndrome through the cure of sheer obsessive planning and some crafty edit work.

It is a good book. More: it is a great book, a stand out for me in what could be a packed year.
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
*I picked this one up on audiobook so please ignore any spelling typos*

This is the sequel to the Witchwood Crown, a new series by Tad Williams which is set in his Osten Ard world. This would be fine to read as a standalone series, but as it's set many years after the end of the first Osten Ard books you will spoil yourself for the events within the first series, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.

I really enjoyed Witchwood but it had been a little while since I read that so I wasn't quite sure if I was g
Matt Shaw
Wet blanket time.

Look, I've loved the Tad Williams books I've read, I know there is a such a thing as middle-book-of-a-trilogy-syndrome, and there are many, many things to like in EoG. There are, really. But.

But this book is damn near interminable, and gives the reader mere trickles of each story line stretched out over 600+ pages with but few small satisfactions to delight over. I was tired of reading it long before I got through it, and then was faced with the anticipated only-the-second-book
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book! Empire of Grass is definitely my favorite out of all of Tad Williams' books that I've read so far! (Full review to come)

My Goodreads Rating / Score: 5 out of 5 Stars on Goodreads' rating system. 10 out of 10 on my own personal scoring system.
Brian Durfee
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Here There Be Spoilers.

So… I nearly gave this three stars. Nobody throw any poison-tipped darts at me, I had my reasons. However, the last 100 pages definitely yanked it up a star and then SOMEBODY managed to make me burst into tears on literally the last 5-line page, which I’m nearly sure should have been impossible.

Let me start with the good stuff: Simon and Miri pretty much destroyed me this book. I spent a large portion of The Witchwood Crown trying to settle into these older versions of th
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Damn you, Tad Williams! Damn your evil brilliance!

If you’re reading this, then you have probably already read The Witchwood Crown (, part 1 of The Last King of Osten Ard. If not, go and do so right now! Why? Because this is the most epic fantasy, with a massive scope, awesome adventure, and the deepest and darkest mysteries you get to experience in reading!

Now then, Empire of Grass.
There is so much going on in this book, and all the characters are caught
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
First of all, if you liked the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy, go and get this book too (along with the first volume of course).
In this second book, many of the characters from the first book are undergoing rapid changes. Where I didn't like young Prince Morgan very much in the first book, he is forced to grow up quickly during his adventures in the second book. But be aware, the world is falling apart and the book ends in several cliffhangers. But then, if you've read Tad-books before, you're
Adam Whitehead
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
The kingdoms of Osten Ard are in turmoil. A resurgent Norn threat in the north threatens Rimmersgard and northern Erkynland. The tribes of the Thrithings are in turmoil, a conflict that threatens to spill across the borders into Nabban and Erkynland. Hernystir is in danger of falling under the power of a dark cult. Civil war threatens in Nabban. The High King Simon and the High Queen Miriamele both try to tackle these issues, but the number of their reliable allies is falling and their grandson ...more
Sotiris Karaiskos
The first part of this series was more of an introduction where we met our beloved heroes again with the younger generation, we met some others at a time when the great threat was slowly coming into play. In the second our heroes and their opponents are extremely active and the conflict begins and escalates, as it is revealed that the plan of the enemy of men is much more complex and involves not only the use of powerful magic but also acts to divide people and their allies. So the betrayal come ...more
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Moment of smugness: I received an advanced copy of this book from a Random House giveaway.

Short review: Even better than The Witchwood Crown.

Longer review: Empire of Grass goes up to 11. Every devious plot laid out in The Witchwood Crown is worse than you think in Empire of some cases way worse than you think. A good thing for the reader; a bad thing for the characters. And these characters get smacked around like a flyweight facing Muhammad Ali. (Writing a spoiler-free review, it tur
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

I have conflicting feelings about this novel. It’s very well written, of course; Tad Williams knows how to write a story. Yet even though I liked the story overall, I struggled a bit to get through it.

Part of the issue is that it is very clearly the middle book of a series, and the author is engaged in moving his pieces into place for the final act. That’s not to say that the plot doesn’t include any action, because it definitely does. At the same time, a fair amount of the story involv
S. Naomi Scott
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, favorites
It's taken me a while to get through this book, though that's not an indication of it being bad in any way. Mostly the slow pace has been down to not spending as much time reading as I normally would, but there's also a hell of a lot going on in this book that really does require that the reader pays attention. It's this level of detail, this level of engagement with the characters, that makes this an excellent mid-trilogy piece.

I make no secret of the fact that I love Tad Williams' Osten Ard bo
Trey Weller
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Listen, I'm an aspiring writer, and I've made my peace with the fact that I'll never be as good a writer as Tad Williams. And Tad Williams is never better than in Osten Ard. He doesn't waste time with endless asides about what came before (as per usual, he provides a synopsis of The Witchwood Crown at the beginning of the book), instead dropping us in right where we left off and getting to the good stuff-- the drama, the poetic prose, the fleshed-out characters, and the seriously horrifying twis ...more
Johan Haneveld
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
8+ The second part of the 'The Last King of Osten Ard' series needs little introduction, I guess. It will only be read by people who have already devoured 'The Witchwood Crown' and who know Tad Williams' writing style from 'Memory, Sorrow and Thorn', the first trilogy (in four parts). So they know what to expect. If you are a fantasy afficionado and have not yet read that first trilogy I really advise you to do so. It's one of the corner stones of modern fantasy, as it deconstructed some of Tolk ...more
Micah Hall
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

After mulling this one over, this is a novel (series) that will stick with you, with its cloying melancholy and thematic depth upon reflection. Never let it be said that Tad Williams is not a deliberate, careful author which allows for well wrought world building and mythopia. While he luxuriates in his pace, the prose is delightful enough to enjoy and the world is beautiful and striking that it reads like a nice vintage or comforting coffee.

This story continues the Last King of Osten
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As always, my own favourite aspects are those of the Sithi lore, life, and culture.

I would love it if he could eschew starting sentences with either "Still," or "No,"!

Also, suddenly adding the POV of a sithi midway through part II is not only bad form, but also creates risks: as soon as you go into the mind of one of the characters that has answers or background to secrets or mysteries, there is nothing stopping them from thinking on it in their train of consciousness and the writer no longer ha
GrilledCheeseSamurai (Scott)
This book is thicc! It is also, for me, the most complex novel I have read by Tad. There are a lot of POV's going around in this story and, in turn, so very much to keep track of. Luckily for us, even though Tad has dialed the difficulty level up to 11, he also raised the bar on himself; his writing was meticulous and It really came home on how much of a master wordsmith he has become. The Last King of Osten Ard has become such a complex tale with so many twists and turns and so much intrigue... ...more
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tried to make it last, but it had to end eventually. Another magnificent edition to the saga of Osten Ard. Like the first novel, many many cliffhangers, and lots of unanswered questions. Like all of Tad's novels, beautiful writing with perfectly realized flawed characters. Now the long wait for the next book. More thoughts on this later.
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
next volume, please
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is why I love fantasy.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A nice middle book for the series, but now I have to wait for the next installment.
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Damn you, Tad Williams! Damn your evil brilliance!

If you’re reading this, then you have probably already read The Witchwood Crown (, part 1 of The Last King of Osten Ard. If not, go and do so right now! Why? Because this is the most epic fantasy, with a massive scope, awesome adventure, and the deepest and darkest mysteries you get to experience in reading!

Now then, Empire of Grass.
There is so much going on in this book, and all the characters are caught
Blodeuedd Finland
Aug 01, 2019 marked it as library-needtoborrow  ·  review of another edition
I am going to put this back on my need to borrow list.

I got confused by the synopsis. I really do not have time for a big epic like this, my brain need to function and I need to immerse myself in it. SIgh, another day! Another month. Another year. I shall see thee again
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Tad Williams is a California-based fantasy superstar. His genre-creating (and genre-busting) books have sold tens of millions worldwide, in twenty-five languages. His considerable output of epic fantasy and science fiction book-series, stories of all kinds, urban fantasy novels, comics, scripts, etc., have strongly influenced a generation of writers: the ‘Otherland’ epic relaunches June 2018 as an ...more

Other books in the series

The Last King of Osten Ard (3 books)
  • The Witchwood Crown (The Last King of Osten Ard, #1)
  • The Navigator's Children (The Last King of Osten Ard, #3)

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