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(Shadowmarch #4)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  5,014 ratings  ·  231 reviews

Barrick Eddon, prince of Southmarch, is no longer entirely human. He has vowed to safeguard the legacy of the dark Qar race, and must now decide where his loyalties lie.

His twin sister Briony has a difficult choice of her own. Her father, King Olin, is held captive by the Autarch, a mad god-king who plans to use Olin's blood to gain unlimited power. And the castle of Sout

Kindle Edition, 864 pages
Published January 5th 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published November 30th 2010)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
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 ·  5,014 ratings  ·  231 reviews

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Stjepan Cobets
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Fantasy
Southmarch Castle is under siege the insane god-king, the Autarch of Xis. The ancient, immortal Qar retreated to the depths below the castle and their leader, Queen Yasammez, because of the abundance of the new enemy, agrees to a fragile truce with the defenders of the castle. Barrick's Prince of the Southmarch Castle is located in King Qar and is hard-wearing with the power of the Fire Flower given to him by King Ynnir. King Ynnir gave him his power that was too big for the mortal to save his s ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2018-shelf
What Tad Williams does good, he does very, very good. I'll give him that. The ending of this huge Fantasy series is sufficiently huge, magical, war-driven, god-killing, and mad enough to fill the hearts of any epic fantasy fan.

Williams takes his time to build everything so very slowly until it all comes crashing together and we're left breathless.

On the other hand, stories like this are still only as good as the characters that drive them. And if you're dealing with a huge cast of characters, th
Sotiris Karaiskos
The fourth and final part of the series, or the second part of a third book. After the author finished with any pending things, preparing us for the final battle, he completes the story with a great finale which is certainly worthy of his talent. It is also certain that this ending is not particularly original as it follows many of the contracts of similar projects, such as the release of huge forces and considerable help from unlikely sources. This, however, does not mean that it is not good, i ...more
Feb 26, 2012 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
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
Michael Knudsen
Mar 13, 2011 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
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fantasy
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
May 12, 2011 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
Jun 26, 2011 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
Edward Rathke
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And so it ends, not with a bang or whisper, but in a melancholic yet satisfying bouquet of bows. Which is pretty classic Williams at this point.

It's funny to me when I look back at my experiences with Williams. Halfway through Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, I thought I'd never read anything by him except that trilogy. By the end of that trilogy, I realized I wanted to read much more. Diving into Otherland, I came to see how much he grew as a writer between those two four-book-trilogies. In Shadowmar
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 29, 2011 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
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook, fantasy
This has been a good week for fiction (though this one has been in process longer, since I read it on my Nook while exercising). As I've grown older, I've found that epic fantasy--my first literary love in the genre--holds my interest less. Tad Williams still keeps me turning pages, though--partly through his intricate world-building, partly through the variety of viewpoint characters. Most of all, though, I appreciate now more than ever the sense he brings to his stories of the merits of courag ...more
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 17, 2011 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
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 12, 2014 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
Steven Poore
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Aaaaand that's it. The last part of the great Shadowmarch Tadventure, and the last book read in 2017. Blimey, that was something of a crawl - and in more than one sense too. The outward journeying of the last three books has brought all of our protagonists back to Shadowmarch at last, setting the scene for a mammoth combination siege/battle that takes in the town, the castle, the Funderling caves, and the deep Mysteries far below them all, and which lasts for a good three quarters of the book. ( ...more
Jan 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018, fiction
I finally finished this series!

Basically, half of this book was an epic battle, where we switched between the various fronts.

(view spoiler)
Aug 24, 2010 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
Nov 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jeff Miller
Jan 10, 2011 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
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
Aug 19, 2011 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
Jennifer Sigman

After not being able to put down book 3 because of the constant flow of information, this one I had to walk away from at one point because it was so heartbreaking. I thought I knew how things were going to end.

I should know better by now.

This was probably the best ending I have read in a long time. Tad Williams knows his stuff, and knows how to make you want to stay up to finish once the ending is in sight.

While I don't agree with everything that happened in the ending, it's OK, because it
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)
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.
Jun 20, 2011 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.
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.
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.
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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

Shadowmarch (4 books)
  • Shadowmarch (Shadowmarch, #1)
  • Shadowplay (Shadowmarch, #2)
  • Shadowrise (Shadowmarch, #3)
“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.” 9 likes
“In bad times, a king or a queen can be a rock for the waters to crash against, so those less strong are not washed away. I will be such a rock. Only give me a chance, sweet Zoria, and I will be a rock for my people.” 5 likes
More quotes…