Memory, Sorrow and Thorn Reviews

Memory Sorrow and Thorn by Tad Williams

MEMORY, SORROW AND THORN SERIES
Blog Reviews

THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR
Trade Reviews

The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams

Hardcover 1988
Paperback 1989

Library Journal
As war threatens to rip apart a once peaceful land, a young kitchen boy turned magician’s apprentice embarks on a journey that could save his world from the dark machinations of a king gone mad. The author of Tailchaser’s Song draws on many mythologies for the background of his fantasy epic, creating a solid story spiced with political intrigue and strong, appealing heroes. Highly recommended. JC

School Library Journal
YA– Williams, author of Tailchaser’s Song (NAL, 1986), scores with the first book in another fantasy trilogy. Simon is an ordinary kitchen helper who is taken under the tutelage of the magician Morgenes. When King John Presbyter dies and his son Elias ascends the throne, the way opens for a long-dormant evil to enter the realm. Elias, a pawn of the black magician Pyrates, moves to eliminate his brother Josua, and the brother-against-brother, good-versus-evil clash begins. Simon is thrown in with Josua and muddles through adventure and peril, maturing into a hero by book’s end. Williams weaves all of the classic ingredients of fantasy into his tale–trolls, giants, elf-like sithi, and dragons. Simon must travel from drought-stricken lands to ice-bound peaks as he follows his far-seeing dreams. The land of Osten Ard is well created, and readers quickly become immersed in the story. Unfortunately, despite the high adventure and excitement, The Dragonbone Chair leaves many loose ends, so readers, like Simon, are left waiting–for book two.– Margaret Sloan, Willowridge High School, Sugar Land, Tex.

Blog Reviews

STONE OF FAREWELL
Trade Reviews

Stone of Farewell by Tad Williams

Hardcover 1990
Paperback 1991

Publishers Weekly – Publisher’s Weekly
In this panoramic, vigorous, often moving sequel to The Dragonbone Chair , the scattered allies opposing the pirate Elias, high king of Osten Ard, and Ineluki, the Storm King, struggle toward a meeting at the Stone of Farewell in the ancient, deserted city of Enki-e-Shao’saye. The boy Simon, the troll Binabek and their companions carry Thorn, one of three swords critical to the defeat of the forces of evil. After surviving many perils, Simon becomes the only mortal to enter Jao e-Tinukai’i, last refuge of the elven Sithi, seeking their support. A small band follows Prince Josua, leader of the resistance against his brother Elias; they are betrayed by the chieftain of the nomadic Thrithings-folk. As Elias consolidates his power with the aid of the Norns, the Storm King brings permanent winter to a stricken land. Williams adroitly weaves together the tales of these journeys, heralding a suitably epic and glorious conclusion. (Aug.)

Library Journal
The advancing might of Ineluki the Storm King and his undead minions threatens to lock the world in eternal winter unless the tattered forces ranged against him can discover the secrets of the League of the Scroll and unite humans, Sithi elves, and Qanuc trolls. Continuing the story begun in The Dra gonbone Chair (LJ 9/15/88), Williams fleshes out the familiar themes of epic fantasy with vivid, likable characters and exotic cultures. Recommended.

Blog Reviews

TO GREEN ANGEL TOWER
Trade Reviews

To Green Angel Tower by Tad Williams

Hardcover 1993
Paperback Parts I & II 1994

Publishers Weekly – Publisher’s Weekly
This sprawling, spellbinding conclusion to the trilogy that began with The Dragonbone Chair weaves together a multitude of intricate strands, building to a suitably apocalyptic confrontation between good and evil. Prince Josua wins a first victory against the forces of his brother, Elias, who rules as High King in Osten Ard. Elias has the help of the dark priest Pryrates and of Ineluki the Storm King, onetime ruler of the immortal Sithi the race that preceded humans. But others defy him, including Elias’s own daughter, Princess Miriamele, the scullion turned knight Simon, and Camaris, once one of the greatest knights of Osten Ard and wielder of the sword Thorn, one of the three weapons that may effect a victory over Elias’s hordes. As Josua’s forces– augmented by those Elias has wronged and by friendly Sithi–approach the king’s stronghold, a secret battle takes place in the underlying caverns. It will affect not only the conflict’s outcome, but also the futures of many races. The main caveat to Williams’s engrossing epic is its length. A tetralogy might have been more easily digested, although that format might have drained some of the extraordinary tension built up in the book’s closing pages. Mar.

Library Journal
As Ineluki the Storm King and his undead minions gather strength for their war of conquest, Simon and his companions race against time to puzzle out a prophecy that can save their world. Multiple plot lines converge in a surprising final confrontation as Williams concludes his panoramic trilogy in grand style. Fans of The Dragonbone Chair LJ 9/15/88 and The Stone of Farewell LJ 6/15/90 will not be disappointed in this well-written extravaganza.

School Library Journal
YA-This culmination of the trilogy is incredibly long and carries, besides the story, a dictionary of names, places, and other necessary information. It tells of the final battle between the forces of good and evil in the land of Osten Ard, a mythical place not unlike medieval Europe. Clearly, the author has been influenced not only by Tolkien, but also by Wagner’s “Ring” story. Everything in Williams’s narrative is larger than life-the individuals, the battles, the mysticism and magic. Yet his painstaking detail ensures that the world he creates is as believable and immediate as readers’ everyday lives. The main character, Simon, is a reluctant hero. He is a superior warrior, yet he hates violence. He has been chosen as a seer by mystical beings who wish to aid his human counterparts, but he is never sure of his own worth. He understands cosmic truths, but considers himself ignorant. All action spins around Simon, but the book is replete with many other interesting characters, all fully developed. Enjoying the story’s wealth of entertainment can literally take months, but for the author’s fans it will be a treasure. It can also stand on its own.-Jessica Lahr, Edison High School, Fairfax County, VA

Sally Estes
If you thought “The Dragonbone Chair” 1988 and “Stone of Farewell” 1990 were sprawling, wait till you see this concluding volume of Williams’ epic Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy; it’s only 141 pages short of equalling the first two together. Not only heavy to hold, but also heavy to read by dint of the continuing convoluted plot with its multitude of characters, human and nonhuman. Some of the scenes in the maze of tunnels and the castle’s foundry below the Green Angel Tower and in the skirmish with abhorrent chitinous swamp creatures are reminiscent of the Dante-like scenes in Williams’ “Tailchaser’s Song”. Other scenes drag on way too long, filled with more soul searching or detail than needed. However, readers caught up in the story of Simon, the scullery boy turned knight, will, by this time, have the important people sorted out and will eagerly follow the further exploits of the brave young man as well as the adventures of other of his stalwart companions. And there are adventures aplenty as the various factions opposing the evil legions of Ineluki the Storm King converge, along with the legendary three swords, at the Green Angel Tower for the final awesome battle.


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Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

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