Tad Williams' Message Board

Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- 'God damn it, you've got to be kind.'
-    Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007

Welcome to the message board for tadwilliams.com. All comments are welcome, whether kudos or brickbats. However, please bear in mind that Tad would like this to be a friendly, civil message board, at least in the relations between users. We reserve the right to remove postings, or even ban postings, from anyone who crosses the boundary of reasonable taste. Basically, you can argue vigorously with someone, but watch your language, okay? We have a lot of young readers as well as grown-ups, so please show them some respect.

But the main requirement here is: have fun.


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#1 2009-04-23 09:07:13

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4904
Website

Reviews

The Bookbag UK

Excerpt:
Overall the book has a lot of pleasant magical mystery for the right reader, a strongly visual style throughout, a proper ending that will not disappoint those of us who dislike the cliff-hanger, and some impressively realistic character development for the hero and heroine. I would like to feel more confident in recommending it than I am, however, which I boil down to the loss of attention-grabbing action in the first quarter.

Overall, a rather soso review.


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Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#2 2009-04-27 12:54:26

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4904
Website

Re: Reviews


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#3 2009-04-27 14:30:04

Wolfshade
Pilgrim
From: Warwick, RI
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 3468
Website

Re: Reviews

"The Dragons of Ordinary Farm by Ted Williams and Deborah Deale"

Who?


"The rhythm is broken by continuous illumination, continuous darkness, or by decapitation." M.Morita and J.B.Best. The Journal of Experimental Zoology. 231: 273-282 (1984)

http://twitter.com/wolfshade
http://www.fullcastpodcast.com

 

#4 2009-04-28 06:50:35

Kuno
Pilgrim
From: Eindhoven, Netherlands
Registered: 2003-04-01
Posts: 2686

Re: Reviews

It must be some baseball player.


There's a beginning, two middles, and an end. - Firsfron of Ronchester

 

#5 2009-04-28 07:48:15

Sahi
Mantis
From: Assendelft (the Netherlands)
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 44693
Website

Re: Reviews

I wonder how often that statement or one just like it has come by over the years. :)


"Because it is scientifically impossible to have enough books." - Patrick Rothfuss

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#6 2009-05-19 11:48:25

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4904
Website

Re: Reviews

A couple of short reviews at goodreads.com

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5322 … inary_Farm


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#7 2009-05-19 12:31:34

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4904
Website

Re: Reviews

Someone at Kirkus really, really hates Tad. I think they have given him abysmal reviews for every single book he ever published. And ODFARM seems no exception.

At their website you can only access the first couple of lines of the review, but they are actually quite enough I think.

Williams, Tad THE DRAGONS OF ORDINARY FARM
May 15, 2009 - An unremarkable fantasy dabbles in several genres as contemporary kids visit a strange farm. Tyler and older sister Lucinda, who alternate narrative viewpoints, depart sullenly for unknown Uncle Gideon's dull-sounding Ordinary Farm.

Sooner or later the full review will end up on Amazon.com oder Bn.com.


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#8 2009-05-19 12:47:30

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4904
Website

Re: Reviews

Mixed review from Booklist.

This begins with the tried-and-true device of having two siblings shunted off to spend a summer with an odd, distant relative who is up to all manner of mysterious goings-on but flies off the handle when the kids naturally get a little curious. Tyler and Lucinda discover that their great-uncle Gideon is raising dragons, griffins, unicorns, and stablefuls of other mythical beasties. Where did they come from, and how are they kept a secret? The first half of the story is belabored by loads of heavy description as the authors, the husband-and-wife team of Williams (a noted adult fantasist) and Beale, struggle to whip up enough personality to spread across the considerably large cast. But the pace picks up considerably when the kids set out for a bit of time travel and a journey into an alternate reality, both of which are teasingly quick jaunts away from the farm. Patient readers will be rewarded with an exciting conclusion and many tantalizing seeds planted for future summers.
— Ian Chipman


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#9 2009-05-20 11:15:53

DrAtomic
Pilgrim
Registered: 2009-02-17
Posts: 20

Re: Reviews

Wolfshade wrote:

"The Dragons of Ordinary Farm by Ted Williams and Deborah Deale"

Who?

Deborah is his wife... :P

 

#10 2009-05-20 11:30:16

Magpie
Mantis
From: miraculously thistle-free town
Registered: 2006-03-27
Posts: 32649
Website

Re: Reviews

Wolfshade was joking - because both of the names are spelled wrong.


Basically, I'm Prince Josua in jeans and sneakers, or a different flavor of Renie Sulaweyo.
- Tad

Master of Gardening, Mistress of Kingdom Plantae, Defender of the Seedlings, Guardian of Root and Bough
Scrollbearer and offerer of some very useful opinions

 

#11 2009-05-21 14:04:42

deborah
Hierarch
Registered: 2001-06-01
Posts: 164

Re: Reviews

Hey y'all - re Kirkus reviews - isn't it funny?  I think the worst reviews of Tad's career may have all come from there - they HATE his work.   One can only scratch one's head and say, can't win 'em all...

 

#12 2009-05-24 07:06:21

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4904
Website

Re: Reviews

Another review:

http://www.readingrumpus.com/2009/05/dr … y-tad.html


All in all, The Dragons of Ordinary Farm is a worthy addition for students interested in fantasy and/or action-adventure stories. The fantasy reader will be held rapt and the action-adventure reader reader will find lots to like too. The ending really packs a wallop and leaves enough room for a sequel or five.


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#13 2009-06-03 13:56:10

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4904
Website

Re: Reviews

The hate-filled review from Kirkus is now online at BN.com:

Kirkus Reviews

An unremarkable fantasy dabbles in several genres as contemporary kids visit a strange farm. Tyler and older sister Lucinda, who alternate narrative viewpoints, depart sullenly for unknown Uncle Gideon's dull-sounding Ordinary Farm. Advance instructions provide rules to follow near fire-breathing cows, but the word "cows" has been superimposed over another word. Readers will correctly guess that the supposed cows are the titular dragons, one of whom is pinioned (cruelly, though the text doesn't acknowledge that) in the "sick barn" as she nurses an egg. Farmhands reveal some of Ordinary Farm's treasures (wild unicorns and other creatures), but many secrets remain hushed, and Gideon deflects the siblings' questions. Bold, plucky Tyler probes the mysteries by exploring, while Lucinda frets and lags behind, perhaps simply because she's a girl. A fault line leading to past centuries and parallel dimensions, plus a fairy-tale-like conjurer and her cold son, tack on genre upon genre until the structure feels slapdash. Implausibilities and simplified stereotypes of foreigners add to this series opener's mediocrity. (Fantasy. 9-12)


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#14 2009-06-05 12:58:22

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4904
Website

Re: Reviews

Another Review:

This tale from fantasy writers' Tad Williams and Deborah Beale centers on siblings Tyler and Lucinda, whose divorced parent's seem more interested in their new, independent lives than them. When they receive an odd, out-of-nowhere invitation to Ordinary Farm from an uncle they've never heard of, they're dismayed when their mother leaps at the opportunity to get them a place to stay while she goes on a single's retreat. What ensues is more than either or them expect or bargain for.

Despite it's childish looking cover, Dragons was a page-turner and certainly not condescending in it's writing. In fact, the cheerful little girl on the dragon? Yeah, it doesn't quite happen that way. Anyway, my point is: I'm 21 and I loved it, so don't let the cover scare you away.

The Dragons of Ordinary Farm managed to be original, creative and fresh, while being spooky, suspenseful and awesome! Lucinda and Tyler were believable as siblings - and both of them likable. They succeeded, in my opinion, where Jake Ransom and the Shadow of the Skull King failed - making a brother and sister likable, relatable and realistic. The adventure was new and not a retread of anything else. There are many plots and twists that make every chapter exciting - plus the humor is almost surprisingly current and laugh-out-loud.

I am eager and hopeful to find out that there will be many more books involving this anything-but Ordinary Farm! I think any fans of Harry Potter and fantasy in general will agree!

Check it out June 2nd!!!

http://bibliophilesupportgroup.blogspot … -farm.html


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#15 2009-06-05 19:48:42

deborah
Hierarch
Registered: 2001-06-01
Posts: 164

Re: Reviews

Olaf wrote:

The hate-filled review from Kirkus is now online at BN.com:

It's stunning, really, how much they loathe us.  We're considering asking them just to stop reviewing Tad's books.  It's a source of hilarity in our house, but really, what *is* going on, with such bile?

'Hate-filled' is right, Olaf.  One can only wonder.

 

#16 2009-06-06 09:13:09

strangeshe
Hierarch
From: Texas
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 11555

Re: Reviews

Deborah shared An Open Letter to Kirkus Reviews in Boudicca.

 

#17 2009-06-06 18:37:03

cyan
Mantis
From: Magic Loft of Design & Wonder
Registered: 2005-02-16
Posts: 26870

Re: Reviews

After having read the first 8 chapters, I don't get the sense that the Kirkus folks even bothered to read the book before writing their review.


"Never underestimate the power and accuracy of a chicken-chucking trebuchet." ~ Tad

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#18 2009-06-09 10:53:59

Kiema
Pilgrim
Registered: 2004-12-29
Posts: 565

Re: Reviews

Cyan, I got that *very* same feeling!  I was wondering who had the audacity to give a review that was so blatantly incorrect.  Either that or the reviewer has difficulty grasping subtle characterization.

 

#19 2009-06-19 16:32:34

Kiema
Pilgrim
Registered: 2004-12-29
Posts: 565

Re: Reviews

Okay, so this isn't a review, but I still think it says something, and of course I'm going to be long winded about it.

Today I received a phone call from my ten years old niece whom I had let borrow my copy of Dragons of Ordinary Farm asking me "Who is the author?"  I told her the authors of the book, and she promptly said "thanks, bye."  So, well, I found that odd.  She had the book.  So, an hour or so later I called and spoke to her mom.  Seems that the cousins (visiting from Colorado) had gotten interested in the book as well, and while they were in Barnes and Noble wanted a copy for themselves.

So, take that Kirkus reviews! Kids agree that Dragons of Ordinary Farm is a great read.

 

#20 2009-06-23 11:14:27

deborah
Hierarch
Registered: 2001-06-01
Posts: 164

Re: Reviews

Thank you Kiema!!!   That's the stuff that counts - the readers...

 

#21 2009-06-28 08:49:34

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4904
Website

Re: Reviews

Another review:

http://www.fantasybookreview.co.uk/blog … rah-beale/

Review by Floresiensis
The Dragons of Ordinary Farm will always stay in my memory. It is the first book for which my first impressions didn’t last.

I will be completely honest and admit that the first chapters did not work for me at all. I found little that was fresh or involving and the overall feel was of something that I had read before, albeit with different characters. Most conspicuous by its absence was the sense of magic that imbues the very best children’s fantasy books.

And then, to drive what I thought would be the final nail in the coffin, came this show-stopping sentence:

“The compartment was fairly full, mostly with people in clothes that didn’t quite fit or who looked like English was their second or third language.”
The Dragons of Ordinary Farm: Chapter 2 - Flaming Cows and Window Monkeys

How can you look like English is your second or third language? Is it the colour of your skin that gives it away? Or is it dependent on the quality of your clothes?

I will clear this up straight away. I was concerned that the sentence above may be indicative of racial stereotyping of the very worse kind.  I was very pleased to discover that The Dragons of Ordinary Farm does in fact attempt to be multi-racial; although the ethic characters do sometimes lack a touch of subtlety.

And then something rather special happened.

It was somewhere between the 50th and 200th page that I really did begin to enjoy the story. My concerns over racial stereotyping vanished and the sense of magic that had been missing began to slowly appear. It was the introduction of time travel to the plot that I believe had the largest impact; the linear storyline that I was expecting was suddenly blown out of the water and replaced by one that could go anywhere it wanted to (and hopefully will do). The Ice Age, Roman times, the Dark Ages; the possibilities are endless and this really breathed life into the narrative.

When you look at the pedigree of the two authors you would be right to expect a juvenile fantasy novel that was way above the average. Tad Williams is the author of the critically acclaimed Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy (1988-1993) and a stalwart of the fantasy genre. Deborah Beale was a long-time editor of books for adults and children before beginning her career as a writer.

And The Dragons of Ordinary Farm did indeed prove to be above average. After turning the 412th page I was left wanting to know more about what would happen to the now likeable characters of Tyler and Lucinda. I also wanted to know what places and times in history would be visited next. I wanted to know more about the strange creatures and peoples that inhabited Ordinary Farm itself. But more than anything I wanted to know if Uncle Gideon would be reunited with his long lost wife.

I would recommend The Dragons of Ordinary Farm to younger readers but stress that if they, like me, find the beginning a little slow and difficult to get into, don’t give up - it really does get much, much better and could shape up to be a delightful little series.


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#22 2009-06-28 08:58:13

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4904
Website

Re: Reviews

Another short one:
http://www.bookreporter.com/wom/wom.asp

Sharon Haas
The Dragons of Ordinary Farm by Tad Williams, Deborah Beale, and Greg Swearingen
Rating: 5 Stars
I love YA books and especially reading a really good one in June because it reminds me of my favorite 'school's out' activity - lying in bed in the early morning with a great book!



D of OF is such fun - it has a mystery, great characters-some are even pretty creepy and scary, and DRAGONS!


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#23 2009-07-23 21:02:36

strangeshe
Hierarch
From: Texas
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 11555

Re: Reviews

Another review on Novels Now

I had a great time reading this. I loved the motley crew of characters. The plot is a lot of fun and the dragon side story is unique and well, who doesn’t love a good dragon story? The story is nicely wrapped up yet there is a bigger plot running along which will continue through the series and the book leaves us with a satisfying ending but also knowing the children will be returning to Ordinary Farm again.

Get in at the start with this series folks, it’s quite likely, imho, that this is going to become a popular one. I’m really looking forward to book two.

 

#24 2009-08-07 00:20:17

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4904
Website

Re: Reviews

Here is the School Library Journal Review that Deborah mentioned on Twitter:

WILLIAMS, Tad & Deborah Beale. The Dragons of Ordinary Farm. illus. by Greg Swearingen. 412p. CIP. HarperCollins/Bowen Press. 2009. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-06-154345-6. LC 2008035298.

Gr 5–8—When siblings Tyler and Lucinda are sent to spend their summer with distant relatives at Ordinary Farm, they soon find that the farm is anything but ordinary. The animals include a variety of mythical beasts, and even though the siblings have been sworn to secrecy, no one wants to explain to them how these unusual creatures and a variety of unusual human residents have come there. A magical library and its ghosts provide hints to the answers, but it's up to the children to put the clues together and continue their family tradition as the caregivers of Ordinary Farm. While they work to understand its secrets, Tyler and Lucinda also have action-packed roles to play in thwarting a rich businessman who's planning on taking over the property. Williams and Beale have created a gripping fantasy with realistic but appealing characters as well as scientific magic that explains the appearance of legendary creatures. Boy-girl protagonists and nonstop adventure make this a good choice for fantasy fans and reluctant readers of both genders, who will be left, like Tyler and Lucinda, looking forward to their next visit to Ordinary Farm.—Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI

http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/art … %2C+Tad%22 (You have to scroll down a bit)

Last edited by Olaf (2009-08-07 00:21:23)


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

#25 2009-08-08 02:10:38

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4904
Website

Re: Reviews

First German mini-review from the Bunte magazine (a glossy lifestyle magazine)

http://www.bunte.de/in-out/dreckmanns-f … 11224.html


found via Teich-Dragon of the German TW mailing list.

It is a good review.


Scrollbearer

Writing books, especially long books, is a careful balance between laziness and masochism.
Tad Williams

 

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