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 2016-04-06 21:05:36

Seoman Pilgrim
Pilgrim
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2016-03-17
Posts: 40

SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

This book took me by surprise...first of all, I want to note something I picked up on straight away that convinced me this series would be worth the time:

The closing paragraph of the prelude:

"Remember this, dreamer, when you see what is to follow. As the blind king said, this is the beginning. What he did not say, but which is nonetheless true, is that what begins here is the ending of the world."

Straight away, I knew that if, indeed, this novel would turn out to be slow, and difficult, as many reviews I read had said, I was to be certain, BEFORE I EVEN BEGIN, that Shadowmarch book one is just the beginning. We are told it is the start, and that it leads to something epic.

As soon as I read that I thought "Tad just won me over before I even begin!".

And how did I feel about the novel?

To be honest, initially I felt a little underwhelmed. This may be due to the fact that I started this book immediately after finishing To Green Angel Tower, but let me explain further.

When The Dragonbone Chair opens, we immediately sense we are at the very beginning. Yes, we have revealed facts and legends the of the history of King John (who at that early on still lived), clues to the origin of the castle, and a few other things, but overall, the plot of Memory Sorrow And Thorn begins with Simon. A silly boy. And then it gradually builds.

But it is different with Shadowmarch. The characters already seemed to me as if the story was on its fifth chapter. Without time to pause, we are told all about Shaso, Briony, Barrick, Chert, Kendrick...no gradual character development, we are just thrown straight into a plot where already it feels like much has happened before chapter one began. King Olin is imprisoned. Somehow the Shadowline has moved. Queen Anissa is pregnant and disliked. Chert and Opal somehow find a boy and seemingly love him like a son before the day is ended.

So much happened in the first two hundred pages to so many characters and at first, I didn't warm to any of them.

But I will confess, Tad may have left me initially cold with his characters, but something about the pacing of the introductory chapters had me whizzing through the pages, and in spite of initial reservations I became intrigued, even though I didn't feel as in awe of the world and the inhabitants as I did when I first read the warm and beautiful opening third of The Dragonbone Chair.

I also, initially, disliked the characters.  I don't think it was necessarily a bad thing, I just couldn't warm to Barrick or Vansen. Kendrick died before I felt a desire to want to know more of him, Briony was a little annoying. Chert I liked, and then something else happened: Qinnatin. Another character! But this time, she had no immediate link to the rest of the story, and it made little sense as to why whole chapters were devoted to her.

But I love her.

And the world of the seclusion was fascinating, and I was hooked!

Once I found myself rooting for this one character, Tad's brilliance saw the rest of the cast gradually develop. Page after page of conversation, flitting between different threads of story, a growing sense of dread, and more and more revelations and the characters finally coming into their own...

Mesmerised. If this book is meant to be slow and dull, then I must have read the wrong book.

Another thing that I can only appreciate now I am finished:

I felt for the first half of the book that the story was uneven. It came across that Tad was making stuff up as he went along. The whole thing about Kendrick's murder, the randomness of the world beyond the Shadowline, the strange addition of the Rooftopper's and then the odd dreams of Barrick...it all felt a little too spontaneous, and I found myself thinking "he has bitten off more than he can chew here".

But blow me down. The story, or should I say,  The Beginning of this story at least, knows exactly where it is going; the last two hundred pages went by ever so quickly.

So much is left to find out, but I have a strong feeling that now I know what was behind all the initial mystery, rereading this book will be an ever bigger treat, as I hope to be able to follow the characters with a less sceptical eye. And the questions left unanswered I now wholeheartedly trust will be answered, if not in the next volume, then at least by the end of the series.

And can I just say, Luian dying was a bit of a heartbreaker.  Although I confess I giggled at his male name before he was castrated (Dudon now no longer has his dude on), I found myself oddly touched by his/her storyline. This is another thing I cannot forget to praise: much like Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, I applaud Tad for writing in all the little details in every scene so that, over time, even the secondary characters become as familiar as the side characters.

Now onto the writing itself. First things first: I cannot find fault in his prose. It is perfect. I will admit some things left me rolling my eyes (currency is called dolphins and other such things, and at first the rooftoppers came off as Borrower's with the speech of Binabik on hemium). But these silly niggles aside, I have nothing more to complain about.

Also, this book differs from the previous fantasy series of Tad's because it is faster paced. Although eloquent, detailed, and generous in length, it felt like a much faster paced novel. I actually appreciated this as I really do think for this story a slightly less verbose approach to writing prose is a positive. Whilst it took me a lot longer to warm to the characters, by the end of the book I genuinely cared what happened, and characters that initially left me cold I now have very strong feelings towards: Briony, Chert, Vansen, Chaven...I will start Shadowplay with a lot more emotional investment than I initially predicted. Had this book been written in the exact same manner as The Dragonbone Chair, with this number of important characters, plot developments, cultures, and flitting back and forth, I reckon the ending of this novel could have been the third volume in a huge series. The zippier pace, without a single drop in writing quality, gave Shadowmarch the feel of a top notch TV show. It really zipped along and kept me wanting more and more. (I do understand that this novel does have roots in a proposed TV show and then an online, and ongoing, series).

To comclude: although I do feel that this book is great, and I truly sense this could turn out to be a masterpiece, and that all the things that left me cold initially ended up being outweighed by both the advancement of plot and the understanding of the initial mysteries, this cannot be given a perfect rating. But I have ended this book on a high. A real, major high. I am finding it very hard to explain just how caught up in the story I am now, yet I truly can reveal that I am as involved in this series now emotionally as I was MST (but I still conclude that this lacks a certain charm that earlier series had in abundance).

So I rate Shadowmarch a very well deserved 4.5/5


" "Each one of us has our own sorrows, Princess," he said. "It's no shame to take them to heart. The only sin is to forget that other folk have theirs, too--or to let pity for yourself slow your hand when someone needs help."

Isgrimnur, Miriamele was reminded, was more than just a gruff old soldier. "

- Tad Williams (To Green Angel Tower)

 

#2 2016-04-07 03:41:55

Seoman Pilgrim
Pilgrim
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2016-03-17
Posts: 40

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

I have a question:

Does anyone have access to the full images of the German Shadowmarch cover art? Without the text?

It is stunning and I would like to see it in more detail.


" "Each one of us has our own sorrows, Princess," he said. "It's no shame to take them to heart. The only sin is to forget that other folk have theirs, too--or to let pity for yourself slow your hand when someone needs help."

Isgrimnur, Miriamele was reminded, was more than just a gruff old soldier. "

- Tad Williams (To Green Angel Tower)

 

#3 2016-04-07 04:01:12

Merenwen
Pilgrim
From: Germany
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 2217

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

I have only seen the cover art with text. The artist of the new paperback edition is Max Meinzold. Maybe this helps you to search further? I really like these covers, too. But I already own the old hardcover editions.

 

#4 2016-04-09 03:26:48

Seoman Pilgrim
Pilgrim
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2016-03-17
Posts: 40

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

Ok, nearly 100 pages into Shadowplay, and I am increasingly enjoying this series.

First positive: whilst I have only good things to say about the style of writing, Shadowmarch suffered a little from having so many characters introduced in a short amount of time, and various chopping and changing points of view. This is actually something I had really warmed too by the end of the book, but I see that has changed- for the better- in book 2.

Now, entire chapters are devoted to a single thread of story, and although the focus character could change, they still remain in the same setting. The writing has also improved, the richer prose and startlingly more electric dialogue really has now approached a leven shared by MST, but I might actually make the argument that the dialogue, whilst lacking a lot of the richness of Tad's earlier work, may now in fact come across more human, and less dramatic. The characters are really fleshing out wonderfully. Ferras Vansen has finally grown on me, and the character of Shaso, who played an important but virtually unspoken role in Shadowmarch, is emerging to be another potential favourite.

I also am really impressed by the world beyond the Shadowline. It still feels very confusing (which it should), but now the characters are growing accustomed to the place, and as we learn more of the history, it is becoming a world of truly great (but dark) wonder.

Is this series a masterpiece? It is too early to tell, but I am surprised by how much I am enjoying this work. This shouldn't be surprising, but after all, Tad Williams rarely received the attention he deserved in times gone by, and I only know of this series because I already knew of Williams work years ago. Shadowmarch rarely gets mentioned amongst all the great fantasies of recent years, but truth be told, I think based on the little I have read, this is more deserving than a lot of the hackneyed work that makes bestseller lists, and could really prove to be a good starting place for anyone weary, but curious, about reading modern fantasy.

I don't know if anyone will read my musings, but I will use this thread as a sort of diary as I am sure this will become another firm favourite on my shelf.

Last edited by Seoman Pilgrim (2016-04-09 03:30:12)


" "Each one of us has our own sorrows, Princess," he said. "It's no shame to take them to heart. The only sin is to forget that other folk have theirs, too--or to let pity for yourself slow your hand when someone needs help."

Isgrimnur, Miriamele was reminded, was more than just a gruff old soldier. "

- Tad Williams (To Green Angel Tower)

 

#5 2016-04-09 12:08:44

Seoman Pilgrim
Pilgrim
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2016-03-17
Posts: 40

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

The autarch, Sulepsis, is a ridiculously strong villain.

The fate of his cousin, Felipe, had me cringing and the future for Qinnatin is now even more involving.

Still not sure how this storyline is going to connect to the rest of the tale, but slowly I can sense the small parts merging with the bigger parts.

Loving the intrigue!

Last edited by Seoman Pilgrim (2016-04-09 12:09:21)


" "Each one of us has our own sorrows, Princess," he said. "It's no shame to take them to heart. The only sin is to forget that other folk have theirs, too--or to let pity for yourself slow your hand when someone needs help."

Isgrimnur, Miriamele was reminded, was more than just a gruff old soldier. "

- Tad Williams (To Green Angel Tower)

 

#6 2016-04-09 14:20:43

ylvs
Mantis
From: Art Central
Registered: 2001-06-19
Posts: 13257

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

Seoman Pilgrim wrote:

I don't know if anyone will read my musings, but I will use this thread as a sort of diary as I am sure this will become another firm favourite on my shelf.

Oh, rest asured Seoman, this will be read. By me beyond doubt. I muchly enjoy your posts so far and am really looking forward to revisit the series via your musings. I planned to reread for ages to truly appreciate it. As it is it is the only of Tad's stories that I read only once. Actually I read the first book thrice (once online back in 2001, once when the novel came out and once to help Tad solve some god issues he had when writing the last book). Anyways. Love your diary so far!

And yes ,Sulepsis is awesomely evil and creepy!


To meet an old friend is like the finding of a welcoming campfire in the dark. Qanuc saying
Scrollbearer
Titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Arsonist of the probably most spectacular Mint burning ever

 

#7 2016-04-09 14:42:58

Seoman Pilgrim
Pilgrim
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2016-03-17
Posts: 40

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

ylvs wrote:

Seoman Pilgrim wrote:

I don't know if anyone will read my musings, but I will use this thread as a sort of diary as I am sure this will become another firm favourite on my shelf.

Oh, rest asured Seoman, this will be read. By me beyond doubt. I muchly enjoy your posts so far and am really looking forward to revisit the series via your musings. I planned to reread for ages to truly appreciate it. As it is it is the only of Tad's stories that I read only once. Actually I read the first book thrice (once online back in 2001, once when the novel came out and once to help Tad solve some god issues he had when writing the last book). Anyways. Love your diary so far!

And yes ,Sulepsis is awesomely evil and creepy!

Thank you for replying!

Yes, I am going to use this thread as a sort of diary to help me keep focused on things. I am really enjoying it so far (it's never less than above average, often great, frequently brilliant), and more and more I am enjoying these  characters.

Some of it mildly frustrates me. I feel a bit too much of the events remind me of Game Of Thrones, but this is my fault: I imagine several of the characters as actors from the TV show haha!

And occasionally I think it's not quite as "majestic" as MST. But I am starting to wonder if that could be because nothing else is...

But overall, this is turning into a joyous read! Shadowplay is a major step up in terms of plotting, character and the setting is finally feeling like reality and not mere fantasy painting which I sensed in the first half of the first book.

I cannot help but love this series so far. I hope it keeps my attention, as so far I have loved everything I have read of Tad's.

I hope others enjoy my ramblings. I do talk to much haha but I have NO ONE to talk too about this stuff.

Everyone else is drowning in Brandon Sanderson,  and yet I took the "hipster" root and started this authors work instead (although I may get around to Sanderson some day).


" "Each one of us has our own sorrows, Princess," he said. "It's no shame to take them to heart. The only sin is to forget that other folk have theirs, too--or to let pity for yourself slow your hand when someone needs help."

Isgrimnur, Miriamele was reminded, was more than just a gruff old soldier. "

- Tad Williams (To Green Angel Tower)

 

#8 2016-04-09 15:48:20

Magpie
Mantis
From: miraculously thistle-free town
Registered: 2006-03-27
Posts: 32639
Website

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

I'm reading your posts as well, but I don't really have anything to say about it, since it's been so long since I read the books. I definitely do need to reread, though!

Except this

Seoman Pilgrim wrote:

When The Dragonbone Chair opens, we immediately sense we are at the very beginning. Yes, we have revealed facts and legends the of the history of King John (who at that early on still lived), clues to the origin of the castle, and a few other things, but overall, the plot of Memory Sorrow And Thorn begins with Simon. A silly boy. And then it gradually builds.

But it is different with Shadowmarch. The characters already seemed to me as if the story was on its fifth chapter. Without time to pause, we are told all about Shaso, Briony, Barrick, Chert, Kendrick...no gradual character development, we are just thrown straight into a plot where already it feels like much has happened before chapter one began. King Olin is imprisoned. Somehow the Shadowline has moved. Queen Anissa is pregnant and disliked. Chert and Opal somehow find a boy and seemingly love him like a son before the day is ended.

So much happened in the first two hundred pages to so many characters and at first, I didn't warm to any of them.

I think this is such a good description of how I felt too, even if I never really put it into words.



(Also, on Sanderson, personally, I wasn't too impressed with his books. I've read a couple, and while they weren't bad, I also never found an emotional connection with any of them.)


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

 

#9 2016-04-09 15:53:52

Seoman Pilgrim
Pilgrim
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2016-03-17
Posts: 40

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

Magpie wrote:

I'm reading your posts as well, but I don't really have anything to say about it, since it's been so long since I read the books. I definitely do need to reread, though!

Except this

Seoman Pilgrim wrote:

When The Dragonbone Chair opens, we immediately sense we are at the very beginning. Yes, we have revealed facts and legends the of the history of King John (who at that early on still lived), clues to the origin of the castle, and a few other things, but overall, the plot of Memory Sorrow And Thorn begins with Simon. A silly boy. And then it gradually builds.

But it is different with Shadowmarch. The characters already seemed to me as if the story was on its fifth chapter. Without time to pause, we are told all about Shaso, Briony, Barrick, Chert, Kendrick...no gradual character development, we are just thrown straight into a plot where already it feels like much has happened before chapter one began. King Olin is imprisoned. Somehow the Shadowline has moved. Queen Anissa is pregnant and disliked. Chert and Opal somehow find a boy and seemingly love him like a son before the day is ended.

So much happened in the first two hundred pages to so many characters and at first, I didn't warm to any of them.

I think this is such a good description of how I felt too, even if I never really put it into words.



(Also, on Sanderson, personally, I wasn't too impressed with his books. I've read a couple, and while they weren't bad, I also never found an emotional connection with any of them.)

I tried one novel, the first Mistoborn, but it didn't grab me so I passed.

And I am pleased Shadowmarch improved! But I still feel the opening third of the first book felt unready for a final draft. But never mind,  by the end of book one I was hooked!

Thank you for replying!


" "Each one of us has our own sorrows, Princess," he said. "It's no shame to take them to heart. The only sin is to forget that other folk have theirs, too--or to let pity for yourself slow your hand when someone needs help."

Isgrimnur, Miriamele was reminded, was more than just a gruff old soldier. "

- Tad Williams (To Green Angel Tower)

 

#10 2016-04-09 15:54:52

Olaf
Mantis
From: Germany
Registered: 2001-07-16
Posts: 4901
Website

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

I am also reading your posts with great interest.

I am also in the camp of wanting to re-read Shadowmarch, but not having the time to do it.

But please keep going with your posts.


Scrollbearer

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

 

#11 2016-04-09 16:37:49

Seoman Pilgrim
Pilgrim
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2016-03-17
Posts: 40

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

Olaf wrote:

I am also reading your posts with great interest.

I am also in the camp of wanting to re-read Shadowmarch, but not having the time to do it.

But please keep going with your posts.

Thank you! I sense that I might be one of the few who absolutely love this series.

But I will have to finish it before I start boasting that...haha


" "Each one of us has our own sorrows, Princess," he said. "It's no shame to take them to heart. The only sin is to forget that other folk have theirs, too--or to let pity for yourself slow your hand when someone needs help."

Isgrimnur, Miriamele was reminded, was more than just a gruff old soldier. "

- Tad Williams (To Green Angel Tower)

 

#12 2016-04-09 21:41:44

Seoman Pilgrim
Pilgrim
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2016-03-17
Posts: 40

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

Some further progress has been made:

Daikonas Vo is a great new addition to the tale. His cold hearted, brutal nature is chilling to the bone, but not without that special human touch Tad gives to all his character's.  His slaughter of the Dorza household was remarkably chilling, but beautifully written. The fear I have for the future of Qinnatin has reached its highest point yet, and the same goes for the cute little boy, Pigeon.

The scene where the autarch had Vo fed that parasitic creature (hopefully the biology of this animal will be further explained later)  was harsh, and another unexpected twist, adding to the evil of the autarch.

I love the raven Skurn. Currently, it is uncertain whether or not he is meant to serve predominantly as light relief, but his presence truly adds to the otherwise plodding scenes of Vansen and Barrick. But overall, especially with the mouthless Gyir, another supposedly evil character that I can't help but warm too ever so slightly,  I am really enjoying these scenes as well.

Something magic has happened with Shadowplay. I am finding myself loving this story as much as Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. This was not something I expected. I can happily proclaim that MST is SO MUCH BETTER, but Shadowmarch is easier to read, and no less enjoyable. I am loving this book. Sure, I am 150 pages into it and I have plenty more to go, but I think approaching this series with low expectations after reading several reviews has added to the enjoyability factor.

Every character has gripped me. I love it!

The world of Shadowmarch (the series) somehow feels so much larger than MST, but I think by this stage of his career, Tad had more of a grip on writing about different cultures, and whilst I never found any issue with anything in MST, his portrayal of the almost medieval northern lands with the practically mesapotanian southern continent comes off as much more fluid, more confident.

I must stop comparing the two series, as both have their strengths (but perhaps only one has weaknesses).

If I was to be really honest, I am sure I could find things to dislike. But the grip this series currently has on me, what with every character being a highlight and the writing so addictive, is so strong I can only praise it.


" "Each one of us has our own sorrows, Princess," he said. "It's no shame to take them to heart. The only sin is to forget that other folk have theirs, too--or to let pity for yourself slow your hand when someone needs help."

Isgrimnur, Miriamele was reminded, was more than just a gruff old soldier. "

- Tad Williams (To Green Angel Tower)

 

#13 2016-04-24 08:41:40

ylvs
Mantis
From: Art Central
Registered: 2001-06-19
Posts: 13257

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

No Seoman for two weeks now.

Sad.


To meet an old friend is like the finding of a welcoming campfire in the dark. Qanuc saying
Scrollbearer
Titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Arsonist of the probably most spectacular Mint burning ever

 

#14 2016-04-24 20:28:54

Seoman Pilgrim
Pilgrim
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2016-03-17
Posts: 40

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

ylvs wrote:

No Seoman for two weeks now.

Sad.

Hello!

Life has been busy...and progress on reading this novel has been slower as a result haha!

I plan to update soon!


" "Each one of us has our own sorrows, Princess," he said. "It's no shame to take them to heart. The only sin is to forget that other folk have theirs, too--or to let pity for yourself slow your hand when someone needs help."

Isgrimnur, Miriamele was reminded, was more than just a gruff old soldier. "

- Tad Williams (To Green Angel Tower)

 

#15 2016-04-26 06:53:36

Seoman Pilgrim
Pilgrim
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2016-03-17
Posts: 40

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

Ok so I am progressing really slow with this book now.

And you know what? It isn't the fault of the novel. After MST I am doubting it was a good idea to immerse myself once again in such a long epic. I should have taken a breather with a standalone novel or a shorter series (I have Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles Of Prydain and Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising Sequence on my TBR).

But I have two things to talk about:

First of all, I am finding the endless "lost in an unknown realm" aspect a little tedious. I get it, characters get lost and lose their mind a little. We know it happens. But it's the endless pages (I am talking notably of the scene where Briony is lost in the forest before she meets the old woman). I find Tad does this so often, pretty much to the smallest detail, that sometimes I just wish he would abbreviate his thoughts a little and just get too the point. But this scene was saved by one thing: Briony's telling of the story of Zoria to keep her sane. I liked that. But still...I feel more plot, less setting would be nice once in a while. But the end of the chapter was great, where she met the ancient woman. I appreciated the build up once I got there. But it did take forever.

Secondly, I am struggling to care about Barrick and Vansen. Both characters just seem stuck in the same basic characterization they started with in the first book. And Barrick is just...boring, and so much was built into his character in Shadowmarch I now find this tiring.

But truth be told, I do also blame these caveats on my not reading this book fast enough. I have read two chapters this week and it was a struggle to find the time so I reckon, much like most epic series, I need to really just envelop myself in the story more.

But overall, unlike MST, I am not really loving any of the characters. The assassin hired by the autarch is the one I am most anticipating to grab my interest, but alas he doesn't yet seem to be a primary focus.

And I love Qinnatin and Pigeon. So I do love two characters haha. And to be honest, Briony as well.

I would give this second book right now a 4/5. Sure, I have issues. This isn't perfect. But for all my annoyances I do still find myself engrossed, and although right now I feel a little burned out on the idea of completing another long series, I have a burning desire to find out the fate of so many of these characters, even if I don't really feel as much for them as I wish I did (but there is still time).


" "Each one of us has our own sorrows, Princess," he said. "It's no shame to take them to heart. The only sin is to forget that other folk have theirs, too--or to let pity for yourself slow your hand when someone needs help."

Isgrimnur, Miriamele was reminded, was more than just a gruff old soldier. "

- Tad Williams (To Green Angel Tower)

 

#16 2016-04-26 12:43:17

Firsfron of Ronchester
Mantis
From: Ronchester
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 23099
Website

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

Briony, Pigeon, and Qinnitan are three of my favorites in Shadowmarch, too.


Scrollbearer, Keeper of the Firsfronicon, Message Board Poet Lariat and Guardian of the Wild Range.
Co-titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Now-official Osten Ard consultant for Tad Williams

Ommu is horrifying; Akhenabi is f**king evil; Makho is Trump with a badass sword; Jijibo is the crackhead version of Towser.  And Saomeji is creepy. --Cyan

 

#17 2016-05-02 03:41:50

Seoman Pilgrim
Pilgrim
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2016-03-17
Posts: 40

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

Ok, I am now starting to see the bigger picture.  Shadowplay is in many ways a bridge, and reading it is like crossing over from important beginning to another major new discovery.

And like a bridge, reading this book is not the most exciting thing, but it has purpose.

And that purpose for a while started to feel like padding. But more and more I am coming to realise that there are threads of story starting to overlap, and characters that seemed unimportant are gradually coming to the fore, and the scenes with Lisiya and Briony add further complexity to this world, and I am intrigued to find out more about the "gods".

Another thing I have to praise is the fact that, whilst I am reading this book very slowly (as mentioned before I have issues that prevent me from reading as swiftly as I'd like), I find myself once again intoxicated by Tad's prose. He has a way of writing, a particular flair, an almost inhuman ability to paint characters so vividly that, whether I am "enjoying" the scene or not, I am still solely focused on the character.

Now, I will admit that I do find Vansen and Barrick's chapters to plod. I am not over the moon about these two, I am of course aware they are major characters but somehow I wish they weren't. Or that they were better written. I find the land beyond the Shadowline has, for the moment, lost a lot of that unnerving strangeness that made it so ethereally nightmarish in Shadowmarch, and the constant bleakness coupled with lack of character growth to be extremely tedious. Gyir on the other hand is a fascinating character, and the bits and pieces given so far ragarding some of the other natives of that land are intense and I hope to see more.

Already I have forgotten his name, but the assassin given the job to find Qinnatin by the autarch hasn't featured since he was told to be off on his way (although he killed someone), and Qinnatin almost seems to be forgotten. I am longing for her story to continue!

I love King Olin. Already he is becoming a dear character.

So, just past the halfway point and I am now settled into the fact that whilst this is no Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, as a series I am still very much in love with it and look forward to the further adventures in this world.

I remain highly optimistic, even if I feel I have to try a little harder to enjoy it than I would usually like.


" "Each one of us has our own sorrows, Princess," he said. "It's no shame to take them to heart. The only sin is to forget that other folk have theirs, too--or to let pity for yourself slow your hand when someone needs help."

Isgrimnur, Miriamele was reminded, was more than just a gruff old soldier. "

- Tad Williams (To Green Angel Tower)

 

#18 2016-05-25 10:26:23

Seoman Pilgrim
Pilgrim
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2016-03-17
Posts: 40

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

I took a little break from Shadowmarch.

I started reading The Hobbit, which I am still enjoying (how could anyone not?), but I am ready to carry on with Shadowplay.

A little distance works wonders! Now I am back into it and enjoying it again.


" "Each one of us has our own sorrows, Princess," he said. "It's no shame to take them to heart. The only sin is to forget that other folk have theirs, too--or to let pity for yourself slow your hand when someone needs help."

Isgrimnur, Miriamele was reminded, was more than just a gruff old soldier. "

- Tad Williams (To Green Angel Tower)

 

#19 2016-05-26 10:24:36

Firsfron of Ronchester
Mantis
From: Ronchester
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 23099
Website

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

*waves to Seoman*

Been a long time since I read Shadowmarch...


Scrollbearer, Keeper of the Firsfronicon, Message Board Poet Lariat and Guardian of the Wild Range.
Co-titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Now-official Osten Ard consultant for Tad Williams

Ommu is horrifying; Akhenabi is f**king evil; Makho is Trump with a badass sword; Jijibo is the crackhead version of Towser.  And Saomeji is creepy. --Cyan

 

#20 2016-05-26 13:37:28

Seoman Pilgrim
Pilgrim
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2016-03-17
Posts: 40

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

Firsfron of Ronchester wrote:

*waves to Seoman*

Been a long time since I read Shadowmarch...

Its odd...but I find it both a chore and intensely gripping at once...I think Shadowplay gets better once you hit the halfway mark. I was getting a little tired of it, and then WHAM things get interesting!

One thing I am really loving about this series is Tad seems to have a better grasp of the importance of distance. I often felt like Osten Ard was a small world, even though the journeys were long everything seemed to be in spitting distance.

In Shadowmarch, I really do sense that this is a huge world!

I still find myself unsure of where this is going, and not always in a way that I like. It feels at times a bit too reliant on throwing back things at good people, when a little breathing room would be nice.

But I am amazed by how many characters I love. Briony, Qinnatin and Matt Tinright especially.

Just wish I was a faster reader haha!

Last edited by Seoman Pilgrim (2016-05-26 13:43:22)


" "Each one of us has our own sorrows, Princess," he said. "It's no shame to take them to heart. The only sin is to forget that other folk have theirs, too--or to let pity for yourself slow your hand when someone needs help."

Isgrimnur, Miriamele was reminded, was more than just a gruff old soldier. "

- Tad Williams (To Green Angel Tower)

 

#21 2016-05-29 06:30:54

Seoman Pilgrim
Pilgrim
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2016-03-17
Posts: 40

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

Well I have less than 80 pages left of Shadowplay, and I have to say it is getting so intense and the pace has really sped up that I am pleased I was patient through the slower passages (that when I now look back on them they seem incredibly well written, if only I knew what they were building towards!).

Shadowmarch is richly rewarding me. At its best, it rivals Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. It isn't in the same league, but there are moments of grandeur that only Tad can write.

I am currently reading Tolkien as well and, side by side, I am finding it amazing how different they are and yet somehow, Tad is close to matching the old master!

I know I have two books left to read, but I truly believe they will be amazing!


" "Each one of us has our own sorrows, Princess," he said. "It's no shame to take them to heart. The only sin is to forget that other folk have theirs, too--or to let pity for yourself slow your hand when someone needs help."

Isgrimnur, Miriamele was reminded, was more than just a gruff old soldier. "

- Tad Williams (To Green Angel Tower)

 

#22 2016-05-29 14:12:15

Firsfron of Ronchester
Mantis
From: Ronchester
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 23099
Website

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

So glad you are enjoying, Seoman! Both Shadowplay and The Hobbit. I remember I greatly enjoyed reading The Hobbit at age 13, and many years re-reading thereafter. I'll always have fond memories of it, despite the film disasters. (I'm sure there are two great films in those three movies).


Scrollbearer, Keeper of the Firsfronicon, Message Board Poet Lariat and Guardian of the Wild Range.
Co-titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Now-official Osten Ard consultant for Tad Williams

Ommu is horrifying; Akhenabi is f**king evil; Makho is Trump with a badass sword; Jijibo is the crackhead version of Towser.  And Saomeji is creepy. --Cyan

 

#23 2016-06-01 04:59:49

Seoman Pilgrim
Pilgrim
From: United Kingdom
Registered: 2016-03-17
Posts: 40

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

Firsfron of Ronchester wrote:

So glad you are enjoying, Seoman! Both Shadowplay and The Hobbit. I remember I greatly enjoyed reading The Hobbit at age 13, and many years re-reading thereafter. I'll always have fond memories of it, despite the film disasters. (I'm sure there are two great films in those three movies).

I have the extended editions, and having finished the book I started the first one.  It was great fun! But very ignorant of what made the novel so magical. But I regard it as Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, and for a Hollywood fantasy, I have seen much worse.

I still long for an actual movie of The Hobbit haha!

And back to Shadowplay. I am onto book three now, and all I can say is that I am mightily impressed. I am as invested in these characters as I was those in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, and the world building is excellent! I really think Tad improved as he went along.

To be fair, I was hooked from page one in spite of my reservations, but all the same I think Shadowmarch is going to end up on my list of favourite series ever!


" "Each one of us has our own sorrows, Princess," he said. "It's no shame to take them to heart. The only sin is to forget that other folk have theirs, too--or to let pity for yourself slow your hand when someone needs help."

Isgrimnur, Miriamele was reminded, was more than just a gruff old soldier. "

- Tad Williams (To Green Angel Tower)

 

#24 2016-06-02 03:50:15

BonUs
Pilgrim
Registered: 2014-04-09
Posts: 24

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

It's really cool to see other folks getting into Shadowmarch. Even on these forums, it seems like it's not a very talked-about series, but it was the Tad series that got me hooked on his writing.

The thing I love the most about Shadowmarch is the Qar. In my eyes, they deliver on the question Tad proposed with the Sithi in MS&T: "What if the elves really were alien?"

Perhaps it's just through cultural osmosis and the hidden interconnectedness of the fantasy genre, but all elves seem the same to me nowadays. There are a few exceptions, but they vast majority are just Tolkienian elves with a different coat of paint. The Sithi, by contrast, kind of take those traditional elf stereotypes- magical, mystical, better than you, live in the forest, one with nature, etc. -and put them to the question a bit. Shook the foundation under the massive self-indulgent monolith the fantasy genre had become at that time, like most other elements of MS&T. Even the whole 'dying race' element that Tolkien used (and which somewhere along the line seems to have gotten lost from a lot of popular fantasy, whether deliberately or not) was questioned and re-examined in MS&T. Looking at how well the Sithi posed those questions, it's no wonder that MS&T was so influential, even if only in the background for a lot of modern readers.

The Qar, however, answered the questions the Sithi posed. They ARE alien. They ARE mystical. They ARE the dying race trope brought to its fruition, to the point that their entire culture revolves around it. And thy're also appealingly different from the stereotypical elf in that Tad was not afraid to make them ugly and strange. Not in the 'ethereal and subtly inhuman' way (though there is that element in some of the 'noble' Qar, it's downplayed in favor of making them alien in their manner and thought), but in the 'I can't for the life of me find this thing's head or identify where its legs start and its arms end' kind of way. And their mythology, God, I love it so and I wish it could be expanded upon beyond what we see of it in the series.

Anyway, I'm done rambling for now. Good to see you're continuing your journey beyond the Shadowline, Seoman!

(As a side note, I still uphold the crack theory that Shadowmarch and MS&T exist in the same universe; I should really get around to writing up a treatise on that concept...)

 

#25 2016-06-02 07:56:17

ylvs
Mantis
From: Art Central
Registered: 2001-06-19
Posts: 13257

Re: SPOILERS: Just Finished The First Book...My Review

BonUs, I'd love to read that treatise!


To meet an old friend is like the finding of a welcoming campfire in the dark. Qanuc saying
Scrollbearer
Titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Arsonist of the probably most spectacular Mint burning ever

 

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