It has been hurtful to find so many of my favorite when I was young reads looking at you, Shannara and DragonLance aren t actually good at all and that I must adore them from afar with only sentimentality stoking the fires of young love.
Thank you for not adding to that hurt I appreciate the effort you put into this story, allowing it to be readable throughout different cycles of life.
Your fan,Erica I came into this book a little forewarned by the good readers here at Goodreads that this book is a SLOW buildup 0 20%, slow 20 30%, something could happen, are we leaving yet 30 35%, is this it No, false start 35 45% OK, we left the castle, something has to happen right 45% end Bam Fires, dragons, magic swords, trolls, elves, demons, mountains, crossing the map, wolves good and bad , bad dreams good dreams, death, sieges, magical storms, ships.
The slow build up eventually drops you off the cliff into a sea of epic fantasy and it is worth it Looking forward to picking up where the 1st book left off and would recommend this book with the warning it is indeed a slow build up to what ultimately looks to be some good epic fantasy.
A War Fueled By The Powers Of Dark Sorcery Is About To Engulf The Peaceful Land Of Osten Ard For Prester John, The High King, Lies Dying And With His Death, The Storm King, The Undead Ruler Of The Elf Like Sithi, Seizes The Chance To Regain His Lost Realm Through A Pact With The Newly Ascended King Knowing The Consequences Of This Bargain, The King S Younger Brother Joins With A Small, Scattered Group Of Scholars, The League Of The Scroll, To Confront The True Danger Threatening Osten Ard Simon, A Kitchen Boy From The Royal Castle Unknowingly Apprenticed To A Member Of This League, Will Be Sent On A Quest That Offers The Only Hope Of Salvation, A Deadly Riddle Concerning Long Lost Swords Of Power Compelled By Fate And Perilous Magics, He Must Leave The Only Home He S Ever Known And Face Enemies Terrifying Than Osten Ard Has Ever Seen, Even As The Land Itself Begins To Die After The Landmark Memory, Sorrow, And Thorn Trilogy, The Epic Saga Of Osten Ard Continues With The Brand New Novel, The Heart Of What Was Lost Then Don T Miss The Upcoming Trilogy, The Last King Of Osten Ard, Beginning With The Witchwood Crown One of the seminal works of epic fantasy which, along with the works of Robert Jordan and David Eddings, made the genre what it is today Williams makes a virtue of starting small as we follow orphaned kitchen boy Simeon through his childhood in the castle of King Prester John However, the king s death heralds an age of discord and Simeon finds himself drawn into valiant Prince Josua s rebellion against his increasingly despotic and magically deranged brother The scope of the story expands with every succeeding chapter, escapes and battles abound as the conflict escalates, all expertly woven into a complex but satisfying whole by Williams flawless prose and plotting If you re a fantasy fan and you haven t read this, you re really not trying.
My very useful and coherent review books are a form of magic because they span time and distance surely than any spell and charm The Dragonbone Chairis the first book inTad Williams Memory, Sorrow and Thornseries and an amazing coming of age story, which probably had big enough impact to shape and influence many of today s popular writers of this genre For that alone, it is my opinion, that it should be visited at least once in a lifetime, no matter of someone s preference in their genres.
A truly magnificent worldbuilding written with astonishingly beautiful prose.
Sadly, my own infatuation ends there, since Tad was focused on worldbuilding so much that he made character development feel almost secondary And if that is combined with the poor story we have already devoured on multiple iterations over decades withTolkien, Feistand numerous others finishing result is that this book seems only as a half measure of its actual worth2.
91 Story and Characters The main story follows our main protagonistSimon,a fourteen year old kitchen boy serving in the ancient castleHayholtHis story is divided into three partsSimon Mooncalf, Simon PilgrimandSimon SnowlockIt s the first part I want to focus on here, because it s the one I actually enjoyed the most while readingSimon Mooncalfstory carefully sets the groundwork to introduce readers with the world, its history, magic, set of characters and political currents surrounding them.
It s a story about a boy living quite secure and boring life in a castle, all while his head is filled with wants and needs of becoming someone else A common, childlike desire that comes from listening all those legends of old andstories about pastbut not history, mind you which preferably excluded those boring parts from them, such as names and years Stories which were left with nothing but exiting heroic battles.
There is nothing that can persuade this boy from lazing around the castle, not a broomstick nor a bucket, not even apprenticeship with castle s main doctor wizardMorgenesto educate him to actually become something than a kitchen boy Like any fourteen year old he is unable to recognize someone s effort to help him and steer him into a right direction, because soldering and becoming a hero is all that preoccupies him, without having slightest notice what that actually means.
And in it there s this beautiful relationship between Master and Apprentice which reminded me of that one ofMerlin swithArthur sinThe Sword in the Stone,where one tries to teach the other of ways of life, but other keeps struggling with incomprehension and stays quite ignorant Until he is forced to learn the hard way.
And this is a repetition Tad will use quite regularly throughout the 800 pages of this book and other two stories, which is why this first one is a dearest one for me, because I couldn t shake away the feeling how someone s robing that special bond from them, whenever someone new would come into Simon s life and tried to speak some sense and knowledge into that thick head of his.
Rest of the stories, and the book, I m leaving for you to find outWorldbuilding and Prose I have seen that the most common complaint was actually this first story Troubles were either its pacing or how slow it was or endless info dumps I don t agree with those complaints, but I understand why they are there.
I actually liked how history of this world was told through classes Simon had with Morgenes how stories he would told him were filled with names and years how he would describe some minor thing in details and the moment your head starts falling and you start dozing off, Morgenes would stop himself and ask if he was boring you, so that both Simon and you yourself, would feel slightly embarrassed for being caught wanting to hear about those magnificent heroic battlesI came here for battles, not boring facts, old man But that s part of Tad s worlbuilding and his preparation of you to later distinguish why character A is doing something while character B is opposing.
Was it really necessary for world to be so vivid and described with so many details Of course it was.
But was it necessary to describe stains of papyrus which sits on a scratched, cobwebbed, bookcase that faces darker western corner of the room, impractically occupying enough space for front door to be opened completely all of which is, obviously, mason s mistake for making inner walls not just uneven but thin enough in the first place while the only natural source of light comes from the southern window, too high to brighten the entire roomOh yes Yes it was absolutely necessary That s wordbuilding Sure, there s no need to describe in so many details, especially if author s prose is slightly better than that of middle grader, but when an author has an ability to express what s inside his mind so colorfully that should be revered, not something to complain about.
Which reminds mesomething to complain about Well I won t do that much As I said, story is seen through many books since, and characters, even though many of them are present, only one seemed developed enoughmain one.
But, this is a book published in 1988 My complaints aren t actually complaints about the book itself I m just, to a degree, saddened that epic fantasy as a genre made big progress since But also, at the same time, in many things that this book excels, genre today still lacks.
Something to think about.
Truly a masterpiece and probably my favorite Fantasy book of all time The rest of the series is pretty awesome as well Also, the most evil villain bar none of any Fantasy series I ve ever read in Pryrates the evil priest If you haven t read Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn in its entirety, you really must This is what made me a Tad Williams fan for life.
A bit disappointing The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie ps a follow up trilogy in that series is dropping in 2019 sets a pretty high bar for modern epic fantasy And this is an example of another that fell short To cut to the chase, it simply had too many elements that felt derivative from other fantasies and too many secondary characters that I couldn t invest in I found everything done tolerably well enough, but it just didn t add up to a great book.
The story is centered around a youth named Simon and his abrupt growth into manhood as he is swept up in a political battle between the king and the king s brother This struggle is also linked to an ancient magical grudge between the undead elf like Sithi and the humans who defeated them in war and forced them off their land Simon becomes the assistant to a wizard of sorts and then stumbles into a quest to help the king s brother He joins forces with a small agile mountain troll, some humans, and several Sithi who owe Simon a debt They pursue a magic sword, and there are dragons involved Which you might guess from the title.
Simon is a decent character who builds up some sympathy But I can t say that I connected very strongly to him I found it rather contrived how Williams had the character constantly asking questions He was a question asker, always confused or not understanding the bigger picture, with many issues hidden from him Other characters became annoyed with that trait and so did I, as a reader Mostly because it seemed like an author s technique to squeeze in exposition And considering those other characters, my interest slacked further too many characters and not enough time spent with them to develop any emotional connection or even interest.
Beyond that, I m a bit sick of these epic fantasy novels being about angry men angry with each other doing angry war things It may be Donald Trump s world, and we re just living in it, but I m over reading about it unless you have something new to say I think it s just the clich d background of most epic fiction Men fighting wars Bleh Give me something new I won t be continuing this series.
A classic in the fantasy field, this is best suited for readers looking for the traditional orphan identity quest While I enjoyed it overall, I was able to set the book down and walk away, coming and going from the story until Simon reached the woods I consider it a bad sign when I m able to set a book down my favorites have me locked into reading position until I reach the end page Eventually it picked up and reeled me in, but there was skimming involved A combination coming of age and castle kingdom political novel, I felt like the book would have benefited from focusing on one or the other As it was, the politics were mostly the side story, and I largely skimmed over those sections of the book without any real decrease in enjoyment of Simon s story It s classic high fantasy, with full landscapes and world building, starting from the castle to underground tunnels to a deep forest, to a deserted Sithi read elven city, a highlands castle and a mountain When the book ends with Simon and other adventurers sent on a journey for a missing sword, it s almost shocking that it s not a ring I like that Williams world contains non human races There is the most interesting take on trolls that I ve read yet Binobik and his wolf quickly became my favorite characters The white hounds and the Bakken bring nicely frightening elements to the story.
One frustration is that Simon s development seemed very uneven and unlikely to me, that parts of his political and intellectual consciousness seemed so limited even when being taught by the doctor He does indeed behave like a fourteen year old boy at the beginning of the story, and credit to Williams for capturing that well enough to be annoying Every time you turn around, he s complaining about reading, and his refrain lasts for some time even into his forest journey However, view spoiler rescuing the Prince should have been the beginning of a political awakening hide spoiler
, but what makes it unforgettable for me is one main thing Williams nailed the world building While he retains a lot of traditional fantasy elements, they all show up in new ways and forms I can t think of a single time where I thought, This has been done before, and that s rare, considering the amount of fantasy literature I ve read The land of Osten Ard remains one of the most vivid locales in literature I ve read, and its inhabitants are incredibly memorable as well.