To Green Angel Tower

TO GREEN ANGEL TOWER
Memory, Sorrow and Thorn #3
Tad Williams
Epub-1374 pages
4 Stars
Fantasy

The conclusion to the trilogy.

Everybody meets up at Green Angel Towers after much trial and hardship; only to learn it is all a trap and that the prophecy of Nisses was a lie by Ineluki, who wanted to use the power of the swords to bring himself back. Everybody has a kum-by-ya moment and they all forgive Ineluki and he can’t handle it and so all his plans go poof. Seriously. It was written a bit more epically than that, but that is what it boils down to.

Simon turns out to be an heir of the original king of Hayholt and he marries Miriamelle and everybody starts the business of rebuilding. So many things I misremembered or didn’t remember at all, made me glad for this reread.

The Stone of Farewell

THE STONE OF FAREWELL
Memory, Sorrow and Thorn #2
Tad Williams
Epub-727 pages
4 Stars
Fantasy

A lot happens. Now that is an understatement. The history of the 3 Swords is starting to be revealed as well as why Ineluki is doing what he is. Simon gets stranded with the elder race in their bastion of peace, until Ineluki attacks them as well. Princess Miriamelle is gadding about and not helping. Josua and company make to the Stone of Farewell and begin figuring out what they can do. This is epic, and not just in size. I blew through it and really wanted to read the next book right away, but I think I’ll enjoy the final book more with some space between.

This series continues to hold up very well as a re-read. You can see Simon being shaped into the man he needs to be.

Williams does a good job with the pacing of his character/plot lines. You get enough from each character and then move on to another. No whiplash or yawns.

Sea of Silver Light

Sea of Silver Light
Otherland #4
Tad Williams
SF
5 Stars
Epub, 1002 Pages

the finale to the Otherland story. Each thread/group has a satisfactory ending, all are woven together and all my questions were answered. Dread takes over the network and wreaks havoc. The group offline figure out a way to communicate with the Other, which turns out to not be an AI, but a telepath in a satellite in earth’s orbit. It destroys itself, Dread is in a life coma, Lando Gardiner is alive online only, and Mr Sellars has created a new lifeform, an electronic form, which takes off into space. The otherland Network survives as a pale imitation and is hidden away by the group until it can be integrated easily into the existing networks of the world. And there are shocking revelations about Paul, but it works out all good. Overall, a good wrap up to each storyline.

As a re-read, this series held up to my very good memories of my first time reading it. It might actually have been better, since I’ve matured quite a bit since that time and can understand a lot more about the characters than I could have a decade or so ago. Definitely not a “thriller, on the edge of your seat” kind of book, but a deeply written one. Even at this size, I never felt like any of the words were too much or not needed. Williams did an admirable job as a wordsmith with this series. It was slow going at first, confusing, but then all the threads started coming together and forming on awesome story. Since this series held up so good, I think I will go and re-read Memory, Sorrow & Thorn with a lot less trepidation.

All that being said, this will definitely not be every ones cup of tea. Slow, descriptive, almost like the river that runs through the Otherland, it inexorably takes you to the end, but at its pace, not yours. Some will chafe and want to paddle faster, and since they can’t they will give up. Others might want to explore barely glimpsed tributaries but are unable to and hence be disappointed. But the journey is worth it. So my advice? Sit back, go at the pace the river sets and just drink in the world Williams has created just for you.

The Mountain of Black Glass

The Mountain of Black Glass
Otherland #3
Tad Williams
4 Stars
SF
Epub, 749 Pages

things really start to come together in this book. We found out the ultimate aims of the Grail and the Circle. Paul Jonas has a bit revealed about his past and the group makes it back together. Fantastic writing, tons of action. Dread is a great bad guy.

Shadowheart


Shadowheart
Shadowmarch #4
Tad Williams
2 Stars
Fantasy
Epub, 738 Pages

the conclusion to the Shadowmarch tetralogy. A god is resurrected, but not the god Sulepsis [the mad monarch] thinks, the god is defeated. Brionny and Ferris get together, Barick becomes the leader of the Qar for its last generation and everyone else just kind of survives. I wasn’t impressed, sadly. I doubt I’ll ever re-read this series.

Disappointing, to be honest. But this whole series has been slow with no real payoff, imo. Even the ending was “wham, bam, thankyou ma’am”. I just never found a character who I really liked in this series and I kept waiting for someone to cheer for.

City of Golden Shadow

City of Golden Shadow
Otherland #1
Tad Williams
SF
4 Stars
DTB, 770 Pages

A near future where online is almost as real as rl. Some rich people, however, are creating an online world to rival the real world. Various characters get sucked into the story line, even if we, the reader, don’t know where they fit into the overall picture. A very good job of building the story up, reaching a satisfactory conclusion, while keeping the plot wide open.

Having read this series as it came out back in the 90’s, I wanted to go back and re-read to see how this held up, because I remember being blown away the first time through.

I was not blown away this time. However, that isn’t a bad thing. This time I was able to consider smaller things than the “coolness” factor of an online world, which was about to be the rage when this was written.

The characters were real. Enough so that I felt like slapping Renie multiple times for putting up with so much crap. Then I realized that is what real people do, with the ones they love. Multiple storylines, some very confusing because the character portrayed didn’t know what was going on, were all wound together nicely at the end, so that while you knew there was more to come, there was also a nice cutoff point for the story.

On a different note, I read this in the bookclub edition. Not as large as a first edition but it was still a tome. I couldn’t read it one handed. I had to frequently rest it on something, my stomach, the table, the covers, something to give my wrists a break. I will definitely be reading the rest on my ereader. Amazing tech, eh? 😀

Shadowrise

Shadowrise
Shadowmarch #3
Tad Williams
Fantasy
3 Stars
dtb, 554 pages

the 3rd book of the Shadowmarch tetrology. I ended up reading this in short sections at lunch at work, and I think that really worked against this book. The way it was written made it so it needed to be read in 3-5 long reads.

Barrit ends up going through yet more stuff and meeting the King of the Qar, Briony makes it safely to another kingdom only to face assassination, etc and ends up fleeing back to Southmarch and the fruitcake godking reveals his plans to sacrifice the king of Southmarch to gain control of a god for his own personal use.

This book just didn’t really resonate with me, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it in fewer, but longer, sessions.

Shadowplay

Shadowplay
Shadowmarch #2
Tad Williams
fantasy
3 stars
641 pages

So much happens, so many side by side threads, that to summarize it is really hard. Ok, Briony escapes, ends up alone, is in the process of making contact with a possible ally. Barrick, with companions, is captured by a demi-god, escapes. Quinnitan is recaptured by the Autarch.