|Submitted by Damon Z |
(Nov 23, 2001)
First off, you should know that I am a big Tad Williams fan, so this review is going to be a bit biased. I read the first four pages of his absolutely brilliant Memory Sorrow and Thorn, The Dragonbone Chair, and I spotted a very gifted writer immediately. I don't go throwing around lavish words like "wonderful" unless I mean it. Having said that, damn, this series isn't just wonderful, it's filled with wonderful wonderfullness!! I will have you know, dear reader, that I am not just any old sci fi or fantasy reader, but a highly critical, even cynical one! And let me just say that few books are *remarkable* to me, but Tad Williams' series, both MS&T and Otherland are just that. Being as gifted as Williams is, it is hard to dislike any thing he writes because he writes with such depth and realism, while maintaining an entirely uncynical and fresh voice through his three dimensional characters. In his Otherland series, the first two books are can't-put-down great. They are colorful, intriguing, rich in imagination. Unfortunately, Tad Williams seems to have a strange tendency to create really complicated plotlines for himself to resolve. I got the feeling in reading Otherland that he was almost improvising the whole thing as he went along. This is good in a sense, because the plotline feels so real, smooth, and without any cliches whatsoever. However, I found that questions as to what was going on in the plot, and more specifically, how the mysterious Otherland VR network works, seemed to build and build throughout the book, creating a strong sense of tension and an eagerness to find answers. The answers come, but they are sparse, and I felt a bit annoyed with Mountain of Black Glass for not winding down the story and giving me some more answers than it did. If Williams wasn't such a brilliant writer, this would be pretty irritating and might not work. The characters are real, and the VR environments are very fascinating. This isn't just science fiction, it's art, and good art at that. Mountain of Black Glass wasn't as powerful as the previous two books, but some of the mysteries of the network are revealed and that is good. Luckily, the fourth and final volume in the series is a successful finish. I highly recommend MoBG even though it is my least favorite in this great series.