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  1. #1

    Talking Thoughts on Tad Williams

    Hello, my name is Dylan and I am new at this site. I absolutely love to read fantasy because I find it a sweet relief from the "real world". I like to write too both fantasy and poetry.

    I was wondering if anyone here has read Tad Williams and his Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Series. I had read his first book, The Dragonbone Chair, but I found it heavy to read through and slow. It seemed to only get interesting towards the end. I know the back cover lauds it as comparable to Tolkien, but I just don't see it. Before I invest another buck into this series I wanted to get some thoughts on what some readers here may have experienced with the series. Is it worth it?


  2. #2
    No, Williams drags everything out far longer than he should. Find something better to read.

  3. #3
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Colchester, Essex, United Kingdom
    I liked it, but Williams has a very relaxed pace which some find hard to read. If you didn't like the first book, I think it's unlikely the second would radically change your opinion.

  4. #4
    Registered User
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    Apr 2004
    I liked it as well...took some time to get into the story, but when I did I enjoyed it very much..

  5. #5
    Winged creature Draxinusom's Avatar
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    May 2002
    This was my first posting here in 2002 about MST:

    Yes it starts very slow and he keeps his very descriptive style. If it doesn't work for you by the end of the Dragonbone Chair, it's probably not the best series for you to read.

  6. #6
    I found that the drawn out descriptions sort of fall off towards the end of the book. Maybe, its just me and I got used to Williams style. It almost felt like Williams was using the descriptions to create atmosphere throughout the first half of the book and when the plot finally began to move along the descriptions began to get shorter.

  7. #7
    I also found The Dragonbone Chair very slow but thought the ending was killer. The rest of the series is not too slow, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In terms of world and race-building, Williams is very similar to Tolkien. The ending of the series was not as good as it could have been, but it was appropriate to the story.

  8. #8
    King of the Lurkers. Moderator Keyoke's Avatar
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    Nov 1999
    Canada, AB
    I've always enjoyed Tad Williams, and his Dragonbone series stands up as one of my favorites. Yes, very descriptive, but, it paints a awesome image.

    While the Dragonbone series is long, I loved it.


  9. #9
    Registered User Scrambles's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    ......Behind you
    Tough one, i found it really hard to get into his books that are in series, recently tried Shadowmarch and got about 1/2 way through the first book and wasn't enthused enough to continue.... for now. On the other hand i LOVED The War Of The Flowers which is a standalone.

    Try stick with it i guess im doing that with S Erikson at the moment :/

  10. #10
    Registered User BrightStar's Avatar
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    May 2006
    He tends to suffer from that same problem through most of his books. I had huge problems getting through the Dragonbone Chair, due to the sheer amount of description (which got tedious after a while) and although I did try and stick it out through the later books, I actually gave up on the series by about a quarter of the way through the third book.

    I do think Tad's a fantastic and talented writer. Unfortunately for me, he over-describes everything and it gets a bit much to have to read pages and pages of prose about nothing more than a character walking across a room.

    I do feel bad encouraging readers to completely discount his writing, because I think he has a lot of talent. But the amount of description he writes in his books is a major put-off for me. I probably won't be rushing to read any more books by this author in the near future.

  11. #11
    Speculative Horizons Moderator JamesL's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    I had the same complaints as others here - I struggled with the slow pace of The Dragonbone Chair, particularly with the reams of description and Williams' insistence on using rather tired similes - "Simon grew angry like a kettle coming to boil" and so on.

    Other things niggled at me - the repeated use of songs (I generally hate songs in fantasy; no one ever managed to replicate Tolkien's success at using them). The fact that one of the characters was called Prestor John really bugged me too, probably since at the time I was studying the great Portuguese and Spanish explorers of the 15th century and subsequently came across repeated references to Prester John - a mythical Christian King thought to live in Africa.

    I managed to get through The Dragonbone Chair on my 2nd attempt, went on to enjoy The Stone of Farewell, only to stumble halfway through the third novel...can't recall its name. Green Angel Tower something. Anyway, it was yet another song that caused me to throw the book into a corner...

    And I never really took to that eskimo-type guy...

  12. #12
    To echo the majority opinion in this thread: flashes of brilliance buried amidst great heaps of slog. MST is at least consistent, so whatever you liked or didn't like about The Dragonbone Chair will continue to be true for the other two (or three, depending on your editions) books.

    I liked the series well enough to see it through to the end, and then to read Tailchaser's Song, but I tried to reread The Dragonbone Chair last year and just lost interest when Eskimo Troll started singing for the umpteenth time.

    (Edited to add: the one thing I did like about Eskimo Troll, though, was that his dialect was skillfully rendered -- an often under-appreciated point that many other authors get wrong. It's also fun to go through and pick out the quirks that later show up in ASOIAF, such as a briefly referenced warrior known as the Hound who wears a dog's-head helm, the position of the King's Hand, and so forth. There are certainly things I appreciate and admire about Williams' writing. But man, that glacial pace and those long pointless digressions.)
    Last edited by Cranky Hamster; June 15th, 2009 at 04:01 PM.

  13. #13
    Diamond Dog Luke_B's Avatar
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    May 2004
    Canberra, Australia
    If you've got ADD don't read MST. If you like lush atmospheres, vivid descriptions, and larger than life characters, read MST. It can be a bit hokey at times, but I found myself so involved with the story I didn't care.

  14. #14
    I read the first two books of Shadowmarch and really liked them, then I tried MST and got about half way through book 2 before giving up.

  15. #15
    I'll pretty much echo what everyone else has said. I enjoyed the books but man they felt slow at times. I tried to re-read it a couple years ago but quickly gave up. I think I actually preferred the Otherland series. Some of the same problems but it seemed more original.

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