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Thread: Thoughts on Tad Williams
June 14th, 2009, 12:51 PM #1
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
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?
June 14th, 2009, 01:07 PM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 2004
No, Williams drags everything out far longer than he should. Find something better to read.
June 14th, 2009, 01:21 PM #3
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.
June 14th, 2009, 01:30 PM #4
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
I liked it as well...took some time to get into the story, but when I did I enjoyed it very much..
June 14th, 2009, 03:05 PM #5
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.
June 14th, 2009, 04:26 PM #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.
June 14th, 2009, 11:46 PM #7
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 :/
June 15th, 2009, 05:28 AM #8
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.
June 15th, 2009, 04:49 PM #9
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...
June 15th, 2009, 04:59 PM #10
- Join Date
- May 2008
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 05:01 PM.
June 15th, 2009, 05:03 PM #11
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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.
June 15th, 2009, 09:50 PM #12
- Join Date
- Nov 2008
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.
April 17th, 2010, 04:11 AM #13
Start with which Tad Williams book?
I was looking at Dragon Bone Chair. It sounds good. Like a magicain apprentice type story.
Are all his books stand alone? Is Dragon Bone Chair good to start with?
Thanks for the input in advance.
April 17th, 2010, 04:54 AM #14
- Join Date
- Mar 2010
- Landskrona, Sweden
The Dragonbone Chair is the first in the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn-trilogy, the other two are Stone of Farewell and To Green Angel Tower.
I read them some ten years ago but I really enjoyed them. Easy to read but well written and good. Someone else will fill you in even more, I hardly remember anything but the fact that I liked them.
April 17th, 2010, 07:40 AM #15
Yup, The Dragonbone Chair is the first book in Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. This is technically a trilogy, with the next two books as Stone of Farewell and To Green Angel Tower. However, the last book is split into two volumes in paperback as it's so huge (Part 1 and Part 2 in the USA, Siege and Storm in the UK).
Tailchaser's Song, Caliban's Hour, Child of an Ancient City and The War of the Flowers are all stand-alones and can be read independently.
Otherland is an SF/Fantasy crossbreed series and probably his strongest work to date. It consists of four books, City of Golden Shadow, River of Blue Fire, Mountain of Black Glass and Sea of Silver Light.
Shadowmarch is his latest series, another more traditional fantasy consisting of Shadowmarch, Shadowplay, Shadowrise and Shadowheart, due in November this year. I haven't read this series so far but the suggestion seems to be that Book 1 is great, Book 2 is meh and Book 3 is stronger.
He also has a YA series cowritten with his wife, The Dragons of Ordinary Farm. No idea if they are any good or not.