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  1. #46
    I agree with Wert that his standalone novel The War of the Flowers is definitely a good example of the kind of fantasy Williams likes to write and the tropes he seems to play with.

    If you like The War of the Flowers then read Shadowmarch. Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is by far the superior work but it takes a bit of patience as it moves along at its own leisure. Shadowmarch starts off a bit faster.

    Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is a masterpiece and is one of my favorite works of fantasy literature. Shadowmarch is good albeit the ending was a bit disappointing. The constant is William's remarkable usage of imagery. He paints these fantastic settings that are often haunting and beautiful. His prose is excellent. Beautiful cadence and tone. Excellent dialogue.
    Last edited by 3rdI; December 15th, 2010 at 03:06 PM.

  2. #47
    Slayer velocci's Avatar
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    i heard Shadowmarch is slow. so if its faster than Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, how slow is MS&T?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3rdI View Post
    I agree with Wert that his standalone novel The War of the Flowers is definitely a good example of the kind of fantasy Williams likes to write and the tropes he seems to play with.

    If you like The War of the Flowers then read Shadowmarch. Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is by far the superior work but it takes a bit of patience as it moves along at its own leisure. Shadowmarch starts off a bit faster.

    Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is a masterpiece and is one of my favorites works of fantasy literature. Shadowmarch is good albeit the ending was a bit disappointing. The constant is William's fantastic usage of imagery. He paints these fantastic settings that are often haunting and beautiful. His prose is excellent. Beautiful cadence and tone. Excellent dialogue.

  3. #48
    Slayer velocci's Avatar
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    so you're saying Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is the series with "quests and prophecies, magic swords and chosen baker boys"?

    Quote Originally Posted by algernoninc View Post
    I would suggest starting with Memory, Sorrow and Thorn and continue with Otherland if you manage to finish the first series.
    I love his books, but I admit he sometimes gets long winded. Some readers find his prose slow and think he includes too many descriptions, but for others this is a bonus as it enriches the immersion in his imaginary world. Williams is closer to classic epic fantasy - with quests and prophecies, magic swords and chosen baker boys. There is less moral ambiguity and "grit" than in more recent authors.

    From his new series I've read only the first volume - Shadowmarch - and I struggled a little with it, again due to apparent slowness.

  4. #49
    I guess I'll play devils advocate.

    If you haven't alreayd bought his books id say skip him. M,S&T is slow and standard quest fantasy, nothing stands out really. Otherland is a decent virtual environment SF series, if you have to pick something thats what I'd go with.

  5. #50
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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  6. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by velocci View Post
    i heard Shadowmarch is slow. so if its faster than Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, how slow is MS&T?
    Very slow, yet still enjoyable at least for a first read. I couldn't get through a re-read simply because of how slow it started and really I knew what was going to happen so I lost interest.

  7. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by velocci View Post
    so you're saying Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is the series with "quests and prophecies, magic swords and chosen baker boys"?
    ................yes

  8. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by velocci View Post
    i heard Shadowmarch is slow. so if its faster than Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, how slow is MS&T?
    MS&T is slow at first. The first book, The Dragonbone Chair takes patience. I don't mind as it is an enjoyable world to get lost in. Really the entire trilogy is on the slow side. Nothing is rushed or hurried and that fits the sort of dreamlike setting that is Osten Ard.

    Bottom line if you prefer action and tons of magic from page one Williams isn't for you.

  9. #54
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    I think a good comparison with MST might be with Tolkien. The pace is fairly similar, and Williams is doing that same detailed scene-setting with rich descriptions thing going on, though he never gets bogged down too badly (like say Jordan does).

    Otherland moves a lot faster. Though it's as long as MST, it's more episodic. As the characters move from world to world within the VR network, they encounter new situations, deal with them, move onto the next world and so on. It's structured much more like a TV series, with each book like a season of the series (I'm surprised we haven't seen more interest in adapting it as a TV show, as it seems almost uniquely suited to it), though with ongoing story arcs as well. Whilst technically SF, it's actually a rationalised-fantasy. It certainly isn't William Gibson or anything like that. Technical jargon is fairly minimal and the SF side of things is a justification for the more fantastical adventures and situations the characters encounter in the VR network.

  10. #55
    Mask Specialist Sonja Ravenscroft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3rdI View Post
    MS&T is slow at first. The first book, The Dragonbone Chair takes patience. I don't mind as it is an enjoyable world to get lost in. Really the entire trilogy is on the slow side. Nothing is rushed or hurried and that fits the sort of dreamlike setting that is Osten Ard.

    Bottom line if you prefer action and tons of magic from page one Williams isn't for you.
    I agree-Williams likes to take his time to set things up.

  11. #56
    Mask Specialist Sonja Ravenscroft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Werthead View Post
    I think a good comparison with MST might be with Tolkien. The pace is fairly similar, and Williams is doing that same detailed scene-setting with rich descriptions thing going on, though he never gets bogged down too badly (like say Jordan does).

    Otherland moves a lot faster. Though it's as long as MST, it's more episodic. As the characters move from world to world within the VR network, they encounter new situations, deal with them, move onto the next world and so on. It's structured much more like a TV series, with each book like a season of the series (I'm surprised we haven't seen more interest in adapting it as a TV show, as it seems almost uniquely suited to it), though with ongoing story arcs as well. Whilst technically SF, it's actually a rationalised-fantasy. It certainly isn't William Gibson or anything like that. Technical jargon is fairly minimal and the SF side of things is a justification for the more fantastical adventures and situations the characters encounter in the VR network.

    I agree, remember though too, there are events happening outside the VR network, which may not seem related, but indeed have an important connection. What struck me about the books was there are quite a few subplots going on, but I never felt lost, he nicely chains them together and they all tie up rather nicely.

  12. #57
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    I've read most of Tad Williams' works and War of the Flowers was my favorite. Otherland was great too but it's an animal all its own.

  13. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Werthead View Post
    I think a good comparison with MST might be with Tolkien. The pace is fairly similar, and Williams is doing that same detailed scene-setting with rich descriptions thing going on, though he never gets bogged down too badly (like say Jordan does).
    Agreed I was thinking of making that same comparison myself. I don't think it is very Tolkien derivative in terms of plot but the pacing and focus on detail are similar. Meticulous attention to detail.

    What did you think of Shadowheart Wert? I though the battle scenes were superb but I was a bit disappointed with the ending.
    Last edited by 3rdI; December 15th, 2010 at 08:10 PM.

  14. #59
    My first and only book by Williams was Otherworld. I had early-warning of possible issues when I saw 'NY TIME BESTSELLING AUTHOR' on top of the cover - this has always been an indication that the book is going to bore me badly and focus greatly on people feelings/thoughts/descriptions/interactions, rather than advance the presumed plot of the book.

    The book was almost 800 pages long, and way, way too slow. They could have cut half of the book and still faced some pacing issues. I did finish the first book, but cannot imagine doing anymore.

    Won't read more by this author, and will never start a sf/f book by a NY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR again.

  15. #60
    Registered User Werthead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woofdog2 View Post
    Won't read more by this author, and will never start a sf/f book by a NY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR again.
    Depending on the time of year, you can become a NY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR by selling seven copies in release work (only slightly an exaggeration), so you may find this rules out about 90% of all SFF authors currently working.

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