Shadowmarch by Tad Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It has been way too many years since I picked up a Tad Williams fantasy. I read the books surrounding the Dragonbone Chair back when they came out and I was extremely impressed by the writing quality and character, the slow burn and devoted character building, the inexorable finality of the grand explosion or magical release or bloodshed to come.
He builds slowly, carefully, and with enormous attention to detail.
Therefore, I knew very well what I was getting into here. These are long books and there are a lot of them, and true to modern epic fantasy form, we have a firmly established place and time. We get to know all our main characters, their little squabbles, their personalities, their little strivings.
It requires patience. Even to me, it required a lot of patience. I grew bored with long stretches, but nothing is permanent. Battles and magic and the Shadow come to those who wait, as well as long stretches underground, fae creatures, goblins, and a truly wicked scene being set.
Darkness and all the creatures in it will come to reclaim the land. And I mean literal darkness, neverending night, and this is no hyperbole. Tad Williams is setting the stage for an end-all epic scene of destruction and mayhem and horror.
I trust him as I trust few writers. His Otherland SF series was a brilliant romp of the imagination and his fantasy reaches high-brow status while never skimping on the gritty detail.
But again, it requires otherworldly patience. :) The taste of things to come at the end of this huge tome is well worth the wait. I feel like I've grown up with these folks now. I feel like I'm living here, that I love this place. The anticipation of its destruction is truly wicked.
Suffice to say, I can't let this end here. I'm in it for the long haul, and that's sometimes the only thing you can do. :)
View all my reviews