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Shadowmarch: Shadowmarch: Volume I Mass Market Paperback – September 5, 2006
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Shadowmarch: Volume 1 introduces a world conquered by humans, who have driven the Qar, or fairy folk, into the far north. There, the Qar hide behind the "Shadowline," a mysterious veil of perpetual mist, which drives mad any human who dares enter it. Bordering that mist and named for it is Shadowmarch, the northernmost human kingdom.
Shadowmarch has lately fallen on hard times. Its king has been captured by a rival kingdom, the regent has been mysteriously slain, and the new regents are callow fifteen-year-olds. Moody, crippled Prince Barrick is uninterested in their responsibilities and haunted by eerie dreams. His twin, Princess Briony, takes their new duties seriously, but is hot-tempered and headstrong. How can they defeat the greatest threats in Shadowmarch history? Their nobles plot to overthrow them--and the plotters may include their pregnant stepmother, seeking the throne for her own child. The expanding empire of Xis has sent its agents into Shadowmarch. And, for the first time since it appeared centuries ago, the Shadowline has starting moving. As the maddening mist spreads south over Shadowmarch, it does not quite hide the powerful, uncanny, and vengeful Qar army of invasion... --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
More About the Author
Tad is also the author of 'Tailchaser's Song': his first novel spawned the subgenre of cats and fantasy that we see widely today. 'Tailchaser's Song' is currently in preproduction as an animated film from Animetropolis/IDA.
Top Customer Reviews
I won't rehash the plot; that's been done plenty elsewhere. What I will say is that Williams take familiar elements and does wonders with them. His plotting and pacing are relentless, compelling you to read more in one sitting than is good for you.
The only thing I could have done without was one character's time underground, which reminded me a bit too much of Simon's escape in _The Dragonbone Chair_. But that comes late in the book, and by then you'll be hooked.
If you're looking for some excellent fantasy while waiting for George R.R. Martin's _A Feast for Crows_, this is just the thing.
In contrast to his pedigree (see the first two hundred pages of "The Dragonbone Chair" or the entire book that was "City of Golden Shadow"), the book is long on plot and short on in-depth character development.
Let me explain.
As a reader, and fan, of Tad Williams' works, the opposite tends to be true. He focuses, primarily, on a few highly borne out characters (Orlando, Renie, Simon, Miramele). This can lead to sequences that, to the impatient reader, paint a very detailed caricature while moving the/a-semblance-of-a plot forward minimally. Of course, as evidenced in "The Dragonbone Chair", even during those long initialization sequences, very pertinent information is divulged (eg the statues as visited by a young Simon).
In "Shadowmarch", the opposite track seems to have been taken. Swarms of characters dart in and out (Briony, Barrick, Qinnitan, Chert, Chaven, Yassaminez, Flint, Vansen) in very short sequences-- most such 3rd person limited perspectives are 1-2 pages; the exception being Qinnitan whose 'perspectives' take an entire chapter (although even her average chapter length is only 7 pages). This serves, in a contrarian form to his early works, to progress the well-thought out and multi-faceted plot forward at a swift clip (especially for Tad Williams). However, and most disappointedly as I see it, only Briony and Chert are painted at more than 'sketch-level.Read more ›
If you want an action novel light on atmosphere, don't read this book. If you want a thickly layered imaginative fantasy novel, you'll enjoy this very much.
The Good Points:
-The prologue was excellent, mysterious and gripping, and really drew me into the book. The blind king and motionless queen were very intriguing.
-Williams did a good job of creating many more questions than answers in this book so you want to keep reading to solve the mysteries. Especially at the end of the book, the world is in upheaval, all the characters are embarking on journeys, and I would like to see what happens to everybody in the next book.
-The scenes describing the Qar were interesting and well written. I especially liked the descriptions of their main stronghold, where Williams really shows off his imagination and powers of description.
The Not So Good Points:
-VERY few of the human characters were exceptional or even interesting in any way. I didn't care about these characters nearly as much as I did about those from Memory, Sorrow and Thorn and Otherland. Indeed, a good half dozen of the characters seem like boring remakes of characters from MS&T. Barrick and Briony seemed to me like annoying versions of Simon & Miriamele, right down to the colour of their hair! I won't bother to mention all the others...The only human I really liked was Ferras Vansen--he's such a darn nice guy. Also, Chert and Opal Quartz were pretty endearing.
-I felt that there were a couple too many POVs. It diluted the story. Especially Quinnitan's story--if Williams was going to include her, shouldn't he at least have hinted by the end of the book what on earth she has to do with anything?
-The setting of Southmarch didn't seem very interesting to me.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a boring story that I could never get through. I gave up after a short while then donated it to a thrift store. Stay away from this book. Your money is best spent elsewhere.Published 1 month ago by Alley McNally
"Also, we enjoyed your generous gift and it has joined the Great Golden Piece and the Silver Thing in our collection of crown jewels. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Captain
I'm not a huge fan of traditional fantasy, but having LOVED Tad's "Otherland" series as well as all the "Bobby Dollar" books so far, I figured on giving the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Bill D
I'm a huge fan of Tad Williams' "Otherland" series, and recommend it to everyone I know. Yes, I tell people, it starts slow but by the end you'll hair will be all over the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Let me just start by saying that Tad Williams is a good writer. He has good character development, interesting plots with good description, etc. Read morePublished 7 months ago by hikari chaser