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The Dragonbone Chair (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Book 1) Paperback – March 1, 2005
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Praise for Tad Williams:
“Inspired me to write my own seven-book trilogy.... It’s one of my favorite fantasy series.”
—George R. R. Martin, New York Times-bestselling author
“Groundbreaking.... Changed how people thought of the genre, and paved the way for so much modern fantasy. Including mine.” —Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times-bestselling author of The Name of the Wind
"Tad Williams is a master storyteller, and the Osten Ard books are his masterpiece. Williams’ return to Osten Ard is every bit as compelling, deep, and fully-rendered as the first trilogy, and he continues to write with the experience and polish of an author at the top of his game." —Brandon Sanderson, New York Times-bestselling author of Mistborn
“Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is one of the great fantasy epics of all time.” —Christopher Paolini, New York Times bestselling author of Eragon
“Readers who delight in losing themselves in long complex tales of epic fantasy will be in their element here, and there is the promise of much more to come in future volumes.” —Locus
“Panoramic, vigorous, often moving.... Williams adroitly weaves together the tales...heralding a suitably epic and glorious conclusion.” —Publishers Weekly
“Highly Recommended. [Williams] draws on many mythologies for the background of his fantasy epic...story spiced with political intrigue and strong appealing heroes.” —Library Journal
“A grand fantasy on a scale approaching Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.” —Cincinnati Post
About the Author
Tad Williams is a California-based fantasy superstar. His genre-creating (and genre-busting) books have sold tens of millions worldwide. His works include the worlds of Otherland, Shadowmarch, and Osten Ard—including the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, and The Last King of Osten Ard series—as well as standalone novels Tailchaser’s Song and The War of the Flowers. His considerable output of epic fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, comics, and more have strongly influenced a generation of writers. Tad and his family live in the Santa Cruz mountains in a suitably strange and beautiful house. He can be found at tadwilliams.com or on Twitter at @tadwilliams.
Top customer reviews
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Sadly, whatever method was used to translate this book (and the rest of the series) into electronic format resulted in a staggering number of typos. If you've read the book before, they can be glossed over. If you haven't, they will make this a somewhat difficult read. These range from changing the chapter title "A Thousand Nails" to "A Thousand Naifs," to utterly butchering the composition of the SIthi language. Issues with italicization also abound.
It's still a great story. One of the best, in fact. But if you're a stickler for correctness, don't encourage this kind of sloppiness by buying the eBook.
Boy, was I glad I didn't! At a certain point, the story (finally) "starts", and it is very much worth the read, I'm glad to say.. I'm currently in the 2nd book, "The Stone of Farewell". I'm reading it on the Kindle app, but I must have this for my own library - a worthy addition, I believe.
So--the good stuff. It's got rather rich worldbuilding, and I can tell the characters are going to develop a lot. The refs to Inuit and Japanese culture in the Quanuc and Sithi respectively were neat. The prose is luxurious, and the dips into madness are quite fantastical.
The beginning, though, is SLOW. This book is an investment and heavy with subtlety--even with its Humble Farmboy storyline--and I can't recommend either rushing it or reading it in slow gulps. It did frustrate me in places, because I was hoping it would be more different from other high fantasy works in the genre.
Sit down with this, invest your weekend in it, and see for yourself. That said, I'm still curious enough about the rest of the series that I bought them, so my lukewarm feelings on this are still ultimately positive.
This is a review of the entire series, which is actually one long story. "The Dragonbone Chair" is the first book, followed by "Stone of Farewell" and "To Green Angel Tower." The last is in two parts if you read the paperback edition.
The main theme has familiar fantasy elements: the good land is beset by a pall of evil forces; the good prince battles the evil prince for rule of the kingdom; a good sorcerer challenges an evil one; elves of darkness ("Norn") battle elves of light ("Sithi"); and giants ("Hune"), goblins ("diggers"), and a dragon come into play. The fantasy world itself, however, is original, as are the overall story and the historical lore that is revealed during the course of the story.
It begins with Simon, a kitchen boy in the king's castle. He becomes an apprentice to the good sorcerer, Morgenes, and falls into adventures that entangle him in the center of dangerous politics. He meets a small dwarf-like character, Binabik, who rides a huge wolf and shoots poison darts, and they join a fellowship in search of the magical sword Thorn. The good forces of the land hope to join Thorn with two other magical swords, Memory and Sorrow, to counter the evil forces of the Storm King.
The further you go in this story, the more developed the characters become. Simon and Morgenes receive much attention in the first book, as does Binabik. In the second and third books, a good selection of other personalities become prominent. As in his novel "The War of the Flowers" and his series "Otherland," Tad Williams's characters in "Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn" are strong, drawing the reader into their fantasy world. The good characters become likeable, and the bad ones are hated. The roguish monk Cadrach, however, is ambivalent, sometimes good, sometimes bad. He seems repentant; then again.... The best thing about "Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn," and the reason it deserves five stars despite its familiar elements, is how its characters become real. You can feel them.
Each book has maps, a glossary, and a key to pronunciation. The second and third book (and fourth book in paperback) have synopses to summarize the preceding story.