26 October 2006

Books of 2006, Part 13: Shadowmarch by Tad Williams

The epic fanatsy novel.

I've read a lot of them over the last 30 years, and while I've enjoyed most of them, they all still pale to the granddaddy of them all, The Lord of the Rings.

Still, where I gave up on the endless Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, I do have a soft spot for Tad Williams. I read his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy years ago and enjoyed them, even though the last book in the series was well over 1,000 pages in hardcover! And last year, I finally read his stand-alone fantasy The War of the Flowers, which I enjoyed also.

Still, I have left the multi-volume series books if only because I get bored with waiting years between volumes, as this one was released in 2004, followed by a trade edition in 2005 and now the mass market this year (which is what I read). The second volume is due in January, which means the trade edition will be out in January of 08, followed by a mass market late in the year or early 2009. So, it could be two years and 2 months before I read volume 2, and by then, I will have forgotten what had gone on before, and I don't plan to re-read the 762 pages again.

Still, it did take an effort to stay with this book, as Williams loves to write and write, creating a richly detailed universe, with its own language and what not. Sometimes, that is a problem. Going into so much ennui -while rich in texture and substance - also makes me want to skip pages as he can go on and on about the minorist of things.

And for me, that's what ruined the Jordan series. The Wheel series is long, filled with unappealing characters and just way too much detail that inferferes with the story. And that's where Williams has a leg up on Jordan. His characters, while not original, are much more fun -and once again, we meet a future queen who seems to hate all the pagentry that goes with the title, another tomboy who likes to get down and dirty.


But, we'll see if I pick up volume two in January, or wait a year and half. I have so much other things to read, so I'll have to consider if I want devote so much time to it. I mean, heck I've yet to read the first book in the Final Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, which is another multi volume series with years between each. For a moment, I considered going back and reading the first six again, something that I have not done in 20 years! But I got real, and will just read the What's come before... chapter.

John Whiting gave me the 4 volume Otherworld series by Williams, and I'll get to them with in the next few months, as I'm off to read Stephen King's latest Lisey's Story first. And I still want to read The Confederacy of Dunces.

I just need to turn the tube off, and ironically, this damn computer.

No comments: