Liked It1 of 1 members found this review helpful
“I devoured this series in my teenage years and still have very fond memories about it. The world of Osten Ard may seem like a stereotypical fantasy setting, but Williams' style of writing and the overall plot of "Memory, Sorrow & Thorn" make the series something special, in my opinion.”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It4 of 4 members found this review helpful
“Every once in a while I get the urge to read a high fantasy novel instead of something more highbrow, much like people get cravings for hamburger over steak or a desire to punch themselves in the groin instead of having a nice cup of coffee. Since Tad Williams's Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn often...”see full review » see other reviews »
“Out of the older tradition of fantasy writing, this one takes its time and builds slowly, carefully, meticulously, until we have a world and conflict that feels real and surprising in the present with the depth that a long history provides. Really good stuff if you're patient enough to let it simmer.
I will admit to being bored at times, and frustrated with Simon's ignorance and naivete, especially in this first book. What I would consider to be the introduction takes about 200 pages. Then it's not really until the end of this book that it really reaches the pace and depth that spurs you on to pick up the rest - immediately.
No, it's not your quick fantasy fix, but it's infinitely more satisfying than the easy-in, easy-out fantasies that abound these days. I've now read the series twice in spite of the slow start, so I feel that it merits a place on my favorites shelf.”
“This is highly thought of by fantasy authors. Tamora Pierce rates it five stars on GoodReads and this was the series that inspired George RR Martin to try his hand at epic fantasy.
This first volume of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn consists of 766 pages of such tiny print I feared for my eyesight. It's the kind of book with maps up front and an appendix and glossary in the back, written in omniscient point of view, populated with elves, giants, dragons and trolls, and studded with songs and poems. It took a long time to get into--for 170 pages in the paperback edition we pretty much just follow, Simon, the 14-year old orphan scullion, dodge his duties about the castle before Something Happens. He acts fourteen--a flighty, whiny annoying pain--but does grow in the book. My favorite secondary character was the Yoda-like Binobik and his wolf--once he shows up on page 252 the book was a lot less of a slog.
Despite reviews calling the writing "beautiful" I didn't find the prose lovely: convoluted sentence structure, overdescriptive, overuse of italics and bold. The only other place I can ever recall seeing bold used for emphasis is bad fan fiction. Although good enough to keep me reading, I didn't find the style graceful compared to fantasy writers such as Peter S. Beagle, Tanith Lee, Ursula Le Guin, Mary Stewart or T.H. White. Moreover, the book could and should have been half the length; a great deal of the material was repetitive and unnecessary for world-building or character development. (And I would have appreciated far fewer dream sequences.)
I looked on my bookshelves for my fat fantasy books: Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart is 912 pages; George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones is 835 pages; Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule is 820 pages; Rowling's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is 734 pages. Did I feel the weight with those books? No. But Dragonbone Chair definitely needs a diet. With Carey and Goodkind the length of the first books and those that followed didn't daunt me--I eagerly pounced on their next books. But I look at the equally fat Stone of Farewell and then at the conclusion To Green Angel Tower--split into two books and each still over 700 pages--and I whimper. Don't know when or if I'll get the nerve up to finish this four book "trilogy," despite Dragonbone Chair ending on a cliff-hanger.”
“In the peaceful land of Osten Ard, the good king is dying-and a long-dreaded evil is about to be unleashed. Only Simon, a lowly castle scullion apprenticed to a secret order dedicated to halting the coming darkness, can solve the dangerous riddle that offers salvation to the land.”Katharine G wrote this review Wednesday, March 13, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Wonderful, just great.
Something described by detailed scenes, races, and even vanities are here brought lovingly in scene.
If you have´nt read THIS - there's only one READ!”
“Slow start, great finish. Can't wait to read the next one.”Aric wrote this review Monday, July 23, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I have always like fantasy, but Tad Williams is the author who really brought me back to it, and introduced me to the adult fantasy genre to begin with. First love = forever fan.”Sarah Whited wrote this review Thursday, July 5, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Tad Williams brings a fantasy world to life with this series. A slow, but good start.”Daniel G. wrote this review Friday, April 20, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Yet another excellent epic fantasy adventure. Loved it.”David A. Lindsay wrote this review Sunday, April 15, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I am not gonna lie to you – this is some hardcore fantasy. I mean, I consider myself to be fairly well-read at this point in the whole fantasy genre thing… but this was nearly out of my league. It was like stepping into this room filled with all sorts of fantastic, historical facts and then made to watch a movie that assumed you had a passing knowledge of at least 50% of those facts. History lessons filled the pages in this first novel, and add into that a fair amount of world-building, in addition to some pretty heavy politics happening and it makes for a book that packs a helluva punch.
What kept me going though was Simon. I loved that moonfaced boy, and I wanted to know what will happen to him. I loved the myth of the three swords, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn – for whom the series is named after. And I ABSOLUTELY adored the Sithi – seriously, I haven’t felt that much love for a race of fantasy creatures since I was introduced to Tolkien’s elves. Loved, loved, loved them.
If you are a fantasy reader, and want a definite challenge – but one that is worth the challenge just for the Sithi and Simon alone, I recommend this series. I do plan to finish it – but first.. I need to recover a bit. I’m telling you, this was a helluva read.