Wednesday, 23 July 2008
From my bookshelf… ‘Memory, Sorrow and Thorn’ (Tad Williams)
‘The Dragonbone Chair’
‘The Stone of Farewell’
‘To Green Angel Tower: Siege’
‘To Green Angel Tower: Storm’
I’ve gone on about this series so much, in other posts, that I think it now deserves a thread all to itself!
It was way back in 1989 that I found a copy of ‘The Dragonbone Chair’ while trying to find something decent to spend my book token on; I’d heard some good things about it so figured I’d give it a go… The first hundred pages, or so, were really hard going with detailed description about life in a castle and introductions to a plethora of characters, I stuck with it though and the payoff came much sooner than I had expected.
Betrayal! Strange creatures carrying out human sacrifices! More strange creatures swarming out of the ground to attack unsuspecting soldiers! Giants! A castle destroyed by magic! A dragon! This was more like it. I was totally gripped by the story that was playing out and, as I mentioned a few posts ago, ‘The Dragonbone Chair’ was the first fantasy book to show me that things don’t always go the way they’re expected to.
But then came the downer… Not only did I finish the book but I then found out that the sequel was still being written. For the first time ever I had to cope with the fact that I was into a series that was still ‘in progress’ and hadn’t been completed.
Two years later…
It’s Christmas Day and I’ve finally got my hands on ‘The Stone of Farewell’, as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t matter what’s on the television as I’m just glad to get back into the world of Osten Ard and find out what has been happening to Simon Snowlock and his friends. It’s just as good as the first time round but I’m finding that the more of the world I get to see the more questions there are that need answering. I’ve also got used to the fact that ‘The Stone of Farewell’ will end on another cliffhanger and I’ll have to wait another couple of years to see how it ends. I was right on both counts; a character comes back from the dead (that still gets me whenever I read it) and that’s how it ends. Time to settle down for another long wait. Having said that though, these days I’m able to wait twice as long (at least) for the latest from GRRM!
If waiting for ‘To Green Angel Tower’ wasn’t bad enough I then found that, due to the publishers ‘wanting to put a good product on the shelves’ (so, nothing to do with making more money then…), I was going to have to wait even longer for a book that was being published in two parts! Damn them…
I got there in the end though, a slightly off key ending (a series that questioned certain fantasy tropes fully adopted one of the biggest ones of all) but overall a great series that has certainly inspired George RR Martin in his own fantasy series.
‘Memory, Sorrow and Thorn’ looks just a little bit dated when placed against some of the edgier works of today but is a series that will always have some charm as far as I’m concerned. It’s a series that will always occupy one of the more prominent spots on my bookshelves and gets a re-read at least every couple of years. If you’re a fan of epic/high fantasy, and you haven’t tried this series out, then you could do a lot worse than give it a go…