Shadowmarch by Tad Williams
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I’ve never really made up my mind about Tad Williams. One hand he’s obviously very gifted, but on the other he embodies the lack of careful editing that could actually turn science fiction or fantasy into respectable literature. Yes, I know fantasy doesn’t sell as well unless it is over 800 pages. But still..
The story is told from a multitude of characters which are well portrayed, if a little flat. It becomes fairly easy to figure out what, say, Princes Briony will say or think at any given moment. Speaking of which, she is the nobly character you get who is actually developing in any meaningful manner, it actually looks as if she will be continuously developed, something that the other characters don’t. And somehow, I doubt that was the intention on the author: if he spends that much time on surrounding characters in order just to build her up… Let’s just say the need for an editor just got greater.
It is a pity though, Price Barrick could be build up to something interesting (if a bit cliché) as could the relationship between the different races, but it is all kept flat as a pancake.
(Let me be clear here, I’m talking about personal development, character. I mean, *stuff* happens to everyone in an action novel, it is how they react to it that is interesting).
And for exposition? I found myself skipping large parts of it. Just as I imagine I did for Otherland vol I. And just as for Otherland, I *might* return to this series again, but not right now. The tale of Briony is interesting, but there is way too much padding for my comfort. So I’ll read something in between, and perhaps, if I’m bored and can’t think of anything better to read, I’ll return. But not with any grate expectations.
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