Monday, January 11, 2016

Review: Shadowmarch by Tad Williams

The Kingdoms in the Northern Continent are becoming nervous as the Autarch, the god-emperor of Xi's, has consolidated his hold on the Southern continent and is seeking new conquests. King Olin of Shadowmarch sought to unite the Northern Kingdoms in alliance of protection against this threat but was captured by the bandit ruler of Hierosol who demands a considerable ransom for his release. Olin's heir Prince Kendrick attempts to hold Shadowmarch together but tragedy thrusts his two younger siblings to prominence. Briony is tired of being judged on her gender is determined to show her worth while her twin brother Barrick is plagued by nightmares that make him question his sanity. Meanwhile the Twilight people, fairy folk driven off by humans centuries ago, have plans to take back what was taken from them.

 Like many of Williams books the pacing of the novel, especially in the beginning, is exceedingly slow. However it is well worth persisting with. Williams is able to create a brooding atmosphere throughout which kept me turning the pages. World-building is solid and while the characters might seem to adhere to genre stereotypes at first glance they are very well developed.

Overall pacing issues aside Williams delivers a very strong, character-driven novel. 8/10.