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Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn/The Heart of what was Lost/The Last King of Osten Ard

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21 hours ago, AncalagonTheBlack said:

It's odd that out of all the reviews on goodreads you're the only one to give it 2/5.The rest have all given it 5/5 and most of them have read MST.

That's true. And the Goodreads aggregate rating for The Witchwood Crown is 4.5 out of 5. The Romantic Times just gave TWC 4.5/5 in their review, naming TWC a "top pick" for 2017. Their full review is behind a paywall, but it says in part, "fans will be thrilled with this return to his spectacular high-fantasy world, which continues to captivate as the preceding trilogy did decades ago, and readers new to Osten Ard will quickly be absorbed by the political intrigue, rich description and complex characterization that makes the author stand out in a sea of writers inspired by his work. The first installment in the new trilogy is a nostalgic glimpse of the past as the horrors of the future awaken, with new threats to challenge the present readers and newcomers alike."

21 hours ago, AncalagonTheBlack said:

Don't know whom to believe!

Isn't it possible to believe everyone? After all, it is simply a matter of taste. Personally, I'm so happy to see Tad writing in Osten Ard again (I missed that world and those characters) that I wouldn't mind reading stories with Cadrach just telling drunken, nonsensical yarns all day, Grandpa Simpson style. ;)

I did click on Pat's review, linked above, and thought again of the mention of him getting a "joke copy" of TWC. In his review, he states that  "The Witchwood Crown features about as many points of view as GRRM's A Song of Ice and Fire taken as a whole." This proves Pat definitely received something different than every other ARC reader, though I didn't know that was possible. There are 31 POV characters in ASOIAF, and only 16 in TWC (ADWD alone had 18 POVs). It sounds as though the copy of TWC that Pat got was mistakenly bound together with COT.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Jiriki said:

That's true. And the Goodreads aggregate rating for The Witchwood Crown is 4.5 out of 5. The Romantic Times just gave TWC 4.5/5 in their review, naming TWC a "top pick" for 2017. Their full review is behind a paywall, but it says in part, "fans will be thrilled with this return to his spectacular high-fantasy world, which continues to captivate as the preceding trilogy did decades ago, and readers new to Osten Ard will quickly be absorbed by the political intrigue, rich description and complex characterization that makes the author stand out in a sea of writers inspired by his work. The first installment in the new trilogy is a nostalgic glimpse of the past as the horrors of the future awaken, with new threats to challenge the present readers and newcomers alike."

Isn't it possible to believe everyone? After all, it is simply a matter of taste. Personally, I'm so happy to see Tad writing in Osten Ard again (I missed that world and those characters) that I wouldn't mind reading stories with Cadrach just telling drunken, nonsensical yarns all day, Grandpa Simpson style. ;)

I did click on Pat's review, linked above, and thought again of the mention of him getting a "joke copy" of TWC. In his review, he states that  "The Witchwood Crown features about as many points of view as GRRM's A Song of Ice and Fire taken as a whole." This proves Pat definitely received something different than every other ARC reader, though I didn't know that was possible. There are 31 POV characters in ASOIAF, and only 16 in TWC (ADWD alone had 18 POVs). It sounds as though the copy of TWC that Pat got was mistakenly bound together with COT.

 

 

Because he had an onion on his belt? ... it was the style at the time...

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1 minute ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Because he had an onion on his belt? ... it was the style at the time...

Haha! Exactly. But not one of those fancy white onions; we could only get those big yellow ones. We'd buy them for a nickel, which had bumblebees on them back in those days...

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I've tried to secure an ARC but no luck at all so far. Odd. Hodder and Stoughton have provided me with GGK ARCs and I got an early pre-release copy of THTWL, but no answer at all on TWC.

Edited by Werthead

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99% of the goodreads reviews are all squee and no real detail. worthless.

I'm hoping to fall somewhere in the middle. Tad lost me some time ago but I do hope he can bring something interesting to the table. If not, well, there is TUC coming out this summer...

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Shadowmarch was a very disappointing series, really liked Otherland (although it was about 500 pages too long, but that's par for the course), and thought the first Bobby Dollar book was solid but almost instantly forgettable (still haven't gotten around to the sequels). I generally think Tad is good, especially in short fiction and I'd like to see him go all-out SF, but I'm hoping that his return to Osten Ard will be good. Heart of What Was Lost was pretty good, I thought.

The chances of the first book in a new series being better than the eagerly-awaited concluding (sort of) volume in another series are going to be fairly minimal, although Williams is of course far more approachable.

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4 hours ago, kuenjato said:

99% of the goodreads reviews are all squee and no real detail. worthless.

More and more reviews should appear the closer we get to the pub date. So far, it's pretty much as you say.

 

6 hours ago, Werthead said:

I've tried to secure an ARC but no luck at all so far. Odd. Hodder and Stoughton have provided me with GGK ARCs and I got an early pre-release copy of THTWL, but no answer at all on TWC.

Adam, do you want me to see if I can get them to send you one?

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12 hours ago, Lord Patrek said:

Adam, do you want me to see if I can get them to send you one?

Sure, go for it.

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Strange Country has just reviewed the ARC of The Witchwood Crown. Their lengthy review is favorable, reading, in part:

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The Witchwood Crown continues Tad Williams’ seminal fantasy trilogy Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn while standing equally tall on its own in a more crowded book market, starting a new trilogy called The Last King of Osten Ard. 1988 was a different time for those massive tomes, and this first volume of the new trilogy knows that.

Instead of blindly repeating the threat of the original trilogy or copy-pasting in a new one, The Witchwood Crown takes the much more interesting route of being a sequel about how history can repeat if we aren’t careful to learn from our past. Think World War I only leading to World War II, with a small peace in between.

 

Kirkus Reviews has just added The Witchwood Crown to its list of Summer Reading Recommendations:

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Nearly thirty years ago, Tad Williams introduced epic fantasy readers to the land of Osten Ard in The Dragonbone Chair, the start of the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy. Williams returns to that much-loved world with The Witchwood Crown, the start of a brand-new sequel trilogy.

 

Fantasy Faction has just published a retrospective on MS&T, saying, in part:

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Kurt Cobain famously said that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was just his blatant attempt at writing a Pixies song.  The rest, as they say, was history.  One need look no further than George R.R. Martin (the Cobain to Williams’ Black Francis) to see that MST altered the landscape of fantasy.  Without Osten Ard there is no Westeros as we know it. And without A Game of Thrones, this new golden age of fantasy we’re living in simply doesn’t happen.  Memory, Sorrow and Thorn isn’t just important to me personally.  It is “capital-I” Important.

...They're promising to have a review of TWC up shortly before publication date.

 

 

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Blurb on the finished book:

"Tad Williams is a master storyteller, and the Osten Ard books are his masterpiece. Williams' return to Osten Ard is every bit as compelling, deep, and fully rendered as the first trilogy, and he continues to write with the experience and polish of an author at the top of his game"

Brandon Sanderson

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1 hour ago, ylvs said:

Thanks for the link, Ylvs!

That's a very positive review of The Witchwood Crown. Barnes and Noble has a new piece on the legacy of MS&T:

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Aside from the gorgeous worldbuilding, which draws plenty on various real world religions and cultures—the British Isles, Vikings, Christianity, Inuit, and the nomads of the Mongolian-Manchurian grasslands—Memory, Sorrow and Thorn succeeds wildly on the back of its changing and evolving characters. Throughout the trilogy, Simon, Miriamele, Binanik, and the rest of the cast—good, bad, or somewhere in-between—face tremendous challenges, altering their courses in life, their places in the world, or their understandings of human nature. People change—truly and utterly—from the first page to the last. This makes rereads even more satisfying, as you marvel at Simon’s early oafishness, Prince Josua’s brooding, or Tiamak’s tentativeness. In many ways, they are totally different. War, and life, happens.

Even on a second or third read, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn doesn’t reveal itself until you start considering the work as a whole. It’s easy to dismiss it at any point along the way, especially before reaching the conclusion of the first volume.There’s a level of commitment required, but also a tremendous sense of accomplishment when you reach its conclusion. It’s certainly not light reading (figuratively or metaphorically), but it rewards perseverance. Watching its disparate threads pull together to form a stunning tapestry amid one of the most explosive endings in all of fantasy offers one of the finest experiences available to a genre reader.

...they're not wrong.

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As Aidan does not seem to post his awesome piece on MS&T here, I'll gladly do it for him:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/lasting-legacy-tad-williams-memory-sorrow-thorn/

It ends thus:

"On June 27, 2017, Williams returns to Osten Ard with The Witchwood Crown, the first volume in a new trilogy more than two decades in the making—The Last King of Osten Ard. Some 30 years after he first introduced readers to his rich fantasy world, Williams has a lot to live up to. Like his protagonists, Simon and Miriamele, readers have changed in the interim—grown up, become adults—and The Witchwood Crown is an exploration of how people and cultures adapt in the wake of world-shattering events. As thoughtful and inquisitive as anything Williams has written, it is a promising beginning to a new fantasy classic. But that’s a story for another time.“

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From tor.com:

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But what got me the most about this new one, the thing that felt the best, was not the book’s considerable literary merits but its power to muffle the outside world for the time it took me to read it.

 

Their review

"

 

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11 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

Lol, poor pat must be sitting in a dark room right now rocking and back in forth "I'm not insane...I'm not insane".

:P

Haha! Nah, he just didn't read the same book.

TJ West over at Queerly Different has just reviewed The Heart of What Was Lost. He writes, in part: " I do not say this lightly: Tad Williams is one of the most talented fantasy writers out there. It’s not just that his prose is exquisite to read (though it is that), but also that he manages to craft characters who are utterly compelling and who you are led to sympathize with, despite the fact that some of them are not even human." He'll be reviewing The Witchwood Crown soon.

Meanwhile, Larry over at Dusk Before the Dawn is already pointing out the new Binabikisms in The Witchwood Crown:

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The first Binabik-ism that I came across in The Witchwood Crown reads like a parallel to getting back into Osten Ard:

“My people are saying that to meet an old friend is like the finding of a welcoming campfire in the dark,” the little man said.

There's been a surge of reviews of The Witchwood Crown on Goodreads this week; 75 ratings, now, with the average being 4.4 stars (out of 5). Aside from Pat's review, the only negative review I see is a woman complaining about a woman's breasts being exposed in the book. But the other reviews look pretty solid.

Book reviewer Kat Hooper at FantasyLiterature.com says "I’m halfway through Tad Williams‘ The Witchwood Crown, a new book in his popular epic fantasy series MEMORY, SORROW, & THORN. which was published about 25 years ago. I am certain that Williams’ fans will be pleased with this one."  And book reviewer FantasticFiction.com calls The Witchwood Crown "a masterpiece". We'll see more reviews soon.

 

 

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