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Memory Sorrow And Thorn

by Tad Williams

2 avg rating
Book 28 of 445 in the Best Fantasy Books
958 votes 6 comments

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.

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WRA | 2012-11-15 09:59:59
I read this series when I was in law school sixteen years ago and was very accustom to reviewing tedious writing. However, these books were like chewing nails. Sure, there is world building and characterization, but ultimately the series goes no where. In fact, I recall that I guessed the ending when I was making myself finish reading book one. Based upon the above, you no doubt guessed that I do not think this series deserves to be anywhere on this list. The overrated list would be more appropriate in my opinion.
Anonymous | 2012-12-05 12:52:18
I made the mistake of listening to this list, and reading this series, and let me say... it was a mistake, and one of the biggest wastes of time I've ever read (yeah, I finished all four books angrily as I just wanted to know how the dumb thing ended). So I'm copying and pasting the review I wish I'd read BEFORE I picked this series up. HEED THE WARNING!! "I really am surprised this series is so popular. It took me three tries to get through all three books, and I'm no stranger to the long fantasy series. (I've read all of the current Jordans and RR Martins, read Goodkind and Hobb, etc., all of which are far more engaging.) The first book starts achingly slow, and it stays that way pretty much through all 3000 some pages. That said, the story of the boy-who-becomes-a-man never pays out. I kept reading and waiting for Simon to transform from the goofy star-eyed boy into a man with a little bit of guts. Instead he remains indecisive and over emotional throughout, with no real growth, and constantly acting on impulse. Williams then tacks on the happy ending when all is said and done, and poof suddenly Simon is a man, despite having never done anything even remotely adult-like, let alone king-like. Which brings me to another point. Williams fooled me at the beginning of the book with his warning for the reader not to assume he knows the ending. So I kept reading thinking he was going to surprise me with some crazy twists and turns, but the story remains linear throughout. I never once said 'Wow, didn't see THAT coming.' And let's talk about over-use of devices. He constantly uses dream sequences to foreshadow and lend a sense of evil foreboding, but it gets old quick, and Simon, who is afflicted with the most dreams, never even learns how to use them effectively. Williams just keeps on throwing in dreams again and again as if to say BEWAAAARE, but there are only so many times you can listen to someone whispering WOOOOOOH in a scary voice before you get annoyed. Not to mention all the tiring scenes underground beneath the castle, lost in the dark, oh I'm going to die, I can't remember my name, are those ghosts over there or have I gone mad. God just hurry up and tell me something that moves the story just one little foot forward. A famous writer once said that every word should count. This is definitely not true here. Fans of this series will say that every scene is necessary to progress the characters, but as I hinted before, none of the characters undergo any significant change, especially not the main character. They're all static for thousands of pages. And of course there is the great amorphous evil that never does ANYTHING. This story could have been told in 1000 pages. Save your time. There are plenty of gripping and well told fantasy stories out there, like Stephen King's Gunslinger series, George Martin's Ice and Fire series, etc. Williams' series is like wading through smelly mud, which only makes the ending worse because you put so much time into a tired story that the climax would have to be the best climax in recorded history to make it worthwhile, which it's certainly not. " By D. Cal "Tamer of Whale-Nosed Paddle Donkeys"
Anonymous | 2013-03-05 11:23:15
A classic in the shadow of Tolkien but paced like a snail moving a brick across a desert. Some people like that, it makes them feel more amerced for those who don't there are other thing out there.
Anonymous | 2013-07-09 05:33:42
If you've been pounded into insensitivity by decades of rap and heavy metal, if you think violence, death, hopelessness, brutality, are "the real world", then you won't like this. Me, I think it's one of the few series I've found in the last twenty odd years worth reading.
Anonymous | 2014-05-26 11:59:22
Its the series Martin rupped off when he made a song of ice and fire, and Martin doesnt hold a candle to the brilliance of Williams
Anonymous | 2016-02-08 10:39:38
really brilliant series, but you have to read all the stuff as it is reeeeeaaaaally slow paced. definitively one of the best series out there.
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