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To Green Angel Tower, Part 2
Memory, Sorrow and Thorn (3b)
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The second part of To Green Angel Tower brings Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn to a stunning and thrilling finish. The book begins with the Norn attack on Josua's camp and Simon & Miriamele's quest to the Hayholt, directly where it left off in Part 1 giving a "sense of continuity" of the overall novel. The story arcs of the various second tier characters were either ended or brought into the main story before the last quarter of the book so as to concentrate on the major climactic siege of the Hayholt and the supernatural battle on top the aforementioned Green Angel Tower.
By the last quarter of the book every living character, save one, has made their way to the Hayholt through a variety of paths. It is only then that all of them start realizing that they had been tricked by the Storm King and the Norns, including their human allies Elias and Pryates though the later had tried to cage his supernatural ally himself. The Storm King's defeat is not through strength of arms, but on empathy towards the great antagonist at the right time that stymies his return to mortal plane. The resolution to the great crisis is a unique twist that one doesn't see coming along, but given the one who expresses the empathy it goes well with that character's development throughout the book.
There were some issues I did have while reading that I have to mention, the first of which was the pace at the beginning of the book. To Green Angel Tower was originally published whole in hardcover so one would assume that Part 2 would feel just like a continuation, but the beginning of Part 2 reads and feels like it is a different book entirely. I mentioned in the first paragraph that Part 2 began where Part 1 left off to give a "sense of continuity" but it doesn't read that way especially as one continues on through Part 2. It seems that To Green Angel Tower is actually two books in one that were pressed in the original publication so as to have the "trilogy" but the series would have been better served as a tetralogy when originally published. The second was trying to keep the various timelines straight of the various storylines, especially as they started interconnecting with one another and which sometimes was maddening trying to remember what another character was doing somewhere else at the time.
Overall, To Green Angel Tower Part 2 was a fantastic finish to a memorable series. Not withstanding my feeling that the series should be a tetralogy and my other minor issue, this is a series that any fantasy fan must read because of how Williams brought something new to the genre over a quarter of a century ago and inspired several other authors to bring their ideas forward with his success. So consider Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn as well as this book recommended.
| Nov 2, 2013 |
MEMORY, SORROW AND THORN
| May 28, 2011 |
The last from the four book series which sees the conclusion to the fight for Hayholt.
The siege of Hayholt brings all the main characters together to try and save the kingdom in more ways than one.
The swords which were seen by the rebels as a souce of hope turns to be something entirely different. Miramele reaches her father but finds that her please fall on death ears and the control that Pyrates thought he had becomes quickly noticeable as not being strong enough.
Who will succeed? Shall the alliance of the fairy people, trolls and the Princes rebels win over the Storm King? And who will end up as the King at the end.....Josua? Elias?
A great finale to the series with a few good twists and turns even to the end. You think at the last one of the main characters is dead to find.......ah now that would spoil wouldn't it ;-)
As much as I enjoyed this book - the last 100 pages took time to read. Only because I limited myself to make it last longer.
| Apr 25, 2011 |
Loved, loved, loved it! I now have all the books in this series. Love Tad Williams.
| Apr 18, 2010 |
Next on the list is the fantasy trilogy by Tad Williams. This author's debut novel, Tailchaser's Song was quite well received. It was similar to Watership Down in terms of being an animal story, in this case cats, that involves dialogue and a certain amount of animal society, but without completely anthropomorphizing the critters. I thought it was okay, but not worth acquiring.
Then Williams came out with The Dragonbone Chair. Friends of mine attended a convention where Michael Whelan was a guest artist, and they were kind enough to get me a prepublication copy signed by my favorite cover artist (still is, but I am apathetic these days). I read this story and was blown away. I was similarly impressed with the rest of the trilogy (itself called Memory, Sorrow and Thorn): Stone of Farewell and To Green Angel Tower. It remains among my all-time fantasy favorites and I reread it at regular intervals (as it's appearance in this list demonstrates).
Keep in mind that at the time I was well into my period of swearing off fantasy, since I was sick and tired of repetitive knock-offs built around medieval European cultural elements and generally being Tolkein derivatives. And this book has all of the classic fantasy tropes: a small band of heroes who begin separately but come together for a good cause, an evil threatening the land, a quest to save the world so lots of moving around the landscape fleeing bad guys and seeking the key to defeating evil, battles, the inevitable romance, and happy ending. And it has all of the standard fantasy characters: a hero of humble origins who turns out to be more than first appears, a wise old mentor who guides our heroes and has some share of magic, princesses in disguise, elves, dragons.
It is also entertaining to match up the cultures that appear in the book to the real-world inspirations. The elves and the Norns are clearly inspired by Asian cultures (Japanese probably, among others). The Rimmersmen are Vikings, the Hernystiri are Welsh (or maybe more generic Celts), the Thrithings are horse-riding nomads (Scythians? Mongols? more of an eastern European feel), the Erkynlanders are Anglo-Saxon, the Nabbanai are Italian/Holy Roman Empire, with Perdruin being Sicily, the Wrannamen may be Irish or another marsh-based culture, but I tend to think more of the bayous of the American South (perhaps the Seminoles?), and the Yiqanuc trolls are like the Inuit or perhaps the Sherpas in the Himalayas. Now that I'm writing it all down, the fact is that all of the humans in this story are white, and any people of color are represented by nonhuman cultures. And of course there's no black folk here.
While this trilogy has all of the standard, well-trodden features, many that can be correlated directly to The Lord of the Rings, it is still original and fresh, perhaps because in many ways it subverts the standard tropes, and perhaps the many, many secondary characters that provide dimensions and depth and bring the world and its many cultures to life. The narrative is filled with stories and songs, and the characters speak in a range of dialects reflecting their cultural differences. The dialogue is quite good, as is the prose in general, and the character development. It is, ultimately, a very long coming-of-age story, as a teenager matures into manhood and learns wisdom in the process of surviving many harrowing crises. It is also a meditation on love, loss, grief, despair, sacrifice, longing for peace/annhilation/the end of existence, honor, legends, human limits, and all of that good, big stuff.
| Sep 13, 2009 |
Finally the series concludes, and it's a pretty good conclusion, though perhaps a little too neat. The big fight scene leaves so many questions unanswered that there's a rather long epilogue section, but it does tie it all together nicely.
I think Cadrach and Guthwulf are probably some of the more interesting characters in the story, through being more 3-dimensional than some of the others. And there are some good thoughts about the nature of redemption, and on whether magical quest artefacts really are what you think they are. Overall though nothing takes away from the fact that the whole series is one big fantasy romp, and if you like that sort of thing it's rather good fun, and if not the best of its kind it's a long way from being the worst.
| May 7, 2009 |
The exciting conclusion to the memory, sorrow and thorn trillogy.
It truely was a trillogy when I read it, with Green Angel Tower being just one book. Splitting it was dissapointing, making it harder to get hold of all of the series.
| Feb 26, 2009 |
This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I read it in two sections, with two other short books falling in between. I don’t think it hurt the story any though. The interplay between Simon and Miriamele was fantastic. I was amazed by Williams’ descriptions of kissing or touching for the first time. The second half of the book really drew me in and I had a hard time putting it down. The ending left a little bit to be desired. There was so much build-up throughout the whole 2,000 page series and then the end was just rushed through. I had a very hard time visualizing all the magic and sorcery as Williams describes it at the climax. There were a lot of twists to the plot as it neared the end though, and I enjoyed that thoroughly.
| May 7, 2008 |
After those on the side of good, e.g. not the Storm King and his
servants work out the whole deal with the three powerful swords, there
must come a final reckoning, especially after so many pages already.
Guess what though, this does have princesses, as well as the
dragon. Here, one needs rescuing, and one is crazy, there is still a
war to be won and nonhumans to deal with.
| Dec 15, 2006 |
A breathtaking and amazing conclusion to an epic. I've loved all three parts, but just couldn't stop reading this last one. It's brilliant how Williams brings all threads together and how well it works.
This trilogy ranks among my favorite works of fantasy.
| May 18, 2006 |
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