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Shadowmarch, book 4: Shadowheart by Tad…
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Shadowmarch, book 4: Shadowheart (original 2010; edition 2012)

by Tad Williams

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3431231,955 (3.94)10
Member:wikkyd
Title:Shadowmarch, book 4: Shadowheart
Authors:Tad Williams
Info:DAW No. 1526
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:pb-fantasy

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Shadowheart by Tad Williams (2010)

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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
I started this book early last year, and finished part one on the day I went into labour with Matthew. It has taken me very nearly a year, but the other three parts are now finished too! As epic fantasy series go this one definitely gets quite epic at times, with most of the book building up to an enormous battle with a god which feels like it can only end in doom. Of course it doesn't (they rarely do) but finding out exactly how and why is half the fun. The only issue with reading a series so slowly is you get less of a feel for how the characters and story evolve, for it's all too easy to forget what happened in the first chapters, never mind the previous three books! I don't think I see myself re-reading this one in future, but it has been a good investment if my time. And now I just need to decide what to read next!

Oops, checking on librarything it seems it was book 3 I was reading during labour, and I have only been reading this one since September! I think my comments stand though. ( )
  lnr_blair | Mar 15, 2014 |
Maybe it's because I came to Shadowheart directly from its dull predecessor, [b:Shadowrise|6661489|Shadowrise (Shadowmarch, #3)|Tad Williams|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1275672505s/6661489.jpg|6856262], but I found this book slow to start. Happily, after a hundred or so pages, the pace picks up as things start happening. Sadly, it bogs down again in the last hundred pages.

Williams brings together a lot of the loose ends in this book, in a moderately satisfying way. However, there is also frustration - for example when Chert Blue Quartz comes up with a bright idea to save the day, but we aren't told what it is. Since the idea is a fairly obvious one, it quickly becomes irritating to have the text dance constantly around it - for hundreds of pages. Williams does make some interesting choices with Barrick, but much of the ending is fairly predictable.

As Williams' first series drew heavily on Tolkien-style epics, the end of this series draws on Greek mythology, with a little Christianity thrown in. To my mind, it added little but complication. There's a lot to be done with surprise and disappointment about the nature of the gods, but Williams, after approaching the idea, backs away.

Much more disappointing was the treatment of the Qar. After being fairly flat in [b:Shadowmarch|28694|Shadowmarch (Shadowmarch, #1)|Tad Williams|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1290856030s/28694.jpg|832564] and [b:Shadowplay|28687|Shadowplay (Shadowmarch, #2)|Tad Williams|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1348023538s/28687.jpg|1003656], the Qar finally made a genuine showing in [b:Shadowrise|6661489|Shadowrise (Shadowmarch, #3)|Tad Williams|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1275672505s/6661489.jpg|6856262]. I had great hopes for them in Shadowheart. Williams set them up as a great tragic race, had me just waiting to have my heart broken, ... and then sort of wandered on to other things. He created a great opportunity and then made the least of it. I wish I could say that he simply implied the tragedy with some subtlety, but I don't think that's it, or if it is, it didn't work.

I give the book three stars because the action is much improved from book 3, and because of the potential of the Qar. Nonetheless, I continue to think that had books 3 and 4 our been condensed into one, the series as a whole would have been much stronger. Overall, the series comes out decent, but because of the slow finish (in books 3 and 4, and the end of book 4), it's hard to recommend. I'd say stick with [b:Otherland|28695|City of Golden Shadow (Otherland, #1)|Tad Williams|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1329075235s/28695.jpg|1570074] and go no further. ( )
  BMorrisAllen | May 14, 2013 |
I have been looking forward to the conclusion of this series for a long time. Unfortunately, now that it has arrived, I'm not sure what to say about it. All of the great forces and players have arrived at Southmarch Castle for the final confrontation, and possibly the end of the world! Unfortunately its not really clear what horrible fate they are trying to avoid. The conclusion is certainly unexpected, but I really can't say it was either surprising or satisfying.
The characters are engaging, the writing is clear and enjoyable to read, I'm just not sure the story is all that much different from William's previous books. To put this series anywhere near the Otherland or Memory, Sorry and Thorn series wouldn't be right. Its good, just not that good. ( )
  Karlstar | Jan 13, 2013 |
I found this a satisfying end to the series. The major plot points all converge but everything isn’t neatly tied up. Looking forward to some more Williams. ( )
  janepriceestrada | Jan 9, 2013 |
I finally finished the series! While I enjoyed it greatly, I feel like one of the characters, like I've been through an experience I never thought I'd live long enough to survive.

Having said that, I did care about the characters long enough to see what happened to them. But the Otherland series was better, and maybe even Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. ( )
  birv2 | Jul 21, 2012 |
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Our children Connor and Devon still think that getting a grown-up book dedicated to them instead of one of our more kid-oriented books is kind of a rip-off. I told them that one day they will be grown-ups just like us, but they refuse to believe anything so horrid and unfair could happen to such nice children.

(It'll be fun watching them learn better. Actually, it'll be fun watching them no matter what.) Remember, you wonderful beasts, we love you hugely--but don't make me come back there.
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Something is awakening underneath Southmarch Castle, something powerful and terrible that the world has not seen for thousands of years. Can its young defenders Barrick and Briony, along with a tiny handful of allies, ordinary and extraordinary, find a way to save their world and prevent the rise of a terrible new age--an age of unending darkness?… (more)

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