You have entered the realm of a writer.

Welcome to A Writer's Landscape!

You have entered the realm of my mind where words play with the fabric of our existence. This is the map of my imagination: the very foundations of inspiration, musing, and thought splayed for your wandering eyes. Dive deep into the tides of these forces and experience my reality, my fantasy, my world; and if you should be so inclined, share your words with this land.

Peace and Love!

J Hart F

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"Shadowmarch" by Tad Williams

This is my first experience with Tad Williams' writing. The beauty of his creativity and prose are absolutely wonderful, easily matched by his characterization and relationships. However, an overdrawn plot takes away from the magnificence that could have been in this novel. Nevertheless, if a wonderful, creative story is what is desired, Shadowmarch is certainly the right book to pick up, regardless of the length. Don't expect to feel a fast paced plot or action sequences in this novel.

Shadowmarch follows four different plots, which, in the beginning, seem to be closely related. For the most part, three of the four are very closely related, but the fourth prepares the audience for the sequel: Shadowplay. The intertwining of these plots creates exciting cliffhangers between the stories, but the cliffhangers were typically meaningless and ended up as small points in the overall story. This reiterates my main point: read this novel for the beauty and creativity that Williams certainly spent much time harvesting for the audience, for you!

A prime example of this wonder is found on page 365:

"I knew one like you once." Some tone was in the voice that he almost recognized, but in the end the emotion was too strange to grasp. "Long he stayed with me until his own sun had worn away. In the end he could not remain." As the face loomed closer it seemed charged with moonlight. Vansen wanted to close his eyes but could not. For a brief instant he thought eh could see her clearly, although what or who he was seeing he couldn't entirely understand--a beauty like the edge of a knife, black eyes that were somehow full of light like the night sky full of stars, an infinitely sad smile--yet during that moment it also felt as though a chilly hand had tightened on his heart, squeezing it into an awkward shape from which it would never completely recover. He was gripped as though by death itself ... but death was fair, so very fair. Ferras Vansen's soul leaped toward the dark eyes, toward the stars of her gaze, like a salmon climbing a mountain rill, not caring whether death was at the end of it.

"Do not look for the sun, mortal." He thought there was something like pity in the words and he was dashed. He didn't want pity--he wanted to be loved. He wanted only to die being loved by this creature of vapor and moonlight. "The sun will not come to you here. Neither can the shadows be trusted to tell you anything but lies. Look instead to the moss on the trees. The roots of the trees are in the earth, and they know where the sun is, always, even in this land where his brother is the only lord."

Such writing exists throughout the entire novel and continuously brings the beauty of literature to life. And this, above all else, is why Shadowmarch should be read!

The lengthy plot takes a long while to get started. After reading about 130 pages, excitement finally occurs. Before this point, build up of character's personalities and hidden secrets seems to be alive in the words on the page, but action is far removed until about 130 pages in. From that point on, little moments of thrill come, but rising action doesn't appear until about page 600 or so. By this point in the story, I was pretty much done reading the long, imaginative story; but its beauty kept me going (and the fact that I had already invested so much time).


Now the climax, I must say with all honesty, was very disappointing. Three hundred pages of build-up for a war that doesn't commence, in my opinion, is extremely disappointing. The climax itself seems a set-up for the next book in the series! My opinion is a book should stand alone, even if its part of a series. Completion is critical for a reader to be satisfied with the outcome of a novel, and this book seems to only complete one of the four storylines. Don't read this novel with a hope for an exciting climax with a set finish.

All in all, I do recommend this book if you're looking for a novel to read that is full of beautiful prose and great, creative and new ideas of creatures, magic, and alternate realities.

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