What Took You So Long?

Now for the reading post you’ve been eagerly awaiting…

The Memory, Sorry and Thorn trilogy by Tad Williams
Grade: C+

I should have known from the get-go that it was a bad idea to read this trilogy. It’s just too damned long.

The Dragonbone Chair: 765 p.
Stone of Farewell: 569 p.
To Green Angel Tower: 1066 p.

Trilogy Grand Total: 2400 pages

But length is only a problem when the series is bad (I wouldn’t shorten Harry Potter or LOTR, would you?). It took me so long to acquire all three of the books for this series that I felt obligated to read them. I checked the online reviews before I started. They were positive, so I took the plunge. Yes, I allowed myself to be misled again by online reviews. So sad.

It didn’t take much reading to find other ominous signs: a servant boy as the main character, names containing apostrophes, names of things that are familiar but slightly different from real life (like the month called “Novander”). But I persisted and actually started to enjoy the book by its end. I paid much more attention in the second book but was ultimately disappointed. The third book almost killed me. I never would have finished had I not skimmed through large sections.

The story starts with a teenage kitchen boy who is always getting into trouble. Meanwhile a dark power is rising and only the union of the three great magic swords can save the world. Naturally, the boy leaves home, finds the swords, alters the fate of the entire world, and in the process becomes a man. You’d think he could have done that within half the page count.

On average I read about a page per minute. That means I spent something like 40 hours on this trilogy. That’s like the average person’s workweek so it doesn’t seem like a lot of time. But imagine how you’d feel if you reached the end of your life and were miraculously granted an additional 40 hours. You could live a whole lifetime in 40 hours if that was all you had. You could change the world for real within 40 hours.

Maybe changing the world is a lot to ask from 40 hours, but I think I could have done more with my time. So could you, so I can’t recommend this trilogy.

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3 Responses to What Took You So Long?

  1. Oh, woe! I’m sorry it frustrated you so. I’ve had that response with really great fantasy too, notably, TLOTR, which when I read it in the 70s (god I’m ancient) depressed the hell out of me. But I lived in England then and its 2nd world-war terrors were actually pretty real and too vivid.

    Yeah, I have to say I’m biased, being Tad’s publsiherslashwifeslashmanager, I mean, I called it really great fantasy in that paragraph above. But it is at least clever and involving and in places, exceptionally powerful.

    OK, you just caught me on a night when I was trawling the web. Best wishes (even if you don’t like our books, she pouts) —

    And I know very well what it is to have frustrations with works that are long.

  2. chick says:

    Hi, Deborah. Thanks for reading my post and taking the time to comment. Of course, I feel a little guilty. Had I known you were going to stop by, I would have mentioned some of the things that I liked about the books, too. It’s easy to get caught up in the negative sometimes.

    But it’s the time of year for thinking positive, so here’s a positive thought—Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  3. Pingback: Blue-Footed Musings » Blog Archive » Less Love, More Mockery

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