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Book Review: The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams

Book Review: The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams

The Dragonbone Chair, the first volume of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, was published in hardcover in October, 1988, launching the series that was to become one of the seminal works of modern epic fantasy. Many of today’s top-selling fantasy authors, from Patrick Rothfuss to George R. R. Martin to Christopher Paolini credit Tad with being the inspiration for their own series.

Now, twenty-four years after the conclusion of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, Tad returns to his beloved universe and characters with The Witchwood Crown, the first novel in the long-awaited sequel trilogy, The Last King of Osten Ard.

More than thirty years have passed since the events of the earlier novels, and the world has reached a critical turning point once again. The realm is threatened by divisive forces, even as old allies are lost, and others are lured down darker paths. Perhaps most terrifying of all, the Norns—the long-vanquished elvish foe—are stirring once again, preparing to reclaim the mortal-ruled lands that once were theirs...

My thoughts:

I remember when I picked up the first volume of Williams’ epic fantasy series, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. This was not William’s first work (the first was Tailchaser’s Song published in 1985 and also a very good story) but it became one of my favorite books and series of all time and he became one of my favorite authors. Although this is not his first return to Orsten Ard, as he briefly return with The Heart of What Was Lost early this year (a novel that answers some questions about what happened after the events in the To Green Angel Tower and sets up this novel), he returns to the iconic realm of Osten Ard with the stunning first installment of a new sequel trilogy.

Set approximately 30 years after the conclusion of To Green Angel Tower, the story begins at a fast pace and never lets up. In reality it forced me to choose between sleep and putting the book down. I chose to lose sleep.  Although I could spend a large number of words describing a well written, flawless narrative, with well developed characters, and multiple story lines, I feel it important to express how good it was to once again visit the kingdom of Orsten Ard and the people who, when I was younger, I considered friends and still do.  Williams’ return to Orsten Ard was a welcomed reunion and did justice to the previous books. Once again I found myself emotionally invested in the characters and swept along on a grand adventure I did not want to end. If you have never read the originals you should add them immediately to your must read books and follow them by reading this book. If you have read the original books you will not be let down reading this one.  Williams has once again outdone himself and his epic mastery as word smith are on full display here.

Reviews by other authors:

"Inspired me to write my own seven-book trilogy.... It’s one of my favorite fantasy series." —George R. R. Martin, New York Times-bestselling author of A Song of Ice and Fire
"Groundbreaking.... Changed how people thought of the genre, and paved the way for so much modern fantasy. Including mine." —Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times-bestselling author of The Name of the Wind

"Tad Williams is a master storyteller, and the Osten Ard books are his masterpiece. Williams’ return to Osten Ard is every bit as compelling, deep, and fully-rendered as the first trilogy, and he continues to write with the experience and polish of an author at the top of his game." —Brandon Sanderson, New York Times-bestselling author of Mistborn

The Witchwood Crown Book Review

About the Author:

Tad Williams is a California-based fantasy superstar.  His genre-creating (and genre-busting) books have sold tens of millions worldwide. His works include the worlds of Otherland, Shadowmarch, and Osten Ard—including the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, and The Last King of Osten Ard series—as well as standalone novels Tailchaser’s Song and The War of the Flowers. His considerable output of epic fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, comics, and more have strongly influenced a generation of writers.  Tad and his family live in the Santa Cruz mountains in a suitably strange and beautiful house. He can be found at or on Twitter at @tadwilliams.

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