The Witchwood Crown

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Thirty years ago, Tad Williams started his epic fantasy series, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, with The Dragonbone Chair. It was a rare series at the time, demanding the reader’s attention and patience unlike almost anything since The Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion. The Witchwood Crown takes place more than 30 years after the end of the first series, things have again reached a crisis again. All that had been settled is now breaking, and the Norns are back on the move, looking to conquer the lands their old lands, restarting their old conflict and bringing more war to the realm.

Williams is a patient writer, taking his time to build the setting, personalities, and events that are happening. It’s a big book, requiring a commitment of time, and maybe even a revisiting of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn to refresh the reader’s memory of what came before. But Williams also delivers what a 700-page book promises – an entertaining and thought-provoking book. The writing floats between humor and grand fantasy, which is fairly standard for Williams and keeps any reader turning the pages.

Williams may be one of the wordiest of the modern fantasy writers, competing with George RR Martin for the title, but Williams is often more personal than Martin. A death in Game of Thrones is often more expected, whereas in Williams’ universe, there is a deeper sense of loss. The Witchwood Crown is a commitment, probably a welcome one for readers of the original series, and maybe a looming hill for new ones, but both will find it rewarding. To a certain extent, I envy a new reader that has never entered the land of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. If you’ve grown up on GRRM, Joe Abercrombie or Steven Erikson, Williams will be an interesting treat. Two decades of rest from the initial series, Williams has changed, I don’t want to say grown. But while there is a similarity to his earlier writing, Witchwood also is different. It’s like catching up with an old friend after many years. You still recognize them, but you find new things to learn about them.

The Witchwood Crown is now out in paperback and offers readers a long, enjoyable return to the Dragonbone Chair.

Chris Hayden

Chris Hayden been working at City Book Review since 2012, so that makes him the keeper of knowledge. He manages the office and book reviewers (all 200 of them!), which is no small feat. If you’re looking at the book reviews here, you’re seeing them because he sent the books out for review. Without him, this place would fall apart, because no one else in the office knows how to use the postage machine. Two words: job security.


Reviewed By:

Author Tad Williams
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 736 pages
Publisher DAW
Publish Date 2018-May-01
ISBN 9780756414399
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue November 2018
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy
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