Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn: Still charming

book review Tad Williams Memory Sorrow and Thorn: 1. The Dragonbone Chair 2. Stone of Farewell 3. To Green Angel Tower Siege Stormbook review Tad Williams Memory Sorrow and Thorn: 1. The Dragonbone Chair 2. Stone of Farewell 3. To Green Angel Tower Siege Stormbook review Tad Williams Memory Sorrow and Thorn: 1. The Dragonbone Chair 2. Stone of Farewell 3. To Green Angel Tower Siege Stormbook review Tad Williams Memory Sorrow and Thorn: 1. The Dragonbone Chair 2. Stone of Farewell 3. To Green Angel Tower Siege Storm
book review Tad Williams Memory Sorrow and Thorn To Green Angel TowerMemory, Sorrow, and Thorn by Tad Williams

Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow, & Thorn trilogy was one of the first fantasy series I ever read and it’s still one of my favorites.

The writing style is very pleasant and the pace is slow enough to be savored, but characters actually accomplish things by the end of each book (you know what I mean).

The characters are well-developed and lovable  but not annoyingly perfect. This is a classic epic fantasy plot: Simon the kitchen boy saves the world. But please don’t roll your eyes — this was written in the 1980’s — before it was a cliché. Even though he’s now a cliché, Simon is still charming and you can’t help but love him.

Memory, Sorrow, & Thorn is on my list to read again, and along with Robin Hobb’s Farseer Saga, it’s the one I always recommend to newcomers to the genre.


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KAT HOOPER is a professor at the University of North Florida where she teaches neuroscience, psychology, and research methods courses. She occasionally gets paid to review scientific textbooks, but reviewing speculative fiction is much more fun. Kat lives with her husband and their children in Jacksonville Florida.

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8 comments

  1. Kevin /

    What a great book!! I’m new to the Fantasy Literature website and I read The Dragon Chair based on the recommendation on this site. The odds weren’t good I would like it. I wasn’t in the mood for a long epic with so many characters the author felt compelled to put an appendix in the back of the book.

    IMO what makes this book so incredible is Tad Williams masterful use of words. His descriptions and character building are fantastic. He took a very routine plot and made a masterpiece that flows extremely well.

    There are some stereotypical elements that make the book predictable. It has the map in the front of the book. It has trolls from a snowy, northern land with Eskimo-sounding names. Their northern neighbors are large warlike men with Nordic-sounding names. It’s a coming of age story with good vs evil. Nothing special or original here. But Tad Williams takes the routine and makes it something very special in The Dragon Bone Chair!!

  2. Hi Kevin,
    I feel the same way. It’s been many years since I read this (which is why the review is so short — I just can’t remember it well enough). I can’t wait to read it again. There has been talk for a few years about it being put on audio, so I’m waiting for that.

    Meanwhile, I just started a re-read of Robin Hobb’s TAWNY MAN trilogy (sequel to FARSEER) because it’s just come out on audio this month. I am really enjoying coming back to this world. If you love MST, I’d definitely suggest trying Robin Hobb’s FARSEER next.

    • Kevin /

      Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll put Farseer on my list. I’m in the middle of “The Rise of Endymion” by Dan Simmons (last book in his Hyperion Cantos) and I have Magician: Apprentice by Raymond Feist up next (another recommendation from this site). So many great books and so little time!!

      • I know, I know!
        That’s why we say “Life’s too short to read bad books!”

        • Kevin /

          I’m a high school teacher so I try to go full speed ahead during the summer break and read as many books as I can.

          • I’m a teacher, too, but I actually get LESS read in the summer because my kids are home. (And I teach some during the summer, too).

          • Any thoughts on Stone of Farewell? I just finished it and greatly enjoyed it. Not quite as outstanding as The Dragonbone Chair but very, very good.

  3. Hi Kevin, I loved it too, but it’s been so long since I read it. I can’t wait to read this again!!

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