Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn or Shadowmarch?


Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2007
I was wondering one thing. I am reading The War of The Flowers and enjoying it.

I was thinking about reading his other series.

Before you mention Otherland, i have it already and are saving it for later, i wanna read his fantasy at the moment.

So i was wondering which of two other series is better or you would recommend to me? Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn or Shadowmarc?

Sorry if i sound too noobish but i am enjoying his writing in the Flowers and wanted to read his fantasy series.
From everything I've heard, the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series is his best.
I personally haven't read it, as I'm already in the process of reading three books, but will get to it sometime this month.
M,S,&T is also a complete set, whereas Shadowmarch is only the first in a Trilogy. The second is Shadowplay, which was only released this year and therfore only available ina big, expensive hardcover. In addition to this, the third installment in the Shadow trilogy is probably a good two years off. While this doesn't bother me, really, as I'm already waiting for 4+ books to come out in different series`, I do know that lots of people hate the waiting and would rather wait.
All of that said, I've read Shadowmarch and thoroughly enjoyed it. I've also heard that Shadowplay is even better, but haven't picked it up yet due to the size and price.
Not very helpful, but just my two cents.
Good luck, and I'm sure that whichever you choose will be well worth it.
Isnt the series called Shadowmarch too, i think wiki said that?
I haven't read Shadowmarch but I would strongly recommend MS & T. Even by fantasy standards it is an epic (i.e. long) read but worthwhile.
memory, sorrow thorn hands down. even tho the ending annoyed me a fair bit, i found the shadowmarch stuff just not inspiring in any way. i didn't care about anyone the way i did simon and his friends. *shrug*
Another vote for Memory, Thorn and Sorrow. In my case, it's because I haven't read the other one yet, but I did enjoy it.
Since its so one sided, the choice is made very easy. Thanks guys!

You know i am not used to reading huge fantasy books and Tad is all about that. Most of the fantasy i have read before was heroic fantasy and books that are tops 500 pages.

So when i see i am on page 300, it means to me i am close to the end usually but with Tad thats about in the middle of the story:p

Which is why i dont like slow paced fantasy, cause they have to slow down the story to write more which bores me if the writer isnt good enough.

Tad isnt fast paced exactly but he keeps you hooked in even in the slow parts of the story which has happened to me before in a fantasy. I usually get annoyed and angry the writer not writing good enough when its slow.
While I would put the Memory, Sorrow, Thorn series as one of my all time favorite series I also liked Shadowmarch a lot, in fact I think by the time Tad finishes his new series it will surpass the MS&T series.

I have said this before and I will say it again. If Lord of the Rings had never been written and instead it was the Memory, Sorrow, Thorn series then the fantasy genre would not have suffered in any way because of it. It remains one of my favorite stories ever, and I don't see that ever changing.
I certainly enjoyed Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, Connavar. However, for me Otherland was no where near as good, luckily I had only borrowed it from the Library. Shadowmarch wasn't too bad and I am hoping that Shadowplay will be better.
I read so much fantasy in my younger days, that I became somewhat sick of most of the generic types, them being far to clique. These days, I stick to authors who are unique in some aspect (Moorcock being my favourite).

I refined my collection, only keeping favourite books and authors, and only in hardback. Out of all the fantasy series, I kept two. They were lord of the rings, and memory sorrow and thorn. I'm convinced that Tad Williams, next to Tanith Lee, is probably the most underated author (let alon fantasist) today.

Remarkably, I've yet to read the whole series. I purchased dragonbone chair when it was first released (1989 or 88, can't remember), eagerly awaited the second installment, and then had to wait ages for the third, only to find it was volume 3 part 1 :D . I decided not to buy it and await for the second part. In the meantime I had a change of reading taste and moved away from fantasy, never to finish the series.

I stumbled across the hardback of green angel tower on the weekend (for £2!), and also the hardback of dragonbone chair (for £3!). So, last night I started reading it over, and I'm so glad I kept Tad Williams in my colection.

As soon as this is done, I'll be purchasing his other fantasy titles that I missed over the last ten years.
M,S &T is many cuts above Shadowmarch, which has sofar been a very disappointing series.
I thought Shadwomarch to date was pretty good but M,S, & T is probably his best work to date.
I was having a conversation with some friends in another forum who were begging me to read Martin's A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE books because they love them so much, but then they were alternately agonizing over their unfinished state and the long wait between releases.

Since I don't have a lot of reading experience in the fantasy genre, but quite a bit of interest, I was intrigued by the scope and alledged quality of these books. But I honestly don't think I would be happy if I read the ones that are out, and then had to sit on my hands for another three years waiting for the next installment.

On the other hand, since I am a reader of science fiction, and I greatly enjoyed the OTHERLAND books by Tad Williams, as well as THE WAR OF THE FLOWERS (the only true fantasy book that I've read), I've decided to give MEMORY, SORROW and THORN a try. I've heard excellent things about the books both in here and elsewhere.

Even though SHADOWMARCH looks very interesting, and I think Williams is a superb writer, the finished series I think is the way to go. Granted, many people might not care if one is finished and another is not, but many of them are also big readers of fantasy and might be in the middle of more than one series by more than one author.

So for someone in my position, that being a total newb to the genre, I think this is the way to go. Any thoughts on this or other recommendations from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

And I'm terribly sorry for not stopping in for such a long time since joining, but I've been very busy this summer and nearly forgot that I had registered here.
M,S,&T is the only thing that I have read so far of his, but I fell in love with it. I am not sure what I will end up reading next.
Just started Shadowmarch and it hasn't grabbed me like MS&T did, but will persevere with it :)
m s &t all the way for me. War of the Flowers is an outstanding single-volume fantasy, but i remember bugging my library for weeks for each volume of M s & t because it was that good.
and today i've just picked up the whole lot in Oxfam for £2 each!

rapturous joy!

*Blows dust off long dormant thread...hack, choke, cough...where's my HEPA filter!*

I love Tad Williams' stuff. Let me make that abundantly clear before I say anything else. While I still need to read his solo efforts, I have read MS&T and Otherland to their conclusions, and the first two Shadow books as well.

Memory, Sorrow and Thorn was an impossible act to follow. For anyone. I don't care who you are, if you're the author, you're just not topping that series. He takes just enough time in The Dragonbone Chair to introduce you to the world, and from there it's one long roller coaster ride of plot twists and conflict depiction. Couldn't put any of these books down.

In many respects, it's probably good that he wandered off into Otherland. I purchased all the Otherland books, and read them all, too, but it many places it was a struggle. The images he created were on par with anything from the Fantasy books, but character development, like the characters in the plot, often seemed lost, only giving us insight into each at a snail's pace.

Otherland did one good thing, I think: It probably gave him the right amount of time to retool for the Shadow books. I like the Shadow books in their own right, but even if the third book (Shadowrise) comes out and is spectacular, it still won't bring the series into the same league as MS&T, IMHO.

So, if there are any others out there still wondering which of his Fantasy series to read first, The Dragonbone Chair, The Stone of Farewell, and To Green Angel Tower are your best bet.
I have read only 2 of Tads books, the Dragon bone chair and the Stone of farewell.
I couldn't bring myself to read the last one in the series, after reading DGs work this was tedious in places, like Simon's many paged escape through the dungeons/catacombs, i cant remember how many pages it took him to get out the other side, but even one page was to long.
The the same stuff again as he searched for the sidhe city.
I will say, Tad showed a lot of promise plot wise and if you skip past the meandering psychedelic babble there is plenty of meat and plot twists.
But also some of the side plots do not meet up to there expectations and fizzle out.

I hope i have not offended any one with these comments, i was 21 when i got these books must be 18 years ago, approx. Maybe a re-read is due.

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