‘Shadowplay’ By Tad Williams

Point number one, Williams’ writing is not relentlessly grim, but his books are far too grim, at least, for the writer to go by ‘Tad.’ It’s just weird.

Second, I think I have merely transferred my bibliomaniacal tendencies to buy books towards checking them out from the library. Books on hold are being made available faster than I can read them (and certainly, fatherhood has slowed down my reading – a nearly seven year old, precocious, and active adopted child does not lend itself to quiet contemplation, though the trade off is certainly worthwhile). I had to renew this book once and I feel like the other two borrowed books in my possession will not be done before they are due. And I have more in the queue. We all have problems. This one, I suppose, is not even the worst of mine.

The level of ‘high fantasy’ – magic and monsters and the like – is higher than before. In fact, this series is actually, pretty textbook high fantasy, but it feels like it isn’t, because there is a certain grimness running through it.

I miss the realpolitik of the first volume, but it did a decent job of fleshing out the world and making the threats faced by the ‘good guys’ (two of whom are actually girls; arguably to primary protagonist is a self-possessed adolescent girl) more three dimensional than before.

But I still don’t feel one hundred percent convinced, though his writing is good enough, clearly, that I have now read five books by him (in two series).

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