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Shadowheart: Shadowmarch: Volume IV

Shadowheart: Shadowmarch: Volume IV

Written by Tad Williams

Narrated by Dick Hill


Shadowheart: Shadowmarch: Volume IV

Written by Tad Williams

Narrated by Dick Hill

ratings:
4/5 (26 ratings)
Length:
33 hours
Released:
Nov 30, 2010
ISBN:
9781441891242
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Thousands of years ago the gods fought and fell in the deeps beneath what is now Southmarch Castle, then were banished into eternal sleep. Now at least one of them is stirring again, dreaming of vengeance against humankind.
Southmarch haunts the dreams of men as well as gods. Royal twins Barrick and Briony Eddon, the heirs of Southmarch's ruling family, are hurrying back home as well: Barrick now carries the heritage of the immortal Qar inside him, and Briony has a small army at her back and a fiery determination to recover her father's throne and revenge herself on the usurpers.

The cruel and powerful southern ruler known as the Autarch of Xis wants the power of the gods for his own, a power he can only gain if he conquers Southmarch.

And nobody knows what the Qar want, only that the mysterious fairy - folk are prepared to die for it - or to kill every living thing in Southmarch Castle and in all the lands around.

It will come to an apocalyptic conclusion on Midsummer Night, when the spirits of the haunted past and the desperate struggles of the present come together in one great final battle. Many will die. Many more will be transformed out of all recognition, and the world will be forever changed.
Released:
Nov 30, 2010
ISBN:
9781441891242
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

Tad Williams is the New York Times bestselling author of some fourteen books for adults, which have been translated into twenty-three languages and sell worldwide. Among his bestsellers are The Dragonbone Chair, The Otherland Cycle, and Shadowmarch. Deborah Beale was a longtime editor of books for adults and children in her native London before she began her career as a writer. This is the first book Tad and Deborah have written together. They live with their children in the San Francisco Bay Area in California, with far more cats, dogs, reptiles, pet ants, and banana slugs than they can count.

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Reviews

What people think about Shadowheart

4.2
26 ratings / 15 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Finally.... the end. A satisfying and clever conclusion to a creative, amazing and very lengthy epic fantasy. Williams pulls off a number of twists as he wraps up the tale, both minor and major, and manages to keep the tension going right to the end. I do think, though, that he needs to allow his writing to be edited much more rigorously: this series could have been nearly a thousand pages shorter than it is! That is the only reason my four stars are not five.
  • (5/5)
    This series was an amazing adventure. The last book, gives so much closure while asking many more questions. I'd love a continuation of this series.
  • (4/5)
    This fourth volume brings the Shadowmarch story to a close, as all characters and plotlines are brought together in one locale. Briony and Barrick each lead an army to their homeland's defence as it comes under siege by the Big Bad who threatens to unleash a god upon the world that he will be able to control. If you've read your Homer, etc. (or just been paying attention through the previous three volumes) you know it's a fair bet he's biting off more than he can chew. I don't think the ending is all that it might have been, and I have some structural criticism concerning subplots that are transparently filler or needless complication, forced into alignment with the main story or to give leftover characters something to do. Seeing the full arc in retrospect, I think several elements might have been stripped out of this series to condense it and little would have been lost besides page count. It's a finely crafted world to visit. The author's made good strides in presenting his female characters, and I like the twins at the centre of the story although it took me a while to warm up to Barrick. My takeaway: the gods help mortals who help themselves, the series titles being a reference to the role of faith in our lives and how it sees us through despair.
  • (4/5)
    The end is here. Once again, I received the fourth book of a Tad Williams trilogy with excitement. In one way this review is pointless. If you've read the first three volumes, you'll read this one. If not, start at the beginning. Even so, here are my thoughts on the book.Tad Williams has mastered the art of juggling a large cast of multi-dimensional characters. In particular, Lady Porcupine's development was stunning in this final volume. Imagine writing the mind of a character from another race, descended directly from the gods, who has lived for centuries. That's the sort of creative power you experience when Tad writes.My only frustration with this book was the climax: it occurred far to early for my taste. That scene was vivid and immediate; so much so, the remaining chapters seemed almost boring. Maybe this is because my least favourite (and most irritating) character in the book, Briony, received the most attention in closing. So it goes.One last note. I pre-ordered this book from Amazon. A couple weeks before it was released, Tad posted on his website that he would give samples to anyone who emailed him. I did, and promptly received the first 100 pages of his manuscript in a Word file. What a way to whet my appetite! Thanks for your generosity to the fans, Tad.
  • (2/5)
    Abysmally poor editing makes this book a tedious, disjointed and very unrewarding read. Had at least one third of its content been purged it might have been more enjoyable but it digressed so often into pointless episodes with minor characters that the only logical conclusion is that the author had a contract to fill 700 pages and did so at the expense of the storyline. By far the worst book of a very poor series, it really has changed my opinion of Tad Williams. There are far better fantasy writers out there.
  • (3/5)
    I found this a satisfying end to the series. The major plot points all converge but everything isn’t neatly tied up. Looking forward to some more Williams.
  • (5/5)
    Well developed characters, good narator and interesting plot development. Great
  • (4/5)
    So as last books-in-a-series go, this wasn’t bad at all. Overall I think the series suffered from being too long, but then I can’t say I ever really got bored. Case-in-point would be the ending. I did this book on audio and the climax of the story happened around disc 23. The book came with 27 discs. So that meant about 3 hours of story (15% of the entire book) was dedicated to the wrap up, during which any questions you might have about pretty much any character who appeared in any of the 4 books, is answered.Anyway, I did actually tear up at least once so that’s saying something right? After living with these characters for the last 6 months or so, and having their voices brought to life by a wonderful narrator I guess I can admit that without it damaging my masculine image too much. It’s been a long time since I’ve read an entire series of fantasy novels, these won’t go down as my favorite series but they were definitely enjoyable and Mr. Williams definitely has a talent for making things seem real. I never once felt taken “out of the story” by something that didn’t make sense to me.
  • (3/5)
    I found this a satisfying end to the series. The major plot points all converge but everything isn’t neatly tied up. Looking forward to some more Williams.
  • (3/5)
    I have been looking forward to the conclusion of this series for a long time. Unfortunately, now that it has arrived, I'm not sure what to say about it. All of the great forces and players have arrived at Southmarch Castle for the final confrontation, and possibly the end of the world! Unfortunately its not really clear what horrible fate they are trying to avoid. The conclusion is certainly unexpected, but I really can't say it was either surprising or satisfying. The characters are engaging, the writing is clear and enjoyable to read, I'm just not sure the story is all that much different from William's previous books. To put this series anywhere near the Otherland or Memory, Sorry and Thorn series wouldn't be right. Its good, just not that good.
  • (4/5)
    I finally finished the series! While I enjoyed it greatly, I feel like one of the characters, like I've been through an experience I never thought I'd live long enough to survive.Having said that, I did care about the characters long enough to see what happened to them. But the Otherland series was better, and maybe even Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn.
  • (4/5)
    I would like to propose that Tad Williams stop writing trilogies and tetralogies. Why does the awesome have to stop? Take a cue from Robert Jordan and keep those bad boys coming. I realize I'm a nobody in the grand scheme of Tad Williams' publishing life. I'm making this proposal based on completely selfish reasons. It's a flimsy, pathetic argument at best, but there it is.Clearly it's with a sad heart that I finished this, the fourth and final book in Williams' Shadowmarch tetralogy. Trying to summarize the plot of this densely written 722 page brick is almost more than I can bear at the moment. So, I'll be brief(ish). The twins Barrick and Briony Eddon continue to wander separately across Eion. Briony Eddon has come across a powerful prince who is not only smitten with her but also well outfitted with a small army of troops. How convenient. The prince and his soldiers serve as her loyal escorts as she makes her way back toward her Southmarch home. Barrick Eddon has been changed by the mysterious Qar and is figuring out how to survive in this new self. He, too, discovers a need to return to Southmarch with an army of Qar in tow. Did I mention that the nasty god-king of Xis has King Olin Eddon held prisoner and a small country's worth of soldiers waiting outside the gates of the castle? Gods are waking up, ambition is upsetting the delicate balance, and family loyalties are being tested. Soapbox time. As a card carrying feminist I was put off by the fact that Qinnitan and Briony's virginity seemed to carry such importance. They "saved" themselves for their true loves, yadda yadda. Briony and Qinnitan were both strong, capable young women... why ruin it by making them chaste? And I already mentioned in a previous review my distaste for the depiction of the homosexual characters in this series. Briony's travelling troupe of buds has not one but two old, lascivious sorts the apparently prefer young lads while the evil Autarch was sexually abused by his Uncle. A familiar stereotype, for sure. But I know Williams' is capable of much more than these overused and quite worn out tropes. If you've made it this far into my review you must think I'm bonkers. I first declare my undying love for all things Tad Williams and then rail against his depiction of women and homosexuals. Well, there it is. I DO love Tad Williams' stories. In fact, I am so comfortable in the worlds that he creates I can't help but start feeling it's my right to move around the furniture. It's a well-meaning sort of badgering and if Tad Williams' were to ever stumble across this review I hope he'd take it in the spirit of sisterly poking in which it's intended. I recommend this series to all lovers of the epic fantasy genre. Happy reading!
  • (4/5)
    I just like Tad Williams. As I wrote in a review of one of the other of this series, he can pretty much go off anywhere he likes and I'll follow him. There's a bit too much unending battle in this finale, but Williams does an even better than usual job of bringing his loose ends, revelations, and character relationships all back together in the end.
  • (4/5)
    After three heavyweight tomes, Shadowheart concludes the series with another large chunk of tree, surprising since the final two volumes were supposed to be just one book. The myriad of characters, ranging from the Southmarch royals, the faerie Qar, the god-king Autarch, the Funderlings and half a dozen others, finally converge story arcs as war comes to Southmarch. What could have been a simple siege tale is anything but. With so many stories and characters the siege event is almost obscured, however Williams has bigger plans than a simple revamp of other fantasy stories. In the final third the finale is nothing short of cataclysmic, breaking free of the usual genre shackles and evidencing his talent.What makes this quartet great is also the Achilles' Heel. Too many strands, with too little time spent on each to keep momentum up, is hard going. Especially is minor characters turn up and become rather important more than once. There are some rather coincidental moments which stretch credibility too, at times there's a faint aura of Australian soap opera. Where previous chapters balanced emotional impact well, there are less moments of real magic in the final volume, although the elongated pre-epilogue epilogue makes as many amends as possible.Those points aside, Shadowheart is true to the quartet and worthy finale. It is daring and despite it's length it does not feel bloated, even though Williams' narrative style is far from concise. Another great fantasy epic under Tad's belt - recommended.
  • (4/5)
    Well that's finally over. I don't think I'll claim this to be Tad's best work. not that it is bad or second rate, but it just isn't as great as Memory, Sorrow and Thorn or as the Otherland series. The best way to put it is that it just isn't as satisfying in the end. Hopefully someone who reads these as a first glimpse into the realms of Mr. Williams doesn't think the author is an old windbag.There was so much treachery and death in this story that it wasn't that fun of a read, relatively. Some of the characters were evil bastards almost to the point of unbelieveability, but most fantasy tales are like that. Who wants to read about Joe Average, arch-villain in training? Also, the author seems to have a fascination with ancient castle/cities that have longer histories than the men who have ruled them, as well as the networks of caves and buildings underneath them. There seems to be magical mirrors that are key elements in almost all of his stories, not to mention his abortive Mirror World comic series from ages ago.