I started reading this series a couple of years ago when book one, Shadowmarch, landed on my 2017 Reading Challenge list. I read book two last year, fitting it in between challenge books. For this year, I managed to get the final two books on the 2019 ATY Reading Challenge list for prompts #7 and #8 – two books related to the same topic, genre or theme. What’s better related than two books from the same series?
In this sweeping fantasy series, we meet a huge cast of characters, and action spread across an entire continent. But the primary focus is on royal twins Princess Briony and Prince Barrick. And on their home, Southmarch in northern Eion. The twins’ father, King Olin, has been taken for ransom and their elder brother, Prince Kendrick is murdered. Responsibility for the kingdom has now fallen to them. Now, facing an ancient threat from the north, a rising threat from the south, and a threat from within their own realm, Princess Briony and Prince Barrick will endure unimaginable challenges in order to save their kingdom.
Williams is a master at world-building. He has created here a rich and vibrant world filled with an interesting assortment of characters. Different races, with their distinct cultures, each have their own part to play in the overall story.
The story opens slowly, with seemingly unrelated elements. A lot is going on, and it takes time to set the stage. But by the final book, the suspense has escalated to the point where it became difficult to put the book down. I was fully invested in the characters from the beginning and was gratified to see things brought together in the end.
Tad Williams is one of my favorite authors, and this series did not disappoint me in any way. If you’re a fan of huge, sweeping fantasies with unique world-building, I highly recommend this series.