The Dragonbone Chair Review

The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams is the first book in the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series. I had no idea how popular this series was until just recently so I decided to give it a shot. I usually don’t like to read coming of age fantasy books anymore but made an exception for The Dragonbone Chair. It has been a while for me since the last I’ve read so why not right? My honest opinion after having read through the book is that its just okay. It could be that the series was ahead of its time as original publication date is 1988. Readers like myself today have been spoiled with the influx of other fantasy series that offer much more depth than stories of the past. That’s not to say The Dragonbone Chair is bad. In fact, I actually can see how popular fantasy novels of today have taken a page right out of this book. I think if I had read this book maybe two decades ago my perspective would have been completely different.

The Dragonbone Chair pretty much ticks off the majority of items readers look for in a good fantasy novel. We’ve got a mysterious and evil power lurking somewhere in the shadows. Different races. Magical spells. Tall impregnable fortresses and castles with chambermaids running to and fro. Knights in shining armor. Large scale battles. Large amount of traveling to different locations either on horseback or on foot. And dragons. It’s all here folks.

To my surprise, the main protagonist of Simon did not irritate me as much as I thought he would. Usually a character of his age in a fantasy type setting brings a lot of self loathing, complaining and whining with it. Stereotypical I know but it’s true. Although Simon does all of that, the author at least didn’t go overboard with it. Just enough to remind you every now and then that the character is stuck in a very unfortunate situation than what he is normally used to. Many reviewers dislike the book for it being too slow. I agree that the pacing could have picked up just a bit but I don’t think it hindered the overall story that much.

I’m not quite sure if I’ll be continuing with this series going forward. This series mainly caught my attention due to the author having released a new series that continued from this one. Being how highly touted the original series is, I wanted to see what it was all about. Unfortunately, this book falls into the category where it did just enough to not bore me to quit midway but not enough to make me excited to continue on. Again, if I had read this book while I was still a young teenager my review might have been completely different. But as it is today too much time has passed since that period and so have my expectations.

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