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Shadowmarch

Shadowmarch, Volume I
Narrated by: Dick Hill
Series: Shadowmarch, Book 1
Length: 29 hrs and 19 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (601 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For generations the misty Shadowline has marked the boundary between the lands of men and the lost northern lands that are the lair of their inhuman enemies, the ageless Qar. But now that boundary line is moving outward, threatening to engulf the northernmost land in which humans still live - the kingdom of Southmarch.

For centuries, the Eddon family has ruled in ancient, forbidding Southmarch Castle, guarding the border against the Qar's return, but now this powerful royal line has been dealt a devastating blow. The monarch, King Olin, is being held captive in a distant land, and it falls to his inexperienced heirs to lead their people in a time of growing danger and dread.

It is on the two youngest Eddons that the heaviest burdens fall. The twins Barrick and Briony, who in such evil times have only each other, may lose even that bond as darkness closes over them. As the Qar’s power reaches out across their land, will Southmarch Castle, the only home they’ve ever known, become in fact what it has long been called - Shadowmarch?

©2006 Tad Williams (P)2010 Brilliance Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    192
  • 4 Stars
    163
  • 3 Stars
    124
  • 2 Stars
    79
  • 1 Stars
    43

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    171
  • 4 Stars
    136
  • 3 Stars
    82
  • 2 Stars
    23
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    35

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 3 Stars
    99
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • JC
  • 11-09-10

It's the characters that matter...

As a longtime reader of fantasy novels, I understand that the first book in a series is many times a bit slower paced than the later books. The author has to paint the picture of an entire world and the characters and things within it. This book however was a bit of a yawner. Williams is a tallented writer as far as describing things in the universe that he has created, but he falls far far short on character development.

There are four main story lines in the book, with most of the book concentrating on the two most uninteresting characters in the story. A spoiled prince and princess. There is a pretty good storyline about a mysterious orphan boy and a dwarf (for lack of a better word). I'd like to fiind out what happens to them. I never will though, because after thirty plus hours of listening, I don't think I could take another book with the same boring characters.

You can have an interesting story and universe, but if you don't fill it with interesting characters, characters that readers will care about, then you just have a long boring slog to the end.

The narrator does a fine job on the book. He gives the characters very definable voices and livens things up. But try as he might, this book still falls short on several different levels.

Favorite authors lately: Robin Hobb, Jim Butcher, Guy Gavriel Kay. If you are a fan of these three authors I reccomend you stay away from this one.

22 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nate
  • Coventry, RI, USA
  • 11-02-10

Imaginative World

Tad Williams takes his readers to places only a master story-teller can portray - he borders the perfect edge between too much detail (George R. R. Martin - though I do love losing myself in his novels too) and too little (any of your various Dragonlance or Forgotten Realms novels). This series is a testament to the author's abilities to narrate and to enrapture his readers.

It is about time some of his novels have become audio books!

17 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Laura
  • EVERETT, WA, United States
  • 02-01-11

By Far, NOT Williams' Best

I love Tad Williams. His Otherland series is one of my top three series. This series, however, is dreadfully slow. I've tried to get through it twice and keep listening to another book instead. I've finally restarted it with the goal of perservering and finishing the thing. Its a long slog through slow plot, whiny characters and annoying writing. I have always thought Williams to be an excellent writer, but the writing in this book is bad to the point of distraction. The characters are unbelievable, cardboard and just plan annoying. They are whiny and pretulant, and the reader adds to the whiny quality in the dialogue by reading all of them (especially the females) in nasal tones that drive me crazy! To top it off, I just finished reading G.R.R.Martin's Song of Fire and Ice books, and honestly, sadly, this latest series from Williams seems a rip off of that series, The plot, characters and all are very similar in too many ways, but its a shallow, hallow shell of a reproduction. I love Song of Fire and Ice as well, so if it had been a better representation, I'd have been happy to read it. I pray the next book in this series is better, because I bought it as well.

16 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Undisputed - The Best

Such a rich rich story. I've read the books and even so it felt like the first time listening to the narrator perform.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A favorite performed very well

Would you consider the audio edition of Shadowmarch to be better than the print version?

The audio version brings a new view in relation to reading the books. It seems a different story in some ways and very enjoyable.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Hard to choose a favorite character there are so many great characters.

What about Dick Hill’s performance did you like?

This story is one of my favorites and I want each of my favorites told by Michael Cramer and Kate Reading. But, after a couple hours of listening, Dick Hill, completely won me over. He did a masterful job and his breadth of voices and accents were fantastic. Dick Hill did a wonderful job and did this amazing story the justice it deserves.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I love this story. This amazing story is definitely one of my top 10.

Any additional comments?

If you are a fan of fantasy epics then you need to listen to this story. You will not be disappointed!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Slow to start, worth finishing

The story was a slow burn that was not helped by an older narrator. It picks up in the middle, and has an end that welcomes a sequel without leaving the reader overly wanting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Could have been a masterpiece...maybe it was

Would you listen to Shadowmarch again? Why?

yes. This is a terrific story and a great performance.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Shadowmarch?

Vansen and Barrick behind the shadowline was most memorable to me.

What does Dick Hill bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Read the book! As far as listening to the story goes, Dick Hill was was remarkable. Unfortunately, his whiny voice for Briony was annoying and detracted from the intended feel of her character and the story itself, especially at first. Otherwise, the characters were superb. Unfortunately, when he read the storyline, the cadence of Hill's voice could also be very distracting and he over-performed at times. It could have been a masterpiece but these issues influenced the way the story came across. I did love his slow pace, his wonderful characterizations, his expert reading of this book. One of the best I've listened to despite the irritating flaws. One of my favorite books from Tad Williams.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I found this book to have no wasted words, a vibrant story that I will go back to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Bill
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 11-05-12

How to Ruin a book

Let me preface this by saying that i love Tad Williams as an author, and thought i liked Dick Hill readings. After about 4 hours of Mr Hill's sibilance's and pops as he over performs, and I was looking for the fast forward button. I restrained myself, as i still have the other three books to listen, but at about the 8 hour mark i found myself seeking the off switch, as good as the story may be, the telling of it is getting in the way. I wonder if Audible would let me trade the next three, for next three in the Briar King set. How about it Audible?

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

One of the best books I've "read" in a while

I've always enjoyed Tad Williams books. Shadowmarch was very interesting, with good character development. The narrator was a perfect fit for this book - he is a good storyteller and kept my interest through the whole book. I will definitely look for other books he reads. I like the whole thing so much, I bought the same book for my Kindle so that I could read it again!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Not for me

I only got about 5 hours in before I stopped listening. I am not a critic as I enjoy most books but this one was a bore!

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • thetwistedtail
  • 03-06-15

terrible narrator

terrible narrator, voice is all over the place, hard to listen to, so bad im going to return it and try the book

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Vivienne H.
  • 02-29-16

Awful narrator

What didn’t you like about Dick Hill’s performance?

I found the pronunciation most bizarre- long as lawng, gone gawn, palm pawm, etc. Also his rendition made the female characters sounded like squeaky ninnies. In all I found his performance so irritating that I am hesitating whether to listen to the rest of the series, even though I loved the books when I read them years ago. I thought I would get used to the narrator, and I managed to get to the end of volume one, but it remained very irritating and detracted considerably from the enjoyment. Someone like Rupert Degas would have been a much better choice.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 04-02-11

There are better

Not one of Williams' best. The characters are animated by setbacks and suffering, and the reader encouraged pitying them. It makes for one-dimensional characters. This is exacerbated by the narrator's often whiny tone. It is however one of the few fantasy series for an older audience available on audio. With that in mind, a reader with the right attitude can find it can be quite enjoyable.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Donna B
  • 05-27-19

3rd time round . . . i enjoyed it that much

i do sometimes feel like i am in a documentary as the narrator has that tone but other than that i get lost in the shadows everytime i listen to this story. thanks Tad for a great story

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Larry P
  • 04-26-19

very derivative but as always Tad's writing shines

I assume intentionally, the plot and characters are derivative of many other fantasy novels but Tad's writing brings everything to life making it a great story... although leaves you wanting the next book asap.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs. Amanda Hann
  • 12-17-18

Shadow March

I enjoyed the story though a bit slow to start
I did not how ever enjoy the narrator he was often out of breath and so monotone in his narrative other than that it is a good story

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen
  • 01-08-12

Dire and turgid

The reader was fine and actually does quite a good job but the actual book....... Slow, too detailed and turgid. The story just doesnt move forward with any pace and I actually had to give up listening and I have never done that before. I would advice staying well clear.

3 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • J Smith
  • 11-29-18

Well written and narrated

I’m a little stuck as to what to say on this one.
I loved reading a Tad Williams when I was younger, but I think the narration spoilt it for me.
I can’t fault Dick’s reading, he’s a great storyteller, but it feels like the pacing of the story is so slow and his accent takes a bit of getting used to and his younger characters and women sound a bit whiney.
Due to the amount of hours, I’m finding the motivation to continue the series a struggle.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful