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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling Tad Williams' groundbreaking epic fantasy saga of Osten Ard begins an exciting new cycle! Volume one of The Last King of Osten Ard.

Enter the epic fantasy world that inspired a generation of modern fantasy writers, including George R. R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, and Christopher Paolini. The Witchwood Crown begins Tad Williams' next masterpiece, bringing together the best of character-driven fantasy, action-packed high adventure, and monumental worldbuilding.

Osten Ard is at a critical turning point once again. Ancient enemies, long silent, are preparing to reclaim lands that were once theirs....

Explore more of Osten Ard in Tad Williams' landmark original trilogy - Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn - and the new stand-alone novel The Last King of Osten Ard!

©2017 Tad Williams (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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

So disappointing

Any additional comments?

As a longtime Tad Williams fan, it's painful to write such a negative review of one of his books. I was eager to see what awaited us on this return to Osten Ard. Alas, what awaited was a mere seed of a new story drowning in a tiresome homage to Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. I thoroughly enjoyed the former series, but the ad nauseum references to it completely bogged down the story. Endless ramblings by characters from the original story bemoaning how they've gotten so old, 'playful banter' between the king and queen that is painfully uninspiring - way too many segments where I found myself thinking, 'Just move on, already!'

I also noted Williams' use of more 'off-color' language. His books tend to fall in the G-rating category, without any foul language or overt sexual content - and those stories didn't suffer from that. He's ramped up the language to PG, presumably in an effort to be more relevant and edgy in the wake of the huge popularity of the often X-rated George R. R. Martin. I love by Martin's and Williams' books - I don't have a hang-up about potentially offensive language being used or not used PROVIDED that is seems integral to the story. But it just doesn't work here - it seemed to be unnatural and forced, sticking out like a sore thumb.

This is Not a good book. It does no justice to a revisit to Osten Ard. But the seed of a good story is there if Williams could just scrape away all the tedious that is holding it back. Being a longtime fan, I'm in it for the long haul. I just hope for much better in book # 2.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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

Been waiting

A lot of plot comes up, and a couple of twists here and there. Almost sad to return to the world of Osten Ard and discover so much time having elapsed. Sometimes the shifts in characters have seemingly absolutely no connection whatsoever with the main story, and some even just seem to never resolve by the end. Hopefully, the next book will fill in those blanks, or make some of the storylines make better sense in relation to the main story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too long

This book doesn’t start moving until the last 10 hours. Looks like a rehash of the last series that was very good. I would wait until this set is completely finished before trying this again

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Some really good some meh.

Tad Williams meanders as usual through a lot of details to get to the more interesting stuff. The reader is good until you get to the Norns. His choice for their voices is odd and took me out of the story. I will probably read the print version of the next one.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic series!!!

Full of mystery, magic, & the marvelous! There is some much wonder it's hard to put down.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Come back joyfully for more .

A small number of other reviewers have complained about “too much homage to the earlier blockbuster volumes”, “sentimentality”and “skipping an entire generation of character development”. On this last objection, I see it as as a strength, allowing for the introduction of many new characters to mix with the old guard. Yes the first few chapters of the book are slow but we are also learning of prince Morgan’s boozy beginnings. He, like his grandfather King Seoman Snow Lock, starts as a sapling and grows to an oak (I hope). During those boring chapters were are also made aware of growing cult in Hernystyr.

The remainder of the book is good solid Tad Williams action shifting from the Hayholt, to Rimmersgard, to Stormspike, Nabban and Oldheort Forest. The Norns are on the move and the Sithi are frightened, angry, and disagreeing even among themselves.

My favorite parts of the book have to do with the mysterious culture of the Norns. The impossible journeys that teams are sent out to do for the “Mother” Utuku and the hatred, fear and contempt that most Hikkedeya feel for each other, human animals and halfbreeds. The whole hive of Hikkedeya suppresses individuality and feels like a cult to me.

Still, these passages about the acts of the Hikkedeya are often beautiful. Snatches of poetry, friendship, love, submission to death for honor. The Hikkedeya are multidimensional but for all that, still bees. Exciting bees who sometimes forget the Mother.

I highly recommend this book and look forward to the sequels. I have rated overall 4 stars, because, darn it, it’s not perfect. Yes it has to do with that slow opening. The book ends with SEVERAL terrific cliffhangers. TW has not lost a speck of his writing talent. He is on the roll!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • T-Bone
  • Pasadena, MD United States
  • 11-27-17

Tad proves he's still the best!

What an amazing return to the land of Osten Tad! The story is every bit as interesting and complex as we have come to expect from Tad, and it was sheer joy to catch up with old friends while also being introduced to new and exciting characters. I will now be anxiously awaiting the next volume. :)

The narrator is quite good, and gives a wide range of accents for the various characters, making it easier to identify who we are hearing from at any given moment.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

storytelling at its best

I wish it was longer. looking forward to the next book. Ted Williams is a masterful storyteller.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A brilliant continuation of the world of Osten Ard

I loved the "Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn" series, and was sad for many years that there no more stories in the world of Osten Ard. I was delighted when I heard that Tad Williams intended a new storyline set in the world. I enjoyed reading the new book, but I also enjoy listening to it, for I often discover new aspects of a story hearing it aloud that I did not notice on the page. Andrew Wincott is brilliant, capturing the different voices, especially those of the inhuman Sithi and Norns.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Plodding

I liked the voice performances, but the story is incredibly slow and too much development is saved until the final quarter of the book. It felt like a modern tv drama, where everything of note happens in the last two episodes. Maybe the second and third books in this series will be better now that all the pieces are set up, but I just don't care anymore.