Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shadowmarch

Shadowmarch
This tale starts out strong with interesting characters and a somewhat unique feeling world. I typically like Tads' work and Shadowmarch was no exception. In a pretty radical departure from typical epic fantasy two of our primary heroes and our primary antagonist are all women. They still live in a world that is dominated by men (kings, emperors, etc) and where women are used to solidify treaties (princess given as a wife to form a bond between two houses) but these three women supersede the world around them and, while they haven't yet, will surely change the world completely before the series is done.

However, unlike some authors who I have read, when Tad writes a strong women character that doesn't necessarily mean she is a bitch. In fact, all three are interesting, intelligent, and generally very compelling. The evil one is hard to like (she is Evil after all) but the other two have both the readers sympathy and compassion as they traverse their respective minefields. This isn't to say that the novel is a treatise on women's lib in fantasy though. There are also three important male characters; each dealing with his own trials as well. There are also many second class characters in the story so far that could easily become more important before the series is over and Tad's balance of these characters, so far, is masterfully done.

I'm not sure how many books are going to be in this series but the first promises a great tale in the end. I believe the story was started as a community driven one at the Shadowmarch website. However, I didn't hear about the book until I bumped into it at the store. If you like fantasy then you will like this book; so go get it.

RATING 4.5
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