The Witchwood Crown

The Witchwood Crown
Tad Williams
Published date

„The Witchwood Crown” is the newest novel from Tad Williams starting new series “The Last King of Osten Ard” and is a sequel to well known “Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn”. After many years of events in the original trilogy and defeating the great evil, everyone should live peacefully and have their happily ever after, right? Unfortunately, our characters won’t be that lucky.

The book is a classical fantasy tale. Unlike popular YA which are strongly action-driven, “The Witchwood Crown” is mesmerising with its world complexity and compelling characters. We have loads of different nations, and each one of them has their own history and culture. The chapters are written from different points of view, not only the king’s and queen’s but also evil Norns, or simple maid from Nabban. Thanks to that the world of Osten Ard is so amazing and easy to get into it.

I haven’t read the original series so I was afraid it would be hard to read, but to my surprise, this was not the case. The author let us into his world and explain everything on the way, history, past events, important characters. There is a lot of them, but it’s not overwhelming. I got invested in the story just after a few chapters. I love the characters, Miriamele and Simon are like a proper old marriage, bickering, teasing, arguing all the time, but still loving each other unconditionally and supporting in every decision (even if they don’t like it much). Morgan, their grandson and heir, after his father mysterious death, got into the habit of drinking long into the night and not doing much more. Nezeru is a Norn elite warrior for the sacred Queen, but she’s starting to doubt her resolve and sense in everything in her life. And there is many more of them to discover.

Throughout the book, the author builds tension. On a peaceful world which hasn’t seen a war in many years now, a bizarre thing happens. One incident, then another, until there is so many of them, that even the biggest sceptics can’t deny that something wicked is coming their way. The more chapters you read, there is more twists and turns, sometimes very surprising. What seemed to be a pleasant idyll, turns out to be deception hiding intrigues and plots of worst sorts.

The one thing I didn’t like in the book was the use of Christianity as the main religion. I don’t have anything against this believes, I get the idea is very compelling to most people, but when I read about the made-up world, I’d like to see the faith that originated there and are also a bit original. We have here the old, pagan religions, but the main one is monotheistic Christianity, were Jesus was renamed Aedon, and that’s the only difference.

When I finished “The Witchwood Crown” I immediately wanted to buy the next one. The book has over 700 pages, and after all that time you spend with it you get wholly invested in the story. Especially when it ends in the worst possible moment and you just need to know what happens next! If you’re fans of classic, epic fantasy like “LotR”, “Sword of Truth” and Brandon Sanderson’s books you must read this one!