Book: The Witchwood Crown (The Last King of Osten Ard 1 / Osten Ard Saga 4)
Release Date: June 27th 2017
Tags: Fantasy / Adult / Classic Fantasy / Giants / Fae / Trigger Warnings / Alcoholism / Mentioned Abuse / Forced Marriage / Violence
Other books in this series I reviewed
Memory, Sorrow and Thorn
Possible spoilers for the previous books in the series
Thirty years have passed since the events of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, and the world has reached a critical turning point once again. The realm is threatened by divisive forces, even as old allies are lost, and others are lured down darker paths. Perhaps most terrifying of all, the Norns—the long-vanquished elvish foe—are stirring once again, preparing to reclaim the mortal-ruled lands that once were theirs….
Not long after finishing Memory, Sorrow and Thorn I reserved The Crown of Witchwood at the library. Well the first part as this book was divided into two parts in the Dutch translation. I can understand that. In Dutch the book as a whole would have counted 1200 pages. In a large paperback. I had a tiny hope that this book would have a faster pace, but that was quickly squashed. All in all though it follows the Memory, Sorrow and Thonr books quite nicely.
Crown of Witchwood starts 24 years after the conclusion of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn. Simon and Miri still rule with Eolair, Tiamak and Jeremias by their side. While they wished they could have given the thrown to their only son, he died many years ago already. He left behind two children, Morgan and Lilia. When we start the story they are just heading into troubled times. An old friend passes away, there have been rumors about the norns and Nabban is having a lot of political troubles.
This book is a complete set up book. There is no other way I can put it. There isn’t one big overarching plot I can point at but little strings here and there that will be coming together later on in this trilogy. A murder plot, the norns, a book, Josisas and his family, a cult and so on. It does create a bit of a confusing read, constantly wondering how this all will fall into place and not getting that many answers by the end of the book. What is it with Morgan’s mother that everyone so seems to hate? What happened to John Josias? What happened to Josias? How is it that the bloody Norn Queen manages to live, again? Normally I hate that but I do know with Tad Williams that he is going to make it all right in the next two.
We get a lot of perspectives in this book. Simon, Miri, Eolair, Parcevalles, Morgan and some other characters. But what I really had to get used to was that we got two perspectives from the Norns. On the one hand I find it extremely interesting to get that glimpse into their life, into their thoughts. But I just spend 4 books seeing them as the all evil and it is hard to switch that out all of a sudden. Even so it does give a good contrast compared to the other point of views we get.
While I enjoyed reading this book for the most part and being back in Osten Ard I also have a lot of mixed feelings regarding the characters. I loved seeing Binnabik, Simon and the gang get back together. But I am not fond of their characterization here. Miri especially is getting the short end of the stick, suddenly turning on Binnabik when he wants to help Simon with his dreams. Treating Simon as if he is a child. That wasn’t who she was at the end of the previous series.
Simon seems to have forgotten that he used to be young, and him and Miri have no idea how to approach Morgan. Morgan who is drowning between his mixed feelings towards his father and the responsibilities his grandparents try to put on his shoulder. He doesn’t know which way is up or down or what he really wants and nobody really helps him. So he drowns in alcohol. Even so he makes the stupidest decisions of ever and rivals Simon on being a twat. I surprisingly like him somewhat.