My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The second part of To Green Angel Tower brings Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn to a stunning and thrilling finish. The book begins with the Norn attack on Josua's camp and Simon & Miriamele's quest to the Hayholt, directly where it left off in Part 1 giving a "sense of continuity" of the overall novel. The story arcs of the various second tier characters were either ended or brought into the main story before the last quarter of the book so as to concentrate on the major climactic siege of the Hayholt and the supernatural battle on top the aforementioned Green Angel Tower.
By the last quarter of the book every living character, save one, has made their way to the Hayholt through a variety of paths. It is only then that all of them start realizing that they had been tricked by the Storm King and the Norns, including their human allies Elias and Pryates though the later had tried to cage his supernatural ally himself. The Storm King's defeat is not through strength of arms, but on empathy towards the great antagonist at the right time that stymies his return to mortal plane. The resolution to the great crisis is a unique twist that one doesn't see coming along, but given the one who expresses the empathy it goes well with that character's development throughout the book.
There were some issues I did have while reading that I have to mention, the first of which was the pace at the beginning of the book. To Green Angel Tower was originally published whole in hardcover so one would assume that Part 2 would feel just like a continuation, but the beginning of Part 2 reads and feels like it is a different book entirely. I mentioned in the first paragraph that Part 2 began where Part 1 left off to give a "sense of continuity" but it doesn't read that way especially as one continues on through Part 2. It seems that To Green Angel Tower is actually two books in one that were pressed in the original publication so as to have the "trilogy" but the series would have been better served as a tetralogy when originally published. The second was trying to keep the various timelines straight of the various storylines, especially as they started interconnecting with one another and which sometimes was maddening trying to remember what another character was doing somewhere else at the time.
Overall, To Green Angel Tower Part 2 was a fantastic finish to a memorable series. Not withstanding my feeling that the series should be a tetralogy and my other minor issue, this is a series that any fantasy fan must read because of how Williams brought something new to the genre over a quarter of a century ago and inspired several other authors to bring their ideas forward with his success. So consider Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn as well as this book recommended.
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