It’s not the ideal way to start off a review, but I keep coming back to it – To Green Angel Tower is long. This final installment of Tad William’s Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy is so long that in its paperback form it had to be released in two volumes – each about 800 pages long. Either volume would be considered a fairly beefy book by itself, together, they are just plain long.
I know I’m coming off a bit rant-ish here, and there is some truth to it, but To Green Angel Tower is at the same time a worthy conclusion to William’s epic saga (did I really just use the word saga?). This book has all the elements of a successful (if somewhat un-original) end – horrible battles, hopelessness, stupid mistakes, super-human heroic action, dark magic, love, death, deception, a happy ending, and enough open ends to leave us wanting more.
The title, To Green Angel Tower, really provides the proper plot summary for this book. The major players of this epic wrap up what has been keeping them busy and converge at the Green Angel Tower – the key location of the end battle, and the place the story began. People take long and difficult roads to get there – some are hurt, even killed, and others are captured or otherwise delayed. Rest is assured; the key players make it where they need to be.
Ok, so here is a (obvious) spoiler – there is a happy ending. Really, could it have been any other way – we all knew it was coming. Our hero wins, but I won’t go as far to say whether he gets the girl or not. Yet there are still enough surprises to catch us off guard, to convince the reader that the end is a bit more than what we knew would happen. Mysteries are at once satisfactorily explained and left for the imagination and desire of more stories to come. Anyway, a good story is more about the adventure, the getting there, than about the end itself.
So, by now you may be wondering if actually like the book(s) or not. Of course I did. While all usual clichés are there, Williams does tell it well and even manages to surprise. There is character growth, and I’ve not ever read a better scene where a young hero realizes the true horror of war.