There are some books that you read in your youth that you simply do not appreciate at the time.  On re-read however?! … W O W!  Tad William’s book – The Dragonbone Chair is one of these.

I remember when I first read this, that I was bored in the beginning and really struggled to get through the early chapters but was hooked as time progressed and I got more into the characters and story.  This time while I still struggled a bit in the beginning (especially with the names) I knew what awaited me so easily powered through to nirvana and bliss!

I don’t want you to get the idea that there is something that is earth-shattering and new here … there isn’t

  • … you still have the lowly kitchen boy (Simon) doing nothing useful, the old magician (Doctor Morgenes) and the quarreling princes (Elias & Joshua)
  • … you still have the story of growth and change for all of the characters – most especially the lowly kitchen boy – from nothing which is the staple of the fantasy genre
  • … you still have dragons and sorcery, wizards and magic , monsters and mayhem & some characters that you definitely do NOT want to take home to meet mother!
  • … you still have some epic battles and fight sequences & enough death and destruction to make even George R.R. Martin happy – the story line in the book displays to me just why Memory, Sorrow and Thorn played such a large role in influencing Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones: Dragonstone Stein – $39.99

from: Things From Another World

What you do have in the Dragonbone Chair and its sequels however is an excellent story and one that is exceedingly well written and thought out.  It’s one that will keep you engaged and enthralled and will have you cheering and weeping depending upon where you are in the story.  This isn’t a simple beach holiday book (as its size makes very evident) and is very different from some of today’s more popular books.  This is a book that to me is timeless – something that keeps the old traditions of saving the world quests and rags-to-riches tales and brings in new ones: epic, dark battles, and underhanded politics.


Simon is a kitchen boy when The Dragonbone Chair begins, mooning around the ancient castle of the Hayholt, doing what most young boys do; avoiding chores whilst putting themselves at risk by climbing things. Soon enough Simon is apprenticed to Doctor Morgenes, a dabbler in all things academic, including magic and alchemy.

Simon is dismayed at the fact that he will not be taught magic but instead must take on the arduous task of cleaning Morgenes’ rooms and, even worse, learning to read and write. Simon, however, little realizes that the adventures and battles he daydreams of are soon to become his living nightmare.

“…the whole chamber seemed much as it usually did – as though a horde of crack-brained peddlers had set up shop and then made a hasty retreat during a wild windstorm.”

After the death of the benevolent King John, his son Elias is raised to the throne and for some time the kingdom is distracted by the series of tourneys the young king is throwing. But soon the rotten core of Elias’s rule is revealed and Simon finds himself on the run from dark forces that only a select few had ever thought would return to disrupt life in Osten Ard.

Game of Thrones Shot Glass Set: Dragon Eggs – $11.99

from: Things From Another World

My Thoughts –

I enjoyed all the characters, although it did take me time to appreciate Simon’s “mooncalf” behavior, but when I really thought about it I realized that it was fairly normal for a fourteen-year-old to be a bit clueless and inquisitive.  It contains all the good staples of a Young Adult novel; innocent teenage romance and a young protagonist trying to find himself whilst finding a mystical item. Clichéd perhaps, but definitely well met with themes of betrayal and war; the staples of good adult fantasy.

His development through the book really helped endear him to me; watching him grow from a sheltered castle boy to a young man desperately fighting for his life while not new, was as mentioned really well portrayed.

My major problem with this book is that I couldn’t even begin to pronounce some of the names/words and as I’ve already mentioned, the slow initial starting pace of the book.  While it did pick up in later chapters, the early going was a bit rough.

Character Growth & Development – 5/5

The key characters in the series are all believable and you can understand their motivations and desires quite well.  They are not static in any way and definitely grow throughout the book becoming more and more defined as the pages turn.

Story Growth & Development – 4/5

Slow to start but really gripping in later chapters.  Very well thought out book and one that is well worth a read.

Overall Rating – 9/10

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