Otherland: Mountain of Black Glass

Mountain of Black GlassOtherland: Mountain of Black Glass

By: Tad Williams

www.tadwilliams.com

(Science Fiction)

This series has been both intriguing and fascinating, but is altogether too long. It has great ideas and poses some interesting questions about where society is headed, and the possibility of immortality through technology, but is a little too drawn out and tends to lose its momentum. I wonder what it would have been like if it were condensed. There just seems to be a little too much filler in between the good stuff.

I also feel that the author could have taken more advantage of the creation of a myriad of simulated worlds in the Otherland network. Many of them fell along classical lines and weren’t as imaginative as I would have wanted. Often, the story would overstay its welcome in a particular world. In this novel, I felt too much time was spent in ancient Greece, particularly the Odyssey and the Trojan War. Now if you have a particular interest in either of those things, then I suppose it’s great, but for me, I feel like I’m too familiar with those subjects, making it far less captivating.

Dread is as terrifying as ever in this volume, and more information is revealed about his origins as well as what the Grail Brotherhood is really up to. I would say that these two elements were the most interesting. I’m still puzzled by Renie and !Xabbu’s relationship, which seems to be heading more and more into a romantic direction but without ever actually getting there. As hard as I try I just can’t seem to picture them together in that way, especially since he hasn’t had a human sim for the better part of the story. Something about !Xabbu’s gentle nature, makes him seem an odd match for Renie’s more forceful personality. Perhaps I should be more open minded.

Ultimately, I wish this were the last book in the series, not because I want it to be over with, but because at this point I just want to see how it all turns out. After spending at least two thousand pages in Otherland, it feels like it’s about time for a conclusion. Maybe I’m just impatient. Unfortunately, I have another nine hundred pages to go. I think I’ll take a break for a while.

I’m not saying this is a bad book or a bad series. In fact, I think a fair amount of it is quite brilliant, and you can see how the author put a lot of time and effort into the details. If the whole series were cut in half, I think it would be amazing. If you have the time and the will to stick with it, I think it is definitely worth reading, and I have every intention of finishing it. Until next time…

Happy Reading!

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6 thoughts on “Otherland: Mountain of Black Glass

    1. It can be a difficult series to get into..and to stick with. I was tempted to put it down on more than one occasion, but in the end I think it’s definitely worth reading. Have you finished the series?

      1. Ah, and I see from your blog that you are a Tad Williams fan. What do you think of his fantasy novels? Do they move at a similar pace to Otherland? I know they’re just as long. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

      2. “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” and the Shadowmarch series are both similarly long – I’ve seen some people complain that MST starts slow, but personally, I love every page of it (love it too much to be an objective judge, I’m afraid).
        S’march & sequels, I must admit, I’ve only finished once, so I can’t really say, and War of the Flowers was also too long ago… so many books I want to reread!
        His newest series, the Bobby Dollar books, are a much quicker read, though (here’s my review of it: http://ivynettle.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/a-heavenly-mystery/ )

      3. Interesting, I hadn’t heard of the Bobby Dollar books, so I’ll have to look into that. I’ve got Shadowmarch on my list. I guess I’ll just have to leave extra time for reading Tad Williams books, since they’re so long, but it’s really nice to have a different opinion of them. I’ve read a fair amount of negative reviews, which kept me from reading Otherland for a while, but I gave in to curiosity eventually.

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