Otherland: City of Golden Shadow

Otherland: City of Golden Shadow

By: Tad Williams


This is the first of four books and quite a long one at that.  At close to 800 pages it’s a bit of a time investment.  That being said if you’re used to reading fast paced 300 page James Patterson novels…this book probably isn’t for you.  Likewise, if you’re looking for epic fantasy battles, you won’t find that either.  I have a hard time deciding how to categorize this book.  Is it Sci-Fi?  Or maybe Fantasy?  My local library seems to think it’s Fantasy, but I think of it more as a combination of the two.  On the science fiction side, you have our world in a future not so different from today, except that interaction with the internet is far more advanced, using fancy virtual reality equipment to feel like you’re really there, when it’s just a simulation.  The authors portrayal of the internet culture as well as the internet itself is really accurate, which I think is pretty cool, considering the book was written around 1995.  The virtual places visited, and the adventures experienced there, feel more reminiscent of Fantasy to me, and I really like the combination.

This book is not a fast read, more of a medium paced book.  Some reviews I read, long before I ever picked up the book, said it was too long and too confusing, and I see how they might think that.  800 pages can be intimidating, but I solved that problem by taking a break in the middle and then picking it back up a few weeks later. (that and I had to return it to the library because I ran out of time)

Essentially the book has 5 or 6 storylines going at once, separately at first, until they start to converge later on.  I admit, I found some more interesting than others.  Keeping track of these story lines could be confusing, but I felt it kept things interesting.

Ultimately, I liked it, despite its length and potential confusion, and I intend to read the rest of the series.  So far so good.

The series is as follows: City of Golden Shadow, River of Blue Fire, Mountain of Black Glass, Sea of Silver Light

Happy Reading! 🙂