Cover Image: Brothers of the Wind

Brothers of the Wind

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Member Reviews

This will be more rewarding for those with preexisting knowledge of Osten Ard, but I think this works really well as a standalone story, too. For me, this is one of my favorite books of the year.

While Williams fills in some of Ineluki’s backstory (prior to his descent into supervillainy), there’s more emphasis on Ineluki’s brother, Hakatri, and Hakatri’s faithful servant, Pamon Kes. This duo’s story is incredibly compelling, with Pamon Kes as the standout star. I’d happily read more stories from Pamon’s perspective and I hope Williams tells additional tales from this era in Osten Ard’s history.

All in all, this was a wonderful novella that I struggled to put down. Bonus points for an outstanding cover and a stunning map!
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Thank you to NetGalley and DAW Publishing for providing an ARC of this book for review.

Overall, I found the book very enjoyable and it gave some great insight into the development of characters that become relevant later in the series. That being said, I would recommend those who are interested in reading this book read the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy first because there are a lot of names, concepts, and other language used in this book that are introduced purposefully in those books, whereas in this one it is only understandable through context clues. Although I hadn't read the previous books in quite some time, I was still able to follow along and understand everything without too much trouble.

I enjoyed how the primary narrator was a character that was treated as an outsider but had insider knowledge due to their position. It provided an interesting take on the story as well as information you likely wouldn't get if told from the POV of a "main" character. If I had any criticism, I would say that the ending feels somewhat abrupt.

An insightful prequel to the series.
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Synopsis: A Great Worm has come down again from the north, a beast called Hidohebhi, the Blackworm. 

A thousands years before the tale of Memory, Sorrow & Thorn starts with the Dragonbone Chair, two brothers of the immortal fay folk of the Sithi live in the beautiful town Asu'a. One is the stupid and proud younger brother Ineluki, who will later be known as the undead Storm King. The other brother and the main protagonist of this novel is steady and loyal Hakatri, whose tale features him as the Burning Man, one of the greatest tragic heroes of the Zida'ya (as the Sithi call themselves).

Hakatri lives as a well-reknown member of the Sithis' leaders together with his beautiful wife, his children, cosseted by his faithful servant Pamon Kes. 

One day, a human leader comes to Asu'a and asks for help, because they can't handle a beast alone which destroys their livestock and killed men. Ineluki makes a terrible oath that he will destroy the monster. Hakatri follows him to protect his brother and is dragged into a disaster changing his life forever, and not in a good way.

Their investigations lead to the identification of the monster as one of the Great Worms which they won't be able to fight all alone. They have to find help, not only in fighting force, but also in knowledge how to fight the beast. 

The story is told from Pamon Kes's perspective, who has to face questions about his identity as one of the Tinukeda`ya, a Changeling, as he struggles to save his master Hakatri. 

Review: I am so happy that Tad Williams decided to return to Osten Ard in order to investigate this epic tale from the distant past. It fully dives into the culture and setting of the Sithi, Norns, and Changelings in a time when they still lived in cities. 

Readers of the series know the antagonist Ineluki, the Storm Lord. In parts, this novel tells also his way to destruction. But mostly, it focuses on the heroic deeds and tragic fate of his older brother Hikatri.

Where the human tales of Memory, Sorry & Thorn was often light-hearted and even funny, you won't find such a thing in this very short novel. It is a tragedy just like Tolkien's Children of Húrin. I don't know if this a tale for everyone, but I loved it even more than the trilogy. 

Both main protagonists, Hikatri as well as Pamon Kes, are relatable, positive characters who are developing in different ways: Pamon Kes needs to redefine his place within the society, and Hikatri has to face his tragedy which changes everything. 

The novel covers a lot of ground, the killing of the dragon just one of several parts, followed by a long journey through Osten Ard.

Two things I'd love to see changed: One, the logical but abrupt ending. Second, the length: my heart longs for far more than only 271 pages while my brain tells me that the tale's density can't be better. In a time of doorstoppers (looking at you, Sanderson!) this book honors the tradition of Earthsea's short novels. 

Wow, now I've touched Tolkien and Le Guin within one single review. I've been up to assess this as a four star book, but looking back I upgrade it to five stars. Because it's just the kind of thoughtful Epic Fantasy I love to read.
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Another welcome addition to the Osten Ard world. A recommended purchase for collections where the previous titles are popular.
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Always great to read Tad Williams! His world building and fantasy masterworks level is amazing! The story of this book add some depth and some substance (not that it needed it since it already had a lot of it!) to the unique universe this author as created. A good way to discover him or to go deeper, but definitely a must read for fantasy lovers!
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