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Reave the Just and Other Tales Hardcover – January 5, 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; First Edition edition (January 5, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553110349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553110340
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,320,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Reave the Just marks Stephen Donaldson's return to fantasy. It's been over a decade since his last collection of short fiction, and fans of his Covenant and Gap series have been clamoring for more from their favorite author. This collection includes eight stories and novellas highlighting Donaldson's skill at creating richly defined characters tormented by doubt, pain, and ambition--antiheroes in spectacular and strange dream worlds. Check out this spectacular collection from a master of character and plot.

From Publishers Weekly

Collecting one SF and seven fantasy stories and novellas, this volume presents the short fiction Donaldson has written in the 14 years since the publication of Daughter of Regals and Other Tales. The best pieces are the novellas "The Woman Who Loved Pigs," which vividly depicts the cunning of dueling magicians who alter the lives of ordinary folk, and "Penance," which sets the redemption of a vampire in a well-drawn medieval setting. The SF story, "What Makes Us Human," a Berserker pastiche, demonstrates that Donaldson is stronger at fantasy than at SF. Some of the other entries, such as "By Any Other Name" and "The Djinn Who Watches Over the Accursed," use Mideastern culture, history and folklore to great effect. Though these tales do not reach the excellence of Donaldson's most famous works, such as The One Tree or The Mirror of Her Dreams, they are more succinct and their command of description is superior to that of his Gap Cycle. Donaldson's female characters will continue to irritate readers who expect more complex creations from one of the leading American fantasy writers, but, overall, the book does Donaldson proud.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 33 customer reviews
Donaldson creates some wonderful imagery and characters in this delightful collection of short stories.
Chemiker
Without a doubt one of the best long-form authors out there (admission: I haven't yet read "The Gap into Power" series), Donaldson is even better in the short-form.
A. Snyder
As a whole, they generally suffer from one flaw : they are too long and tedious, as far as I am concerned, apart from the title story, which seems to work ok.
Blue Tyson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Stefan VINE VOICE on April 22, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Stephen R. Donaldson, probably best known for his fantasy epic "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever", delivers his second collection of shorter work in "Reave The Just And Other Tales". Although uneven in quality, there are a lot of goodies here for Donaldson fans.
Apart from the duology "Mordant's Need", Donaldson's work is often serious in tone, dealing with moral/ethical questions. Likewise, the stories in this collection seem to focus mostly on themes like justice, sin and redemption.
Donaldson likes to draw his moral dramas with broad strokes and wide settings. When using the shorter form, the intensity of the moral drama becomes so strong that the tales resemble parables rather than short stories. Specifically in "The Djinn Who Watches Over The Accursed" and in the title story, the protagonists resemble incarnations of ideas, not so much real people. Combined with Donaldson's formal, stately prose style, this often leads to a "processional pace and mood", to quote another reviewer.
Favorite stories are "Penance", one of the most moving and psychologically insightful vampire stories I ever read, and "The Djinn Who Watches Over The Accursed", an interesting and fable-like meditation on being cursed. Other very strong entries: "The Kings of Tarshish Shall Bring Gifts" and "The Woman Who Loved Pigs". The only real clunker in this collection is "What Makes Us Human". It's the only science fiction story in this predominantly fantasy collection. Apart from that, the lighter style makes it seem a bit of a throw-away story. Not surprisingly, this is the oldest story in the collection.
Over all, this is a strong collection. Donaldson, a master of the long form, demonstrates that he can condense his style effectively in shorter works.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. Lawrence on June 30, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had not read a Donaldson book in years, but decided to buy this one after reading the author's preface.
In the preface the author points out when he wrote the stories, mentions how a few of them were written during important times of his life, and even notes that at least one of them really isn'tthat good.
I wanted to read for myself just how an author's craft influenced his own life, and perhaps wonder how his life influenced his written word.
I was not disappointed.
Some reviewers have moaned how the stories are slow or boring. Look elsewhere on Amazon and note how often that charge is leveled. I charge those reviewers with forgetting how to enjoy buildup, foreshadowing, and anticipation.
Few others have mentioned The Woman Who Loved Pigs. I thought, at first, it was very slow, but then got caught up in wondering where it was all going. I grew more interested in it as I went along. Most reviewers probably think the payoff was the confrontation near the end of the story. That is not the payoff---that is the climax. The payoff, which is pure Donaldson, is at the very end, when he describes how things slowly returned to the way they were at the beginning.
Some have charged That Which Makes Us Human as not being very good. Well, Donaldson himself beats you to the punch. Look in the preface. He practically admits it is not very good. I still liked the story. I liked how two people beat a beserker; I liked how they refused to surrender int he face of overwhelming odds. I especially liked how they turned back at the end.
As the cover notes mention, these aren't action stories; these are human stories, tales about the power and might of the individual.
If you want to race to/from work, race to/from vacation, and are hooked on fast-paced computer games, then this book is not for you.
If you want to experience story-telling and the fine art of short stories, then this book IS for you.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Elyon on January 20, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For those of you unfamiliar with Stephen Donaldson (and you should be), he is perhaps best known for "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant," written in the late 70' and early 80's, and widely regarded as a classic of fantasy fiction. Since then he has written "Mordant's Need," and "Daughter of Regals," both fantasy, the latter also a collection of short stories, though neither work possesses the strength or import of the earlier "Chronicles." His more recent work, the dark scifi quintet "Gap" series, remains problematic, and I found myself abandoning the series midway through due to a plot that seemed uncertain as to its heading and a bevy of essentially unsympathetic characters who were unable to capture either my interest or much sense of identification. I was therefore very pleased to read this collection of tales, as once again they amply display the author's talent at using fantasy as a means to explore larger and more existential issues, without the spiraling downward into depravity and cynicism that seemed to dominate the "Gap" series.
This collection of stories is as much a literary effort as an expression of fantasy, the latter used as a backdrop to explore themes of morality and redemption common to all Donaldson's work, as well as what it means to be human. Many of these explorations take place at a metaphoric and symbolic level, demanding close attention and probably benefiting from more than one reading.
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