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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 30, 2004
THE WOUNDED LAND is a rich, and somewhat difficult book. It was certainly wonderful to return to the Land, but the book is by far the bleakest of the entire two trilogies. Donaldson clearly had to up the ante to make the book worth reading (and writing), so the despair that has befallen the Land is pretty dire.
Also, even though we get to revisit Covenant, we are 4000 years in the future of the land, and all the beloved characters we came to know in the first trilogy are gone. Donaldson does manage a brief, ghostly appearance by some of them, but they are missed. After all, Covenant is aptly named an ANIT-hero, and he is tough to like. So Donaldson, while also showing us how horrible things have become in the Land, has to also give us new characters to care about.
This time, Covenant brings someone with him from our time, the doctor Linden Avery. But she carries lots of baggage herself, and is also tough to warm up to...although she brings out a soft side in Covenant which is sorely needed. The author does a good job of introducing new characters to join on the new quest to save the Land from Lord Foul's machinations. Sunder and Hollian, two villagers who have learned all the history of the Land incorrectly, have their eyes opened to the truth by Covenant, and their plight of realization and acceptance is quite emotional. The character of Vain, a creature developed by the ur-viles to help Covenant, is fascinating and holds many secrets. I won't tell you too many more, because the book holds some delights in store.
But it isn't easy. The first half of the book feels a bit repititive, as Covenant and his growing band struggle to cross the Land to Revelstone (echoes of the first book), and we kinda get the point early on that it isn't easy going. But things really pick up once Covenant goes to Andelain and then on to Revelstone. There are some exciting chase scenes, one in particular dealing with The Grim, a malevolent "happening" sent to destroy the group from the false lords of Revelstone.
Donaldson has become an even more florid writer. His vocabulary is formidable...mine ain't too bad, but there is at least one word per page that leaves me scratching my head as to its definition, and I swear he's just made up a few. You can tell what they mean by the context, but they are distracting. He doesn't believe in subtle feelings...these characters are going through earth-shattering events, and they don't feel things mildly. They are torn, "riven", etc. etc. I still love the books, but sometimes it is a bit much.
If you've read the first trilogy and liked it or loved it...then you MUST read further. If you haven't read the first trilogy, don't start here. Go back to Lord Foul's Bane. And if, by some chance, you didn't care for the first trilogy, I don't think anything here will change your mind. You either love the Land and Donaldson's way of taking you there...or you don't and won't.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 25, 2000
Whereas many follow ups to successful first works seem to be written purely as a vehicle to squeeze another dollar out of a good idea (see Terry Brooks' second go with the Shannara series and David Eddings' Mallorean), this beginning of the Second Chronicles logically follows the First. I read this book many years ago, and am as impressed with the concept of a "Wounded Land" now as I was then. Some refer to this work as "Dark Fantasy". I see it more as realism...within the scope of a fantasy setting, of course. Donaldson has a feel and touch to "The Land", an affiliation so natural that his third person omniscient sounds exactly so. Upon reaching the end of this trilogy--The White Gold Wielder--it is obvious that the story has not yet reached completion. We can't hold our breath, as it has been some 16 years since White Gold Wielder was published, but we can bid our time. As impatient as it seems, at times....
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2000
Donaldson starts out his new series by allowing hints of the Land to leak out into the real world. Then he transports Covenant and Linden Avery to the Land. Only this time, the Land is sick. I won't say how or why, but the result is a very good, mildly depressing dark fantasy. Covenant is more accepting of the existence of the Land in this book, but Linden is thrown into confusion by it.

This series is more her story than Covenant's. As Covenant was ill physically when he first entered the Land, Linden's wounds are on the inside, and she struggles with them throughout the trilogy. There's a lot of symbolism and allegory one can read into these books. Or one can just enjoy them as a story of a small group of people trying to restore a Land that once held joy, but is now the kind of place where a man would have to sacrifice his own family to feed a village. Good fantasy in a well-developed world.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2000
Stephen R. Donaldson takes a bold step in `The Wounded Land' by allowing the existence of `the Land' to trickle out into the real world. He then transports not only Thomas Covenant there, but also a new character `Linden Avery' who offers a different perspective to the adventures they subsequently encounter. Thomas Covenant in this series seems more at ease in the Land, and less resistive to the event transpiring around him. Linden is confused by it, and endures her own personal turmoil throughout the series. This time the Land has declined to a low ebb, filled with suffering and death. The people have long forgotten their technology of living with the land, and have been demoralized to an unthinkable level by comparison with the first series. Perhaps this is the authors subtle expression and symbolic account of the decay in our own present society reflected in this fantasy world? It certainly carries with it a great deal of truth when you examine the comparison. Nevertheless, Donaldson continues his expertise with his incredibly creative characters and magical beings. He interweaves a great mix of plots and subplots and ties this series in at various points to the previous one, making it a very interesting and exciting story. This is the second chronicles of Thomas Covenant ( I recommend reading the first series before starting on this one), and it sets the stage for great adventure in the following two books. You will really become a Donaldson fan with this series, and find yourself engrossed within its pages. A great book and a very good story.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2007
If you have read the other books in the series, you sort of know what to expect. Covenant gets transported to the Land where Lord Foul is back to his old tricks. Unfortunately Covenant always gets transported to the wrong place. Covenant is weak and helpless and his misfortunate companions drag him from point A to point B, then to point C while being attacked by various evils. Evil prevails and innocents die by the score, while Covenant always just manages to evade death. Covenant's timidity results in either the under or overuse of his power, which usually results in the deaths of more innocents. Somehow a few of the good guys manage to survive to fight another day.

The good news is that Covenant is not his usual whining self in this book. The bad news is that he has brought along a pal, Linden, to do the whining we are so used to. Covenant has become the Peter Sellers of heroes. He always blunders his way through a situation, but manages to end up with a successful solution.

One thing that I really hate about the whole series is the Ravers. Donaldson has created 3 immortal evil beings that keep coming back time after time. When their host is killed they simply take over some other creature or person. I hate it when a super powerful creature, weapon, form of magic, etc. is created in a story, then can't really be put into full use, because it's use would obviously end the story. Face it, if the Ravers really wanted Covenant dead he would have died in book one. They could take over one of his companions easily enough and cut off his head and his stupid ring finger while he slept. The all powerful Ravers appeared time and again in this story in various forms taking Covenant to the brink of death time and again only to back off instead of easily finishing him off. Why? The only reason is so that the series can continue to another book.

This book is somewhat dreary and depressing like the others, but there is enough interesting stuff happening that it is pretty entertaining. If you plan to read it, you had better keep a dictionary handy. Only book 2 of the series comes close to this one for the number of incomprehensible words used.

I actually liked this book the best of the series so far.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2003
The Wounded Land is the first book in the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. In the first excellent trilogy, Covenant ultimately triumphed over the evil Lord Foul and brought centuries of peace and prosperity to the Land. Unfortunately, Foul was not destroyed, only forced to retreat and lick his wounds for a while. But surprisingly, Foul finds a way to strike at Covenant in his own world. This leads to Covenant returning to the Land, accompanied by a rather bitter and serious woman named Linden. Sort of a female version of Covenant I guess, but unlike Covenant her strength stems from a couple tragic childhood events that hardened her to emotion.
Covenant returns to the Land (where about four thousand years have passed) to find it shockingly wasted, as if the Apocalypse itself had hit it. The change was caused by the Sunbane, a sinister creation of Foul's. Covenant spends half the book just trying to figure out what the heck went wrong and how he can turn things around. Fortunately he finds that he can unleash the wild magic at will, or at least whenever he's upset (sort of like Nynaeve's channeling block in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series).
Each book of the first trilogy had a major resolution at the end. The Wounded Land is difficult to evaluate on its own because there is no real resolution or even climax. About two thirds of the way through the book, Covenant's party embarks on a major quest that clearly will not be completed by the end of the novel. The ending isn't really climactic, but merely segues nicely into the sequel The One Tree.
Donaldson's pace is generally slower in this trilogy than in the first one, but that's not to say that The Wounded Land doesn't contain plenty of action. Covenant barely escapes death a few times. The times when he uses the wild magic are exciting moments, and Donaldson is skillful at quickly heightening dramatic tension. Covenant's stay at Revelstone and his discoveries there are a high point in the novel. The page-turning trek through the treacherous Sarangrave Flats recalls the similar quest of the Bloodguard in The Illearth War.
I haven't read the two sequels yet, but this second trilogy is looking great so far! Highly recommended for fans of simple fantasy with a dark flavor to it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 1998
The Wounded Land is an apt title for this book. For those who have read the First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, this sequel trilogy is as stark a contrast as one author can offer when creating new ideas on a familiar subject. If you are unfamiliar with the first chronicles, I strongly recommend you go read it first to fully appreciate this contrast. Donaldson seeks to create a feeling of revulsion for something loved that has been violated in a way the reader could not imagine or be prepared to face. The living Land is dieing, rotting before the people who live for it. The biggest shock is for the lepor who has come to love the Land, not just for the renewed vibrance it gave him, but because of what it has done to the people. Life, love, evil, vileness, hope and sacrifice are intertwined in a heart wrenching, emotional roller coaster. A must read for Donaldson fans. Some may feel betrayed by the intentional devastation of the Land. Some may feel thrilled by the new adventure. At any rate, be prepared to FEEL!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2003
Thomas Covenant is again summoned to the Land in "The Wounded Land", the first book in the 2nd Chronicles. This time is different though, not only is his return to the Land rought with difficulty and suprises, but someone else has been summoned with him. Linden Avrey, a doctor, is brought into the strange land with Covenant. Together, they face a land that is nowhere close to what it used to be.
Covenant is shocked by what he sees. It has been 10 years since he had been to the Land. But time in the Land passes quicker, and by that time, it has been 3 1/2 thousand years.
Lord Foul has been at work. He was hurt in the last series, but he was not defeated. He is back and his touch is felt almost everywhere. Earthpower is seriously lacking. Covenant can't believe what he sees.
But, with the help of Linden and a few other friends. He begins a trek to destroy Foul once and for all. The first book relays his suprise with the Land and his thoughts on how to fix it.
Donaldson does it again. A great peice of Fantasy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 25, 2004
Ten years have passed since Power that Preserves. Thomas Covenant has had peace, then Linden Avery turns his world upside down. Lord Foul is back, using Covenant's most vulnerable spot to hurt him, giving him back something broken after he's lost it all. To save the woman who betrayed him, Covenant returns to the Land, dragging Linden along. His leprosy has no hope of cure in the new Land; one wracked by Sunbane, but Linden's perceptions are their guide. In gathering the shreds of his past, Covenant makes sense of what has happened, and is determined to fight it. The law has been shattered, so he will restore it, somehow.

At first, it's shocking to see the desolation of the Land, its beauty gone. As time passes, the strength of this new world overwhelms it. If the first series was good, this one is superb.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2007
A great book, an unreserved 4 stars.

On the "difficult read" point many reviewers keep in raising. I've always held the opinion that when writing use the simplest and clearest language of conveying your ideas - so do not use uncommonly used or difficult world when they can be avoided. I've always associated an author who uses difficult words as an intellectual snob.
In this regard the 2nd Chronicle is a lot worse that the 1st, it seems like Donaldson has swallowed a thesaurus.

Just for the amusement of all here are a few Donaldson classics:

Why use "Celerity" when you could use "Speed".
Why use "Mien" when you could use "Expression".
Why use "Filigree" when you could use "Delicate Pattern"
And...
Why the use "Tintinnabulation" when you could use "ringing of bells"!?!
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