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The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever: Lord Foul's Bane; The Illearth War; The Power That Preserves Hardcover – May 1, 2002
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This complete "Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever" contains the books "Lord Foul's Bane", "The Illearth War" and "The Power that Preserves". The first chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever is a fantasy series written by Stephen Donaldson. The series follows the principle character of Thomas Covenant who is a disillusioned, bitter and very cynical writer afflicted with leprosy. Shunned by society, Thomas is hit by a car and awakes in a strange alternate world full of strange creatures and magic. Truly an original creation, The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is a truly classic trilogy that ranks alongside Tolkien. Literary Awards: British Fantasy Award for Best Novel (1979), World Fantasy Award Nominee for Best Novel (1978)
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Top customer reviews
I've always felt that the best chapters of any Thomas Covenant book at the ones where Covenant is not present and the story can shine through. The Land is richly detailed and the native characters and storyline are compelling. This book, IMO, is a step down from The Illearth War, which had a great story, dropped Covenant from a large section of the book, and had him be a lot more easy to relate to in his sections.. I had higher hopes for the conclusion of the Trilogy - not necessarily for Covenant to be largely absent again, but for his character advancing to the point where he fit in with the story better. Instead, the story grinds to a halt far too often under Covenants repeated denials, excuses, and tirades. Despite this, however, there is still a compelling story underneath and a satisfying resolution to the trilogy. My four star review comes from a combination of a five star review for the story and a generous three star rating for the writing style.
I find that the author has gone out of his way to use overly abstruse, recondite and daedalean words...Rephrased, he went overboard with his thesaurus. I have a deep vocabulary well to draw from but this author has reached the point of just being ridiculous with his word selection. I don't mind a sprinkling of new terms here and there but chapter after chapter full of "see how intellectual I am? do you know this word?" cockiness gets really old.
I read to feel good, I read for wonderment, I read for excitement, I read for knowledge, I read for thrills and I read for beauty...all of which are glaringly absent from this book.
Hopefully I'll finish this but more and more I want to delete it and move on to more promising literature. Will there be an update? Stay tuned......
*Update and conclusion*
I think, for me, the two star rating is fair "I don't like it". After my initial harsh review, I pretty much stick to it. Although shortly after writing it the book finally took a turn of sorts to more interesting ground. I found that after 14-15 painful chapters, it was about 8-9 chapters too late to salvage my indulgence. It seems that so much time was wasted needlessly in the head of Covenant that so much omission was made as to "world building". Yes certain scenes really did come to life and without giving it away, the horses were simply beautiful and their land quite vivid.
One cannot help but to draw stark parallels to Lord of the Rings. Although I try to give literary freedom to the author under the premise of 'common themes'...Sort of like a blues song sounding, for the most part, the same as the rest with slight variations. But it is without a doubt that certain things were quite glaring and Tolkien-esk.
I found the pre-climax battle a bit clunky in its delivery and the culmination of that scene very abrupt. I had to read it twice and thought "and thats it? just like that?". I also found the ending to be quite stark and uninspiring. As far as endings go, there was nothing left dangling, no opening to compel me to the 2nd in the series. This saddens me as I see so many glowing reviews that I want to like it, I want to get into it but just feel quite dissatisfied. As far as my ongoing interest in the rest of the series, I feel the story delivered much too,little, much too late. Perhaps if I'm feeling a bit saddistic I may give number 2 a try, but for now I have so many other books lined up that I think that it most unlikely that I will.
If you liked or loved the book, nothing is meant as an offense to you. Simply my take and your mileage obviously varied.