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Showing 1-10 of 120 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 265 reviews
on September 8, 2017
Zzzzzz....oh hey, sorry I dozed off while reading this puissant book. It's really just one long, puissant, sad, self loathing diatribe from the puissant Linden Avery interspersed puissantly with very good but ultimately unsatisfying puissant action. Did I mention Donaldson likes the word puissance? Yeah only on every 3rd page. It also seems that every conversation, no matter how great or how small, is worded as a flowery, life or death speech. Even just Linden Avery asking someone if they need to go to the bathroom ends up being an 18 page exercise in self loathing and overly grand speech. My god, if the staff of law can heal anything, if they have hurtloam and all kinds of magical wonders, fruits and foods to heal, why the heck couldn't she just heal her own depression?!?

OK a bit more seriously, I'm a huge huge Donaldson fan of the first 3 books. I read them when I was 10 or 11 and the realism, the grittiness of Covenant as an anti-hero, as pretty much an a-hole just really hit home for me. It was something I had not experienced before in a fantasy book where the hero tended to be painted in broad white and gold gilded strokes of altruism. The 2nd trilogy was very good, but I never quite fell in love with it. Maybe I was older, maybe I felt the 2nd trilogy was a bit disjointed and too fantastical. But I still loved it, just never fell in love. Now with the 3rd set of books it just seems like Donaldson is trying too hard to get that anti-hero feel from characters who have already been proven to be true heroes. They ponder, argue with themselves, loathe themselves, act depressed and miserable and eschew any form of happiness that is possible for them. When there is action it is great, and I can once again see the Donaldson of old come back. But the action doesn't last long and is unsatisfying because instead of victory we get more self loathing and depression.

I'm mostly through the 2nd book of the 4 and feel the same way, more so about the 2nd book although that one has a few great action scenes. I'm hoping against hope that the last 2 books improve and the story moves along more quickly, or at least with a little less deprecation on the part of the protagonists.

Oh by the way Scott Brick does an excellent job narrating, it almost makes me forget you have to pay an exorbitant amount for the 2nd audiobook as he somehow kept the rights to it and it's only available on his website. He's nowhere as good a narrator as Michael Kramer, but he still does an excellent job. He adds a sense of urgency to every passage, which is perfect for when its appropriate, but can be a bit comical during those passages when the characters are completely over the top dramatically in the most mundane scenes. Still, I highly recommend the audiobooks.
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on July 31, 2017
Had already read the 1st and 2nd Chronicles of Thomas Covenant as the author was writing them in my college days way back in the 70's. Was always anxiously anticipating the next installment.
Then a career, marriage and a family. Couldn't seem to find enough time to read then. I recently retired and discovered the author had re-entered the Land with these Last Chronicles and I was elated! Not only that, in this millennia I can order his works from you on my tablet and have it delivered right to my front door! No more driving into town to the chain book store with the overpowering smell of cappuccino to over pay for a book thats been fingered by who knows how many hands! How much better can retirement be? That's why I give 5 stars and will be ordering more "real" printed books from you in my golden years. Sorry, I'm just not into the digital book stuff as I'm rather old school....
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on September 28, 2015
I have mixed feelings about the book. As with everything I have read from Donaldson, he is unnecessarily verbose. He spends too much time on the emotional anguish of the main characters, to the point where if Linden, the main character in the book, has to walk across the room to talk to someone, it could be 3 pages of all the things she has whirling through her head as she does so. Also, I find most of the characters are almost caricatures of real people. Everyone in The Land doesn't act like a real person. They are all fixated on certain ideas, and inflexibly proud and uncomprehending of other views. Every single main character seems ready to die for whatever it is they support. Finding a character or two like that in a book is fine, but it gets tiresome in all of the Covenant books.

That's the bad part. The good part is that The Land is a very imaginative setting, filled with all kinds of wonderful places and creatures. Despite the flaws in the characterization and writing, it is the strength of the setting that pulls me along. I will probably finish the entire series, though somewhat reluctantly. The writing flaws almost make it not worth it. Almost. But I will read on.
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on September 26, 2011
If I read puissance, formication or theurgy again, I think my head will explode! Instead of the brief feeling of accomplishment for knowing what a rarely used word means, the annoyance lingers on long after I put the book down as they are repeated over and over and over. I certainly understand the desire for precision in terminology, but the FLOW and CADENCE of the prose just doesn't fit -puissance evokes power in my mind, alright --Powerful ODOR. Add to that, the introduction of an omnipotent character (Esmer) to appear and miraculously save plot threads that get themselves lost, is intellectually dismissive (I'm just an average reader, but I am certain there must be a critical term for this literary short cut). I'm 450 pages into the book and just needed to vent... I read the first editions back in 1978, others as they arrived and only recently discovered this last trilogy had been written.
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on September 25, 2015
I am enjoying this book on many levels. Detailed layering of each character's motivation with constant exfoliation of insight leading to discoveries of new flavors of inspiration is a signature of Donaldson's style which I have enjoyed in many of his series' since 1979.

This book also rekindles memories of my own coming of age and discovery of the SciFi/Fantasy world. I read "Lord Foul's Bane" in 1979 at the age of 13 during a month long summer road trip with my parents. This was after reading "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and failing at my first attempt of reading "Dune". I bought this book and was captured immediately by this world and the moral struggles that were strewn across the pages. I was hooked and couldn't get enough. As I read through this book, many memories sprung back to me from the story and from my journey that summer with my parents. So my enjoyment of this book and this review is stained with the fondly remembered adventures of a teen.
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on January 4, 2014
I read the first Covenant trilogy when it was originally published and thought it outstanding. Later, when the second Chronicles was published I found it hard to finish that set because so many things had changed in "the Land" that I had previously fallen in love with. But I did complete it and enjoyed that series as well, just not as much as the first series. When Donaldson started releasing this "Last Chronicles" I was both intrigued and disturbed that this might just be away for him to grasp at previous success. Nonetheless I bought the books as each was printed and had decided not to read any of them until all four were published. I wish I hadn't waited! Donaldson weaves the history of the previous six books seamlessly throughout this new series reminding you of everything that has transpired so many years ago. And while the second series seem to be little more than a number of small vignettes pulled together for the sake of making the story, this book seems to be a very well thought-out and very well-planned novel. The characters are absolutely excellent, I love them all (even the ones I don't like I love). The story moves along at a very interesting pace with little time being taken as needed to fill in history but overall a very good enjoyable pace. In my opinion this first book of four shows huge potential and I am absolutely looking forward to reading the next one.
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on March 8, 2014
I'll not get into the "nitty gritty", but I found this 1st book of the last chronicles much like the original book of the whole series, Lord Foul's Bane: mostly exposition but nothing terribly exciting.


I do admire and appreciate Donaldson's EXTREME vocabulary and depth of writing to get into the thoughts and feelings of the characters. I think this is why a movie adaptation of any of his books would be rather difficult, because there's no way any director could translate the inner monologue of either Thomas Covenant nor Linden Avery adequately to live action; there's just too much going on inside their minds. Don't get me wrong; I'd love to see the attempt, but I know it would disappoint.

I also like the the not so brief summary of what happened in the previous 6 books.

I read the 1st 6 books when I was a teenager (I'm 45 now), and I'm hoping Donaldson can again amaze me with these new (to me at least) stories. So far, I'm not disappointed, but I am waiting for that moment in one of these new books that makes me almost swoon, like "Lord Mhoram's Victory", or Covenant's encounter with Nom, the Sandgorgon.
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on January 3, 2014
I began reading this sage in the early 80's when they were at the height of popularity. The six original stories of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever were amazing, gripping and an epic saga. Imagine my surprise when I came across "The Runes of the Earth", my hands shook as I hurriedly downloaded a copy - and it did not disappoint. This story begins with the death of Linden Avery at the hands of Covenant's ex-wife and son when they kidnap her adopted son, Jeremiah. Linden Avery awakens once again in the Land and goes in search of her lost son. Much has changed in the 10 years since Linden's last visit. The Lords are gone, the Staff of Law lost, the Land has been desecrated at the hands of Lord Foul and his minions. Linden plans to save the Land by moving through time to find the Staff of Law. She is both helped and thwarted by the Land's inhabitants, many of whom distrust her. If you haven't already read the previous six, I suggest you do. However, there is enough information in the beginning of the book to help you to move forward without them.
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on January 15, 2017
I was so excited to see the continuation of this set of books. Dondelson has a way of writing that keeps me on the edge of my seat and makes it hard to put down.
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on June 13, 2009
I finally picked up my copy of the Runes, after having read and enjoyed the first two CTC series back when I was in high school.

There is one tiny spoiler in this review, fyi.

As much as I tried to get into the Runes, I just couldn't. I nearly put it down unfinished a half dozen times, because it was just so boring and repetitive. It felt like Donaldson would've benefited from a better editor -- or at least one that was paying attention. Half the book could've been cut for adding *nothing* to character development or the plot.

As for character development, this is a Linden Avery book, not a Thomas Covenant book. While I enjoyed the addition of Avery in the second series, as the focus of the story and the book's protagonist, she leaves a *lot* to be desired. At least with Covenant, he had some excuse for his behavior of inaction (although even that got tiring as the series wore on and he gained a vast amount of new experience and information about how things work in the Land versus his world). Avery's just rather boring and her constant second-guessing herself and internal dialogue isn't insightful or thought-provoking or even heartfelt or moving -- it's just boring.

And here's the spoiler --

I think what clinched it for me was when Donaldson put time travel in this story. I find the use of time travel one of the oldest and most uninteresting plot devices ever devised, because it creates artificial stories and timelines and characters. How are they artificial? Rather than follow a character's (or environment's or plot's) natural progression and development as they grow and mature and change, we get an overused device that throws all of that away. Perhaps it's an issue I have with virtually any story or plot that relies on time travel to tell its story, but it's one I usually can't stand unless it really brings something new to the table (or is the basis for the entire character, such as Dr. Who).

I hope the second book is better, tighter, and doesn't spend pages going on and on and on about all the endless possibilities in Avery's mind. There's a delicate balance a writer must strike when spending time in the character's internal thoughts -- too much and it becomes boring navel-gazing, repetitive and often circular; too little and we don't care as much for the character as we should. Donaldson unfortunately errs on the side of too much in this book, too much contemplation ("Oh, I'm so tired," "Oh my heart aches," "Oh, my son, my son," "Oh, I don't know how to do anything of this"), and so much of what we've already seen (and had enough of) with Covenant himself.

I don't care. Get on with it. Stop thinking so much and just do something! Hopefully the second book in this series will be better.
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