Top critical review
Zzzzzz...oh hey, if you are into constant and lengthy diatribes of self loathing and depression
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.