Giant of a series, when it comes to film please call I will be waiting.
Cronicals of Thomas Covenant
I Will Be Waiting
I read the first series of "Thomas Covenant" books when they first came out, about 20 years ago. I remember finding them slightly irritating, but finishing the whole series anyway.
When "Runes" came out, I thought a long time before buying the audio book. Though my experience with the first 6 books had not been so great, I was also in high school at the time. I've changed quite a bit since then - and I thought it possible a more mature reader might appreciate the series more.
Well, I guess I haven't changed enough - "Runes" is truly an awful piece of work. The characters are angsty, helpless, frustrating ... and predictable. You *know*, without any need for forshadowing or introspection, what they will do long before they act (or fail to act, as is more often the case). Not that "Runes" lacks in the introspection and foreshadowing department. Inner dialog goes on for passage after passage, but still leaves many of the characters feeling flat, rather than giving you any insight or making you care about them.
The writing is also poor, surprising from someone who has been in the business as long as Donaldson. The florid prose comes off like really bad poetry at times. Donaldson uses a lot of descriptive language, but it is almost always cliched and trite. It frequently sounds like a parody of really bad romance novel language.
Think really, really carefully before chosing this title - if you are an absolute die-hard Thomas Covenant fan, and can stand the horrid writing, then you may find pleasure in the continuing story of The Land and Foul's plot to destroy it. But just like Donaldson's characters, you too must pay the price of despair and desolation as you suffer through the tortured landscape of cliche and bad writting, before reaching a pay-off that most of us won't find worth the trip.
If there was ever a book I wish I had bought in hardcover, it's "Runes" ... I could have returned it after 20 minutes of reading and asked for my money back.
This book is not as good as the original series was...seems some of the magic was lost..but having said that, I listened to it all and still enjoyed it...I will probably get the next one.
It's been nearly 20 years since the last time I read the Chronicle of Thomas Covenent and if feels like I skipped time and have come back home to the Land again! It's a must read for any Donaldson fan. I'm so glad it's in audio.
Obviously its not great literature like Tolkien, which it borrows from, but it is far more entertaining than Robert Jordan"s wearily drawn out muddle.
I have not not read the print version
Mr Donaldson has woven a vast world in The Land, not only that he has managed to rebuild and reshape The Land throughout all of the series of stories in the Thomas Covenant chronicles. I am able to visualize the people and environs of his stories with clarity. I love that he gives all of his characters flaws and foibles that make them truly reluctant heroes with depth and breadth to their personalities that you rarely see.
I have listened to many stories that Mr Brick has narrated. His voice is rich and captivating. He brings the story to life with tone, timbre and inflection, not relying on creating a special voice for each character. I really like that, because he can deliver the emotion of the lines without being distracted by trying to speak first in Bob's voice than in Mary's. When listening to an audiobook for several hours it is easy to get lost from some readers monotone. Mr Brick does not loose my attention and I am carried along the story with his readings. His voice is comforting, like listening to accounting's by an old friend.
Mr Donaldson has the skill to keep my interest because his stories move from tension to calm and back again with a rhythm that keeps my interest.
Mr Donaldson has a great vocabulary in his writing. He uses rarely heard words in his story, such as Auguries. My only problem is that he will use that same word several times throughout the story when something less impacting will work just a well. For me this gives the word and it's usage less strength, and when he uses it a third or fourth time, it just annoys me in the moment. It is like hearing the same word in the same sentence, as in "he was back on his back in the back outback."
More But Less.
The first two trilogies seemed more epic to me. After listening through to the 3rd part of this recording it dawned on me that only five days had passed in Land-time from the beginning of this book to around the middle. I'm not saying it's slow moving, but dang. So, what we have is more of a story that involves characters that I've loved and read about since I was 17, but the story doesn't seem as important as the first and second trilogies conveyed. Still a good fantasy story but not as consuming.
Absolutely! I've invested a lot of time in Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery. I don't intend to quit now. You should probably be warned though: Audible does not have the second book of the final set (Fatal Revenant) in their store. However, if you are as much of a Scott Brick fan as I am, you may want to consider getting it from his website, Brick By Brick - it looks like he may own some sort of licensing rights about who can distribute this recording. Kind of pricey, but the alternative is to read the book while imagining Scott's voice.
He understands the characters in this book. His performance of the Haruchai is what I consider to be spot on. Aneal's affliction is excellent as well.
Not like in the first trilogy. This is a good start to a familiar story - I'm not expecting too many surprises, though.
Fans will probably consider this a must read. Some of us who have waited decades for the conclusion of the series will also fall into this category; I'm still a fan! New fans: beware of dismissive reviews! As an old time Land Lover, I've needed the years between publication to digest and reread the first 6 books to understand and appreciate the Land. I've had the time to reflect on the motivations of the main characters. Some readers write this off as a series of books about a rapist, but that is way too simple. Donaldson's characters are complex and their reactions are usually unpredictable, much like most humans. You probably won't want to plow through all these in quick succession - let them mellow and age. You'll know when you are ready for the next one.Enjoy!
As a reader Scott Brick is awesome. Stephen R. Donaldson has great ideas, but his execution has much to be desired. However, it is worth is for the ideas.
The problem here is that for some reason book 2 of this series has not been released in audio. There is no way I will ever get anymore books in this series unless book 2 is released in audio.
First, let me say that Donaldson is one of my three favorite SF authors for use of the English language. Along with Lovecraft and Gene Wolfe, they form a triad against which I gauge almost everything else I read. This book continues Donaldson's masterful manipulation of English.
The story rather parallels the beginning of the Second Chronicles. It's been ten years since Linden Avery redeemed The Land from the Sunbane, some 3500 years in The Land. Her life has drastically improved since she returned to Earth. She has a good job which she enjoys and has adopted one of the children who maimed their hands in Foul's fire in The Land. The story opens with the appearance of Roger Covenant, who wishes to redeem his mad mother from the mental hospital Linden runs. For some reason, Avery balks, so he kidnaps his mother, killing some of the hospital staff, and kidnaps Avery's son as well. Linden Avery is summoned back to The Land, but is joined by her son and Roger Covenant, as well as the mad Joan, who is actually inhabited by Turya Raver. Avery is shot through the heart as she is summoned. She heals herself using Thomas Covenant's ring, which she wears around her neck, returning White Gold to The Land, but she is not unique in this: Joan carries the twin to Covenant's ring. Much has changed in The Land. Linden first encounters an inately Earth powerful mad man named Aneal. She looks down on The Land and sees a yellow cloud of smog covering it as far as she can see. She and Aneal are captured by two Haruchai and taken to Mithil Stonedown, and when she awakes, her health sense is dead. She learns that the smog is called Kevin's Dirt, as the Haruchai fear this is the first step in another act of Desecration. Linden and Aneal are held prisoner by the Haruchai who now call themselves the Masters of The Land, until Linden proves she is the Chosen returned to The Land. Aneal, however, remains a prisoner and begs Linden to protect and free Aneal. Aneal refers to himself in the third person as part of his madness. The Haruchai's Mastery is based on the belief that all use of Earth power ultimately serves Corruption, hence, Linden finds the stonedownors ignorant of their history as well as their traditional abilities. She escapes with Aneal during a violent storm and flees to the Southron Range accompanied by a stonedownor and pursued by one of the Masters.
The remainder of the book, Linden finds allies as well as learning that many, many new threats face The Land. Several beings seem to possess Aneal, providing interesting insights into these threats. With two main exceptions, the entire book is set up. It is unfortunate that this vast story does not move the story forward in any truly significant manner. Additionally, Thomas Covenant shows up in less than fifteen sentences in the book. This is the reason I gave the book four stars instead of five.
For those seeking the missing second book, Fatal Revenant, it is only available on Scott Brick's website along with several other books not available on Audible.