Compelled step by step to actions whose consequences they could neither see nor prevent, Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery have fought for what they love in the magical reality known only as "the Land." Now they face their final crisis. Reunited after their separate struggles, they discover in each other their true power - and yet they cannot imagine how to stop the Worm of the World's End from unmaking Time. Nevertheless they must resist the ruin of all things, giving their last strength in the service of the world's continuance.
©2013 Stephen R. Donaldson (P)2013 Penguin Audio
The 10th book in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series brings it all to a close (for the 3rd time.) I started the original series in 1979 and the first two Chronicles remain some of my favorite books to this day. Donaldson instantly trapped me between sympathy for Covenant the leper and hatred for Covenant the rapist. The Land and the people in it were amazing and I was forced to root for Covenant the antihero to succeed because the Land was so special: Bannor, Saltheart Foamfollower, Mhoram, the Forestals, the Raynyhyn, Revelstone, Andelain, Soaring Woodhelven – I loved it all. That is, except for Covenant himself, although I was willing to let him slide if he would step up and save everyone else.
Then the second series started and my heart was broken when I saw the devastation that had been wrought upon Land. The pain I felt for the inhabitants of the Land was palpable. All of a sudden I was a fan of Covenant because this travesty had to be addressed and he was the guy to do it. Now I resented Linden because she wasn’t Covenant and had no right to be more important than him. Again Donaldson convinced me to change my mind and root for her to succeed so that she could repair the damage that had been done to the Land. I even enjoyed his wordy writing because I was able to spend more time in the Land that way. Those two series turned me into a lover of Fantasy books.
When the third series started I was ecstatic and pre-ordered the hard cover version of the first book. It didn’t take long for the series to feel like a money grab that was exploiting my love for the Land. The books were full of uber-beings, time travel, and forgettable new companions for Linden. The Giants, which were so memorable in the first two series, had become expendable and boring. The same could be said for the Haruchai and when Linden once again summoned Covenant from beyond the grave I felt like a fool for continuing to read. The third book was by far the worst of the bunch and thus my expectations were pretty low heading into this finale.
But if you are reading this review then you have probably read/listened to the prior books in the series and there is little reason to stop now. Donaldson returns to his old self (too much at times) and once again I found myself rooting for the defenders of the Land. I started to care about the Giants and the Haruchai again and it felt a lot more like the first two series. Donaldson couldn’t resist mixing in more uber-beings, time travel, and “Deus ex machina” but he doesn’t go too far. This book felt more like the original books than any other in the final series and I don’t feel exploited for having listened to it.
As any Giant will tell you, “Joy is in the ears that hear” so if you are a long-time fan know that it is worth being summoned to the Land for one final time. This finale has stirred within me a desire to re-experience the first two series again and I plan to do just that. I still have my beaten up original paperbacks but this time I plan to listen instead of read and have picked up the First Chronicles on Audiobook. (It’s not available on Audible but if you search you will find it.)
Be true Unbelievers!
I have the opportunity to listen to audiobooks while I work, so I listen to a lot of books. Some are captivating, entertaining, educational, some are sleep inducing. And then there are those that are inspired. I'm in awe of the last book in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, The Last Dark... not just the story, which I do love - I love The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, but the narration is absolutely beautiful. I don't think I've ever heard better.
All of the Thomas Covenant books should be made available - read only by Scott Brick. I would buy them all.
Although portions of this book are slow and filled with self loathing and endless introspection of the main characters, this is a fitting end to the Thomas Covenant saga. Of course Scott Brick is amazing in this reading and of this last series, The Last Dark is by far the best book. I initially read and loved the first and second chronicles in high school so I was already invested emotionally to start the last chronicles. In fact, I actually had to pre order White Gold Wielder because it wasn't out yet so when I founded out that Donaldson had written 4 additional books in the Covenant series I had to plunge in. I'm glad I finished them but saddened the story is over.
I've been reading Thomas Covenant since the very first book. The first two trilogies were fantastic and I was really looking forward to the return to the land. I bought the first three books of the final chronicles in hard copy and really really struggled to find anything to enjoy in them. I availed of audibles offer to trial and listened to the audio version of the final book 'The Last Dark'. Unfortunately this was even worse than the first three. In addition to the extremely drawn out plot the narrator was monotonous, unfailing in his excruciating portrait of the pathetic pathos that is abundant in this final series. While he may have been supported by the poor material, the actor could have done much, much more to adapt and to bring some real life to the trudge. Instead he underpinned the bleakness of the story with his boring interpretation. While the word count was certainly voluminous, I really got the impression that Donaldson got tired of the characters and this was brought through in the writing. From another perspective I think he gave into the world perspective which pervades at the moment that "more is good". A mistake.
This book and the final series cries out for a really good editor who could pare the excess away and help Donaldson craft an engaging, exciting, thought provoking, epilogue for Covenant.
Only my love for the previous series (1&2) made me persevere. It shouldn't be like that. Save yourself some life time. If you need to know what happens, read the last chapter, the rest of this series is totally missable.
High school English teacher for 46 years.
Not to have written it.
Yes. Although I did like the first three or four of the entire Covenant series.
The sing-song pattern and almost maudlin tone.
To spend two pages saying although the character doubted what she was to do and remembering five other times she did similar things before sh does it, it INFURIATING!
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