I've been a fan of the Thomas Covenant series since the books first emerged some thirty years ago, so I'm sure anyone kind enough to actually care wha..Show More »t I have to say here would need to take that into account as they read this.
My personal view is that anyone contemplating reading (or listening) to this book/audiobook should read the first two trilogies before embarking on this series. I say that even though Donaldson provides an outstanding summary of the first two trilogies at the beginning of "Runes," probably sufficient to get a new reader/listener up to speed. Still - you will miss a lot if you take that approach, even though Donaldson continues to provide background information as "Runes" unfolds.
I read "Runes" when it first came out a couple of years ago. Like most Donaldson books, I found myself rushing through the read to "see what happens next." I decided, before reading the second book in this series, "Fatal Revenant," which has just been published, to listen to (instead of re-reading) "Runes" because I was afraid I had missed a lot during that first, rushed reading. I definitely found that I absorbed more detail and therefore enjoyed the story much more than the first go round, and I'd therefore highly recommend the book-on-tape approach to anyone.
I'm not sure my comments will be helpful to a new reader of Donaldson's writing, but that being said, "Runes" is as good as anything from the second Covenant trilogy (which I personally consider a quantum improvement over the flawed but still entertaining first trilogy), and equal to the "Gap" series in terms of action and intrigue.
Definitely worthwhile for a long-time fan - probably worth a shot for a new and curious reader as well
A fantastic book! Enjoyed reading it in print and was excited to see it on Audible. Lots of action and angst. As usual Mr. Donaldson's use of langua..Show More »ge is beautiful and flowing. He creates complex characters who are filled with despair but fight for beauty and truth. Unlike many fantasy novels which are just a fun read, Mr. Donaldson's books offer unique perspectives that are thought provoking.
I regret that Scott Brick did not read this version because I think he is perfect for the series. Tim Gerard Reynolds does a nice job, but it seems strange to me that some of the characters sound like they have a vaguely Scottish accent.
If you have never read one of the Thomas Covenant books before, DO NOT READ THIS ONE FIRST. You really have to read the entire series - preferably the two series before it as well. This book starts with a "what has gone before" introduction, but trust me it will not make any sense. I am perplexed that only 2 of the 3 books in the current series are available on Audible.
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 f..Show More »irst 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.)