The GAP series

Grunkins

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I'm in between the second and third books now, so I have a lot left to read, but I'm loving it thus far. This is the first Donaldson I've read and he's quickly moving up my list of favorite authors. The characters are very well drawn. We are used to the Han Solo/Mal Reynolds lovable rogue smuggler in space opera, and Nick presents a great twist on that archetype - a megalomaniacal violent mercurial narcissist with literal and figurative scars.

The series is great so far and I've read that it only gets better.
 

Pratfall II

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I like the Gap series so far. Maybe "like" isn't the right word... Angus and Nick and Milos are not very likable people to put it mildly... One complaint I have is one I would also level at the Dune books is that it's all just so bloody complicated... especially the third book... hard to keep characters and motivations straight... Donaldson's characters are brilliant as usual and the universe he has constructed is absolutely enthralling if relentlessly dark... In a way I kind of feel this series almost reads like a critique of unchecked capitalism and neoliberalism... Thoughts?
 

farntfar

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I really enjoyed the Gap series, in many ways more than Covenant; but its true if I hadn't already been a fan because of TC, book 1 of the GAP would have put me off bothering with the rest.
It seems to me that there's a definite theme common to both Covenant and GAP, which is the mess the characters make of things by trying to compensate for the mistakes they've already made. Each attempt to put right a problem they've created in the past just makes things worse, and usually because they over analyse it all.
Maybe I'm just projecting my own faults onto them. (QED!)
Covenant fails Elena by thinking about what he did to Lena.
Angus fails Morn by worrying about what he did to Morn.
Teresa nearly fails whateverisnamewas, by worrying about what she'd said to him earlier and falls under the power of whatevertheotheronewascalled, by feeling lousy about falling under his spell the last time.
The real villain in Donaldson's books is a feeling of guilt.
 

Grimward

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Not to mention a good shrink. As farntfar alluded to above, the amount of character introspection and self-target-practice that inevitably marks a Donaldson book is not to be taken lightly!
 

sozme

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I've heard the 1st and part of the 2nd is the most violent and unappealing of the series. Is that true? And is toned down somewhat in the later installments?
 

Grunkins

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Book 1 particularly is pretty brutal. 2 is less so. They are both very well written and good reads. The next three books are just sprawling space opera of the highest order.
 

Foxbat

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Book 1 particularly is pretty brutal. 2 is less so. They are both very well written and good reads. The next three books are just sprawling space opera of the highest order.
I agree with this assessment. It's worth getting through book 1, the rewards in the following volumes are superb. I believe, since they were originally published, books 1 and 2 have now been combined (making it a 4 book series instead of five).
 

Grimward

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Hear hear. Not to mention that if you don't get thru the original Book 1, you're going to wonder where all of those statements that Donaldson replays in his characters' hag-ridden thoughts came from (well, some of them, anyway)! :D
 

Fried Egg

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I think that the first book is more than just something you need to get through in order to enjoy the rest of the series. It is quite grim but it is an excellent story (the only book that stands on its own) and necessary in order for the reader to fully grasp the complete picture of Angus Thermopile's transformation by the end of the book.
 

Grimward

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No argument here, FE. While Donaldson does the "What Has Gone Before" thing (if I remember correctly) in each of the books, that's no way to pick up on a story line in any series, and certainly not this one. The first book definitely hits you like a sledge hammer to the face, but it's a must read.
 

Grunkins

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The first book is definitely an excellent read. It's a very well written, tight character study in a space setting. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's also not what the average space SF fan will generally have in mind for a first book in a big series.
 

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