Against all Things Ending

HareBrain

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Anyone else reading/read the third book of the Last Chronicles? I'm about 300 pages in, and not sure what to think of it. Sometimes I want to fall to the floor and beat my fists against it, screaming "Why won't something happen??!" I can't read more than fifty pages at a time without starting to feel that the inner workings of my head are getting stuck together with tar (maybe the result of all the unfamiliar words whose meaning I can only guess from context because I don't keep a dictionary near the bath).

And yet, if someone were to offer me fifty quid to stop reading it forever, I wouldn't accept. Despite a pace that makes the upwards push of the Himalayas seem like a rocket taking off, I find it hugely compelling. Odd.
 

GOLLUM

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Well one either tends to love or hate Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series. I happen to be a great admirer of Mr. Donaldson on this one. I agree the latter books in this major series are difficult to get ones head around but as you say strangely compelling. I suspect this is as much to do with Donaldson's skill as a writer and storyteller as anything else I think. Unfortunately NO I am not reading this at the moment, although I do have my copy and hope to read it this year.

It will be good once the final book is published and the story of Thomas Covenant comes to a kind of conclusion.
 

HareBrain

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Well, something did happen during my reading last night, and it was worth waiting for.

I've been trying to think why this book is so compelling. I think part of it is that it expands on a world and history I've been familiar with for over twenty years, and which at times made a strong emotional impression on me; but also perhaps because Donaldson doesn't compromise. There are no concessions to what most people might think of as readability in this. I think that has the effect of making it feel true, even solid.

I didn't really get on with the first two books of the Last Chronicles, but I wonder now if that was because I didn't adjust to Donaldson's way of storytelling, which I think has become more detailed since the earlier trilogies.
 

GOLLUM

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For me the earlier novels were focused more on pure storytelling and had less of an emphasis on the magical systems and in particular technical concepts than these later novels. In this respect they remind me a little of Janny Wurts and her current series Wars of Light and Shadow.

I agree that Donaldson writes in a uncompromisingly gritty almost bleak style that certainly lends a greater air of believability to both the storyline and the characters populating it.

I may now wait until the final volume The Last Dark is released in 2013 before reading the final couple of novels in the series. I'm a patient fellow it seems...:rolleyes:

It's good to see a few others here who are also fans of Thomas Covenant....:)
 

Simple Simon

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I've bought the book but not yet started it.

GOLLUM said:
I may now wait until the final volume The Last Dark is released in 2013 before reading the final couple of novels in the series. I'm a patient fellow it seems...:rolleyes:
Damn! I thought it was a trilogy. Here was me thinking I was at the finish line.
 

GOLLUM

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I feel the opposite I never want a favourite series to end. Mind you I only discovered Donaldson's Covenant about 6 years ago.
Hey slowcoach!....:D It's more than 20 years now since I first discovered the magic of Donaldson's Thomas Covenant. I suppose this admission is proof of my ageing carcass....:rolleyes:

@SimpleSimon: Sorry to be the bearer of such tidings but at least you are on the home straight with only 1 more book to go...:)
 

hedgeknight

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First read Lord Foul's Bane in '84; been a fan since. However, I have no desire to read The Last Chronicles, being fully satisfied at the end of White Gold Wielder. I figure it can't get any better than that and I have plenty of other books and worlds and writers to explore.
 

Rahl Windsong

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I read this book about a month ago now and I have to say I think this is the worst book of the series. Mr. Donaldson's constant use of big words that are rarely used in the english language makes the read even more of a chore and I really did not care if I finished the book, though at the time I had nothing else to read and I did finish it. It really is to bad because this was one of my favorite fantasy stories and Against All Things Ending has basically ended this series for me, before I read any more of it, if he writes more, I will definetly get some other oppinions first.
 

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I've just downloaded this for my kindle and will start reading shortly. It's been getting mixed reviews all over the place so I'm approaching with some caution. Will let you folks know what I think in a couple of months what I think (it will probably take me that long to get through it).

On a brighter note - it seems that the selection of Fantasy and SF has improved greatly where the kindle is concerned. Good news for all us e-book users:)
 

Foxbat

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Well, I’ve finally finished this book (a bit quicker than I expected) and I have to say that I enjoyed it. Ok, it’s not up there with the first Covenant trilogy but it’s still a damn fine read.

I certainly found the first five chapters a bit of an ordeal. I also reached for a dictionary quite a few times.

On Linden Avery – I don’t understand the animosity shown to this character by readers reviewing this book elsewhere on the web. As far as I’m concerned, Donaldson has always pounded and ground his characters into the dirt. He deconstructs them in the most callous fashion and then re-assembles them into something different. He’s doing this with Linden. He’s not doing anything other than what he normally does with his writing and, if anything, then that in itself would be a more valid criticism in my opinion.

Donaldson brings the book to an end with quite a cliffhanger that has me already searching for the publication date of the final instalment.


On the whole not everybody’s cup of tea but, for me, it’s not too bad at all.:)
 

PrinceAshitaka

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I've got to say I really enjoyed Against All Things Ending.
But I really had to read it twice to fit it all in.. The Last Chronicles as a whole have a different feel to them than the first and second, and take you to some pretty dark places.
I also don't really understand how so many people have a problem with Donaldson's use of less common words.. I've been reading these books since I was 8 and not even then did I consider going to a dictionary to look up a word I couldn't figure out.
But ultimately AATE is your typical TC book - where a lot of people die and everything looks like it's going to hell. And you care.
The Last Dark is going to be phenomenal..
 

Allanon

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There are a lot of mixed view in these comments and I agree in part with them all.

I loved the First Chronicles, they rank right up there with the best things I have ever read, only being surpassed I think by The Dark Tower, Legend and Deathworld(the last of these I think is just so fun). The second Chronicles didnt work as well for me, I don't know why but I don't like Linden. She whinges to much without getting on with it. Covenant complained all the time but he still got on and kept going. The Final Chronicles is different, it written completely differently to the others but he's a different writer writing about different things although in the same place and characters, if you get what I mean. But I like it, it has brought some more of the "Need to Read" back into my life and I didn't know there'd be a 4th. I'm happy about that, I'm glad it's finishing because I want to know what happens and ultimately all series have to have an end. But I'm sad it's finishing because I'll miss a new tale coming out.

I would however love Donaldson to go and write about The Bloodguard some more in his old storytelling and more descriptive ways as I love them, also he could do a whole series on the giants or the Ranyhyn.

I am midway through this book now and I like it, I think Linden complains too much but that is just something I have to put up with. But I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy it all the way to the end!


Aaaaaaaaannnnnndd Breathe......
 

wookie8472

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i am a struggling writer with only a few poems pub
i've only just bought this collection, and am around ten pages into lord fouls bane. i'm thirty five, and only found out about this series when my mum gave me a copy of white gold wielder. i have been hesitant to read anything which deals with a real world and a fantasy world in a crossover style as i am writing a trilogy in this genre.
after hearing more about donaldsons covenant books, and reading his gap series, i found that my trilogy was vastly different to his. so now i have begun to read the first book in a series that i hope to be worth reading.
i have most of his other books, too, but this series has intrigued me ever since my mum first gave me a copy of white gold wielder, about two years ago...
and now it seems, there is to be a book after against all things ending, i'll have to wait longer to finish this series...
 

Gilgamesh

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First read Lord Foul's Bane in '84; been a fan since. However, I have no desire to read The Last Chronicles, being fully satisfied at the end of White Gold Wielder. I figure it can't get any better than that and I have plenty of other books and worlds and writers to explore.
That's actually not a bad idea. If it wrapped up nicely for you in WGW.

It's quite a different state of affairs. The latest series just feels so different.

On Linden Avery – I don’t understand the animosity shown to this character by readers reviewing this book elsewhere on the web. As far as I’m concerned, Donaldson has always pounded and ground his characters into the dirt. He deconstructs them in the most callous fashion and then re-assembles them into something different. He’s doing this with Linden. He’s not doing anything other than what he normally does with his writing and, if anything, then that in itself would be a more valid criticism in my opinion.
I just never connected with Linden. I don't feel animosity towards her, I just don't care for her. There's a difference. Because she becomes such an integral part of the story, it lessens those books for me, as the main character I care about and which the story is named after, is Thomas Covenant.

I actually feel like I care less about a lot of the characters. In the original series, SRD forced you to care about the Giants, and the people of Revelstone, and the Waynhim and the Bloodguard.

Maybe that is due in part to what you refer to as grinding the characters into the dirt. In the earlier books, if you look at the Bloodguard for example they seemed infallible (which was their charm), then SRD turns around and in the later books shows that they are ultimately as fallible as anyone in the land, but seemingly unaware of it. I found that I began to dislike them, they weren't the heroic, on-a-pedestal, type characters that I had grown to love.

There are a lot of mixed view in these comments and I agree in part with them all.
I find this statement sums up my feelings as well. I feel torn. I guess I wanted the books to have the same flavour as the originals, but ultimately they couldn't, not just because the author has matured, the story itself has changed tact and as such the perspective it was told from also needed to come from a different direction for it to work.

It's almost like when your favourite band releases a new album, and although you get their distinct traits (in SRD's case, the vocabulary, the woven tapestries of characters intertwined within the story arc) it feels very different to their previous offerings and it takes a while for it to grow on you.

The second Chronicles didnt work as well for me, I don't know why but I don't like Linden. She whinges to much without getting on with it. Covenant complained all the time but he still got on and kept going.
I think this is the crux of what I was saying earlier. It's not that Linden does anything to create animosity within the reader. I think she is just written in a way that it is very difficult to care about her. Probably because she is so clinical, and distant, based on her childhood and her career.

I would however love Donaldson to go and write about The Bloodguard some more in his old storytelling and more descriptive ways as I love them, also he could do a whole series on the giants or the Ranyhyn.
Tell me though, if he writes about the Bloodguard, in their current guise, having learned all they've learned about themselves, would you enjoy that? I suspect you mean the earlier version of the bloodguard, when the Lords were around...
 

Grimward

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Tell me though, if he writes about the Bloodguard, in their current guise, having learned all they've learned about themselves, would you enjoy that? I suspect you mean the earlier version of the bloodguard, when the Lords were around...
Can't go into this without kind of introducing a spoiler, but let's just say it's an interesting question to pose. Runes of the Earth was kind of slow and grinding at its start, but Donaldson was resetting the table for those of us who had finished the meal with the 2nd Chronicles back when they were released.

Regarding killing off characters, I agree: Donaldson does seem a bit more likely to pull the trigger abruptly, in the process giving less foreshadowing/warning than he used to (although he never really gave much....see Mhoram's parents in the very first Covenant book....just a little hint in most cases).

I enjoyed AATE, and recommend it heartily to those who've read the rest of the series but are on the fence about this one. Can't really imagine trying to read this without having read what's gone before.
 

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