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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!
17 of 18 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to The Last Dark the most enjoyable?
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.
Any additional comments?
All of the Thomas Covenant books should be made available - read only by Scott Brick. I would buy them all.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful