Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fatal Revenant, a review.

Hi all,

I have finally finished reading Fatal Revenant by Stephen Donaldson. It is the second book in the Final Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and eighth book in the Thomas Covenant Chronicles. I am a great fan of Donaldson’s writing having enjoyed his superior fantasy writing in the first seven books of the chronicles, and also in his two volume Mordant’s Need series and five volume Gap Into series.

I enjoy the way Donaldson immerses a reader in his character’s heads. He really shows the complex array of emotions his characters are going through. There are rarely one dimensional characters in his novels. But this strength of his work can be overdone when too much time is spent in a character’s head, in this case Linden Avery, and the plot stagnates, as she repeats over and over her concerns and doubts about her next actions. I think Fatal Revenant could have lost 200-300 of it 760 pages with no harm to its plot. 
If a reader new to the chronicles attempted to read Fatal Revenant first, I wonder whether they would finish it. I had to wait until the last few pages for something to happen that will get me reading the next volume. 
There are also too may Deus Ex Machina moments in Fatal Revenant, where Sandgorgons or Giants drop in unexpectedly to save the day. 
I have heard that the third volume is not due out until 2010 with the final volume due in 2012, so I think I will wait until 2012 before reading the third volume. Time lags between books meant I had trouble remembering why some characters were foes of Linden Avery and the land she is trying to protect. The glossary failed to enlighten me.

I hope that the third volume will be a return to form as this volume has put me off high-fantasy for the foreseeable future, maybe even to 2012.


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