I wholeheartedly agree with another reviewer here on GoodReads: Will someone pleaaaaase take the thesaurus away from mr. Donaldson!
I'm good at reading english, even if my active producing of this language is plain horrible. My vocabulary is very large and divers for a non-native speaker. But these books are just impossible to read without a dictionary. Well, let's be grateful he keeps repeating the dictionary words and it is a long book :-)
I listened to this book while working. The audioquality is OK, what I didn't like is that it was another narrator than for the other 8 books. With a totally different accent. Please don't do that! Characters in a book get a lot of their personality from the narrators voiceacting and changing this is disconcerting.
This is an intense book. Starts awfully slow (and I mean SLOW) but when it at last gets going, it is one big rollercoaster. Donaldson does it again: He knows how to get us interested in a story in which you sometime are really really really annoyed with the main character.
How many times I'd loved to grab Linden Avery in her collar and shake some sense in her.
He does that too in the earlier books. Tomas Convenant is a real ass in the first one. Detestable. And while he gets better in the next books, he annoys the hell out of me. But this makes the main characters so incredibly realistic/believable.
Just imagine: you are transported from this world to a fantasyworld, with strange beings and people who insist you are going to save them all. Would you just step up and say, right, let's start cracking?
No. Well I wouldn't. I would doubt and unbelieve ;-) and doubt some more. Myself and everybody else.
In fantasy, this aspect of human psychology is highly underlighted. Real people doubt. Most of them derrive their strenght from doubt. Or fail. We all just fail, all the time, on some level. Failure may lead to great things. Because of failure and doubt we strive to be better, but really... we strive to 'not be in charge and be responsible for ending the world'.
Well, the world is ending, in this book. Absolutely. Just not in one big flash (what a short book it would have been). Linden is totally believable, annoying as she is, filled to the brim with crippling doubt and rage and, yes, despair. Whatever she's done, everything leads her to more despair. She strives to be better and just can't. This is very refreshing.
I love the character of Covenant, what he's become. Reading his parts is a joy. I missed him :-)
The adage "Joy is in the eyes of the beholder' is absolutely true. This book is rutheless on its characters. I've secretly and silently cursed the heavens blue after reading some parts of the book. I've cried and laughed. Stephen Donaldson hasn't lost his touch of creating wonderfull enthralling worlds that take youre breath away. He introduces new vista's he's never visited before.
When the book gets going, I really loved it.
Now that's the thing. When the book gets going. It doesn't for at least one third of the (very large) book. Said third is sloooooooow. Boring boring boring and slow. Some parts of it are necessary for background on later developments, some are good for character building and Lindens slow spiral into despair and rage. But most of it is unnecessary wordiness. Not A Good Thing.
Later in the book there's another "gosh let's have endless slow discussions and do nothing' part. This is what made me give this book a 3 star instead of 4. The actionparts really deserve a 4,5 star, but not the book as a whole.
BTW: I loved having to use a dictionary, whatever I said in the start of this review. It's refreshing ;-) Donaldson has gone far from his crude use of language in his Gap and less so in his Mordant books.