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Why I'm Disappointed in the Last Chronicles
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:52 pm    Post subject: Why I'm Disappointed in the Last Chronicles Reply with quote

This is a draft of a review I've been working on after reading Fatal Revenant.

Why I'm Disappointed in the Last Chronicles

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS

While reading this, please keep in mind that I'm actually a huge fan of the first two Chronicles. In fact, I consider the first Chronicles the best fantasy series I've read. I even liked it better than LoTR. However, on the whole, I've been pretty disappointed in the first two installments of this series.

SRD took a pretty lengthy hiatus prior to writing this. He says it was because he needed to get a lot better as a writer before tackling this material. I'll take him at his word on that, though it should be noted that in this he appears to be imitating his hero Richard Wagner, who stopped composing the Ring after the second act of Siegfried. He then spent twelve or so years composing Die Meistersinger and Tristan und Isolde before returning to Act Three, composing what I think is some of the most incredible music ever written. Given Donaldson is such a Wagner fan, and that a heckuva lot of TC comes from the Ring, it also perhaps shouldn't be surprising that this latest series is a four volume set, also mirroring the Ring.

Now Wagner sets a very high standard here. Does Donaldson measure up in the Last Chronicles? I'm afraid not. Let me detail why.

First, it is probably worth reviewing some of the major things that make the First Chronicles such an incredible series. Then we can contrast with the Final Chronicles.

What are the distinguishing features of the First Chronicles? The one most people note right away is that the protagonist is an anti-hero. That's certainly notable. But I also think there are two other unusual features that are particularly of note.

One of these is the Land itself. I've long noticed that most fantasy environments, despite fantastic creatures, magic, etc., tend to be pretty depressing. Either the hero is an exile from an evil empire (a la Star Wars). Or, if there is a good kingdom and a bad kingdom, usually the good one is immediately under threat and/or invaded, and often there are all sorts of factions showing that the good guys have to fight ass kissing courtiers within their own ranks as well as evil invaders. Little is done to actually credentialize these places as somewhere we should care about other than that we typically don't want to see innocent people devoured by demons and the like on principle.

SRD could have done the same thing with the Land, relying on Lord Foul's innate evilness to sell the place. But he doesn't do that. Rather, he constructs a Land that is perhaps the most desirable and wonderful fantasy place that could exist. And he spends much of Lord Foul's Bane giving us reasons to love it. We're shown the extreme courtesy of the people of the Land, of their love of the Land, of wood, of stone. We learn about the wonders of health sense, earthpower, hurtloam, aliantha, etc. We see in people striving to uphold the Oath of Peace people with the highest ideals of service. This isn't another dreary fantasy landscape, it's a place that matters.

Another is how TC is given the white gold right off the bat. Your typical fantasy novel is a quest where the hero searches for the all powerful artifact. But SRD turns this fantasy convention on its head. I like to think of the white gold as the US nuclear arsenal without its conventional forces. This allows SRD to expore the responsibility and futility of power, one of the major themes of the series.

There are other good things about the series of a more conventional nature. Each story is a self-contained novel. While the series is obviously a whole, it is possible to, for example, read Lord Foul's Bane standalone. Also, there is a rich back story of a heroic "elder days" shrouded in myth and legend. And there's even a sense of ambiguity about the outcome. While to the omniscient reader it is probably likely that the Land is real thanks to the Hile Troy and Lord Mhorham PoV sections, it isn't a guarantee. And to TC it is by no means certain the Land is real. He tries to validate Hile Troy's existence. He tries to find the woman who calls him "Berek". In the end, TC succeeds against Foul by deciding that it doesn't matter if the Land is real or not.

Now let's compare to the Last Chronicles. Firstly, we immediately see that SRD is resorting to gimmickry with the cliffhanger endings. And of course there is no sense of a standalone story in the novels, but rather this is an integrated narratives punctuated by said cliff hangers. The Second Chronicles is also an integrated narrative, but has much more self-contained plots, and ends on a resolved cadence instead of an open one. And of course as always the length has increased. These sort of structural changes immediately put me on yellow alert.

So let's consider the distinguishing features vs. the Last Chronicles

Does the Last Chronciles have an anti-hero as a character? Let's see. Wikipedia lists the following attributes of an anti-hero:

* imperfections that separate them from typically "heroic" characters (selfishness, ignorance, bigotry, etc.);
* lack of positive qualities such as "courage, physical prowess, and fortitude," and "generally feel helpless in a world over which they have no control";[1]
* qualities normally belonging to villains (amorality, greed, violent tendencies, etc.) that may be tempered with more human, identifiable traits (confusion, self-hatred, etc.);
* noble motives pursued by bending or breaking the law in the belief that "the ends justify the means."

Clearly TC is a classic anti hero. He flat out refuses to be a hero. He is diseased. He is a rapist. He's manipulative in some contexts. How does Linden Avery stand up? Well, we know she is a murder, albeit in a qualified sense. She's extremely selfish. She has possessed people and has a willingness to take a bit of an end justifies the means approach. So in that regard, she qualifies. But she's definitely a different sort of anti-hero than TC. In fact, I'd argue that the primary quality that distinguishes her as an anti-hero is that she's just plain unlikeable. In a sense, SRD sets himself a higher bar with her than with TC. With her has pretty much the sole PoV character so far, and no TC to be found, SRD sets himself a bar that is ultimately too high.

What about caring for the Land? Well, by the time of the Last Chronciles, any residual love we had for the Land is certainly under strain to say the least. In the First Chronicles we had a wonderful Land in the present. We also had the knowledge that the Land had been wonderful if not even better in the past under the Old Lords. And we're given views of the pre-Lords kingdom as not a bad place until Lord Foul came along. Then there was the One Forest before that, which still clung to life in some places. In the Second Chronicles, we are shocked to see its condition, which seems an anomaly and one worth of remedying. In the Last Chronicles we are again treated to an unappealing Land, this one even worse than before precisely since it does not seem to be as the direct result of Lord Foul. Also, SRD undermines our view of the past, making the old kingdom sound pretty bad before Lord Foul came along, and showing how much of the Old Lords' Land was a result of outside manipulation by the Theomach. At this point we've got to ask ourself, if anything good in the Land last happened 7,000 years or so ago, what is worth saving? The glory of that world seems long past and putting the Land out of its misery seems a mercy more than saving it yet again would be.

What about the inverted power relationship from the First Chronicles? It certainly does not exist here. Linden has the white gold, the Staff of Law, her health-sense, has used the Power of Command, and now has the krill. She certainly is happy to have that power and isn't shy about using it. This forces SRD into hokey contortions like Kevin's Dirt to keep Linden's
power conveniently at bay. In fact, Linden engages in many typical fantasy quests along the way, finding the Staff of Law, collecting companions for her company, the quest for the Power of Command, the quest for the krill. And of course she has to fight battles against one group
of bad guys after another with little apparent intent other than to cause troble. It's a bit like an extended Dungeons and Dragons game scenario. Now there is some of this in the Second Chronicles too, such as the quest for the One Tree, which is one reason that the Second Chronicles weren't a good as the first, but on the whole it was limited.

So right there two of three key distinguishing great things about the First Chronicles are missing, and the third, the anti-hero protagonist, is somewhat compromised.

More bogosites abound. The first is, as we noted to a more limited extent in the Second Chronicles, the people of the land seem to be stuck in amber. The Haruchai, the Ramen, the stonedowners, etc. are all pretty much the same as when we first encountered them. In the First Chronicles, we are given the definite impression that the world was different in the past. Here the more things change, the more they stay the same. Given that thousands of years have passed, this is patently unrealistic. The rate of change in the last prior to the First Chronicles was vastly greater than since.

Also, SRD strips much of the rich backstory of its mystery by taking us back in time and showing us Berek and the old world directly, plus bringing back creatures such as the Viles and Demondim, who appear to be different from what we would have expected from the original series. This is an incredible temptation for writers pursuing sequels, and unfortunately Donaldson succumbs to it.

He also succumbs to the tendency to recycle the same plot elements from series to series. In this stock approach, we go through the same story as before, but at a deeper or more fundamental reality, with a richer understanding of the "real story" as layers are peeled back. This is seldom as effective as the original, and indeed can compromise the original. (The Second Chronicles of Amber by Zelazny and The Mallorean by David Eddings are classic examples of this). In the Last Chronicles the repetition isn't wholesale, but there is enough of it to grate. Examples:

- The journey from Mithil Stonedown to Revelstone
- Glimmermere
- Another trip to Melenkurion Skyweir, complete with a visit to Caerroil Wildwood
- Trip from Revelstone to Andelain, the persistence of Andelain against the bane du jour
- Kevin's Dirt as a Sunbane analog
- Running into a party of Giants on a search powered by Earth Sight, rescuing the party.
- Recycling of the same characters

This last one is of particular note. Did we really need to run into the Elohim again? And the Ramen and the haruchai, etc. Aren't there any new people in the world? The only folks we run into who weren't associated with the previous novels are the Insequent, who appear to exist primarily to be convenient deus ex machinas. (The name "Theomach" even implies as much). Speaking of, many such events occur or otherwise apparently random and non-predictable changes that radically alter situations.

And of course we dredge up Roger, Joan, Cail's son Esmer, Kastenessan, etc. as minor characters or spinoffs who are now evils du jour. How about coming up with something new and creative?

Again, the Second Chronicles had something of this going on, but the world seemed much more different than what we knew before and we were eager to explore it in its own right. The Clave were like nothing that came before, as was the Sunbane. The Elohim and Braithair had been put passing mentions in the First Chronicles. SRD succeeded in creating a whole new world for us to explore. We've had nothing like that here as of yet.

Donaldson also seems to engage in a large number of retcons throughout the text. And time travel? Come on.

All of these matters weigh on the text, and there just isn't enough good stuff in there to counterbalance it all. The writing is solid as we might expect, but that's not enough to carry the first two installments.

Perhaps SRD will prove us wrong in the last two volumes, but right now I don't see how. To date, I am very disappointed in this series.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the post and comments. This should provoke quite a bit of discussion.

Personally, I think 2nd Chronicles is an order of magnitude better than 1st, but some of your comments about Last Chronicles are relevent, especially about the Insequent.

There are certainly many parallels - the discovery of another group of Giants led by EarthSight comes to mind (I cannot agree with many here who think this is the best group of Giants we've seen yet - none of them compare to Foamfollower or Pitchwife.) But if this is all a dream in Joan or Linden's mind, then wouldn't parallels exist?
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you - I should note that I'm actually a big fan of the Second Chronicles myself. In some respects it is superior to the first, though I still rate the first higher. It is a huge drop off from the second to the last.

It is incredibly difficult to do a good sequel, but SRD pulled it off with the Second Chronicles. Alas, lightnight did not strike twice.

To me the paradigmatic example of a great sequel - and one that actually outstrips the original if you ask me - is Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky. He uses a couple of minor characters from A Fire Upon the Deep to pivot to a completely different milieu, sort of like one of Beethoven's "how did he do that?" key modulations. Vinge also strips away much of what made AFutD so great. Then he proceeded to hit the ball out of the park.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re: . How does Linden Avery stand up? Well, we know she is a murder, albeit in a qualified sense. She's extremely selfish. She has possessed people and has a willingness to take a bit of an end justifies the means approach. So in that regard, she qualifies. But she's definitely a different sort of anti-hero than TC. In fact, I'd argue that the primary quality that distinguishes her as an anti-hero is that she's just plain unlikeable.

TC was pretty unlikable in the 1st Chronicles. More than a few people have given up on the books because they couldn't deal with his attitude-- not to mention the rape of Lena.

Re: This forces SRD into hokey contortions like Kevin's Dirt to keep Linden's power conveniently at bay.

The Despiser's Venom kept TC from simply using the white gold to do anything he wanted in the 2nd Chronicles.

Re: In fact, Linden engages in many typical fantasy quests along the way, finding the Staff of Law, collecting companions for her company, the quest for the Power of Command, the quest for the krill.

Quest for the Staff of Law in LFB. Quest for the Seventh Ward in TIW. Quest for the One Tree in TOT.

Re: Also, SRD undermines our view of the past, making the old kingdom sound pretty bad before Lord Foul came along, and showing how much of the Old Lords' Land was a result of outside manipulation by the Theomach.

The old Kingdom always sounded pretty bad: those people cut down the One Forest before Lord Foul was on the scene. Also, I rather think SRD fleshed out the past wonderfully well. We actually see Berek as a flesh-and-blood human being, dealing with everyday decisions and hard necessities. We see how people discover the reality of Earthpower and their reaction to it! And recall in the original legend the Creator was said to have guided Berek. OK, so the Theomach did so instead. But why should that be a significant change (especially since having the Creator guide Berek contradicted the metaphysical claim the Creator could not touch his Creation.)

Re: The first is, as we noted to a more limited extent in the Second Chronicles, the people of the land seem to be stuck in amber. The Haruchai, the Ramen, the stonedowners, etc. are all pretty much the same as when we first encountered them.

So what? If you visited Australia in 9000 BC and again in 1000 AD you'd have have found very little "progress" among those people either. Our world's feverish progress is the real anomaly, not the static condition of the Land.

Re: Did we really need to run into the Elohim again?

Yes. They are immortal and they are the Earthpower incarnate. Your question is almost as bad as asking "Do we really need to have to deal with Lord Foul and the Ravers again?"

Re: And of course we dredge up Roger, Joan, Cail's son Esmer, Kastenessan, etc. as minor characters or spinoffs who are now evils du jour. How about coming up with something new and creative?

I admit that I find Esmer a bit frustrating. But TC and Joan's failed marriage has been one of the foundation pieces of the story from the first. The ring itself is a token of that. Joan played a small but crucial role in the 2nd Chronicles. And I always expected Roger would eventually become a player too, albeit I did not expect a totally villanous Roger. But I see some major possibilities for drama in the "family reunion" situation that TC may eventually have with his wife amd son.

Re: Firstly, we immediately see that SRD is resorting to gimmickry with the cliffhanger endings.

Strictly speaking, the endings are not cliffhangers: no one is imminent danger of demise. (For comparison, see George Martin's last Ice and Fire book which ends with a leading character being strung up-- that is a real "Perils of Pauline" ending!) Also, SRD did occasionally end his chapters with cliffhangers, even in the 1st Chronicles. I'm sure everyone here can think of several examples.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 2:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand what you have written,,but this slays me..

Donaldson also seems to engage in a large number of retcons throughout the text. And time travel? Come on.

A Major New Element,,that you have complained were missing..you dismiss with barely a thought...I apologize for the dictionary's I use,,but none list the word retcon...
Anyway..I am not with you on just about every thought. I have stated that this work, The Last Chronicles, is not by the guy who wrote Lord Foul's Bane. He has grown, lived and learned and his Humanity, Wisdom, Compassion and Humor is on Full display for us to do with what we will. I see what you have been able to do.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

arenn, that was a very well thought out post and must agree with you on many points. What has changed for me the most is it appears that the newness of it all has worn off. It certainly feels like we've seen this all before - and in fact have. To me, the ending of WGW was perfect in every sense and should have ended there.

Don't misunderstand me though. I though FR was wonderful in every way and loved every page of it but i see where you are coming from completely.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yours is certainly a minority opinion.

I don't get why you are so torqued over the continued existence of characters like the Harachai, Ramen, etc… Why are you so surprised that there are elements of the first and second Chronicles carried over to the third?

On the anti-hero concept; first, you praise the first two chronicles for the introduction of the concept and then you disparage the last chronicles for the same thing. Only this time it’s no good because SRD “sets the bar to high” with it? I thought he set the bar pretty high with the whole rapist-leper thing but maybe that's just me.

I disagree with many of the criticisms you made but am not going to take the time to go over all of them. I'm too lazy and lacking in obsessiveness.

It seems as far as you're concerned SRD is having a very hard time living up to his own reputation. Does this make his latest attempt a complete piece of crap? Your 'review' seems to convey that impression.

I think you are being way too harsh.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting post, that's for sure. Smile

I do agree about the Insequent but only to the extent that at the moment they sometimes appear like that. Until I learn a lot more about them I'm not prepared to say they are definitely deus ex machinas.

I would have to disagree with what you say about Linden's status as an anti-hero. She is certainly different to Covenant but that makes sense (as she's not Covenant Wink), however I actually think all the elements of an anti-hero you listed from Wikipedia you can definitely find in Linden.

* imperfections that separate them from typically "heroic" characters (selfishness, ignorance, bigotry, etc.
She's certainly selfish!

* lack of positive qualities such as "courage, physical prowess, and fortitude," and "generally feel helpless in a world over which they have no control"
Although she shows aspects of being courageous, I think she really is. She's often, in my opinion, flying by the seat of her pants. She spends a lot of her time doubting herself, worrying over things, and although in the second half of FR she appears to find courage--she seals away her heart and goes on a mission to resurrect Covenant--it's really a means towards an end. She wants Covenant because she thinks she's incapable of saving the Land and also, I believe, finding Jeremiah without him.

* qualities normally belonging to villains (amorality, greed, violent tendencies, etc.) that may be tempered with more human, identifiable traits (confusion, self-hatred, etc.)
I think she becomes more "villainous" throughtout FR. Her slaying of the kresh in "Sons" comes to mind. Also, that terrible moment at Gallow's Howe where she feels she understands Wildwood and his desire for revenge. I'm sure there's more examples. I don't think she's a traditional villain but neither was Covenant. And she is definitely tempered by those human qualities of confusion and self-hatred!

* noble motives pursued by bending or breaking the law in the belief that "the ends justify the means."
And her motives are noble. She's a mother. She wants to save her son. And, well, she wants to resurrect Covenant in order for him to save the Land. Risking waking the worm ("breaking the law") is her "ends justifying the means", even if she didn't realise what the actual repercussions of her actions were. Ultimately, she was prepared to do anything to get what she wants.

So, she fits into all those definitions. If your only problem is she's just "plain unlikeable" then...well...maybe you'll feel that way about her at the end of the Last Chronicles. Who knows. But my theory goes: you're not supposed to like her! Wink Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately..there seems to be a confusion in his want for " newness" and that need being filled by characters. There seems to be an inability to find the " newness" in depth and direction of theme, of which he dismisses with a simple..." Come on"...

I'm sorry but,,Wagner took 12 years off cuz he knew he had some maturing to do inorder to do a respectable job with the subject he tackled..or as Donaldson puts it.." earning knowledge". The above review is minimum wage.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to agree with a lot of the criticisms in the opening post. I reserve the right to look back in hindsight when it's all over, of course; maybe Donaldson is still setting up for the last two books. (Let's face it; Covenant was a pig through the first two books, and worse; it's only TPTP that redeems him and establishes the first trilogy as really incredibly good overall... the other two books had many many great things about them but without the last I think we would not have realized just how great they were.)

I think the Second Chronicles was marginally less than the First, but only marginally, and there are many great scenes in it...

Here... blesh. The Insequent do feel too much like _dei ex machina_, there's a bad case of "let's revisit all the high point sites of the last two trilogies without paying much attention to why they were high sites", and while I really liked the visit to Berek's camp I still think that time travel is very hard to pull off right (and Donaldson isn't doing it, IMHO) and that teleportation is a really bad idea in fantasy novels. Part of the "feel" of a pre-industrial world is travel time, which also gives us time to learn with the characters and grow with them.

Roger Covenant had to be in the Third Chronicles, and the Prologue did a really great job. Everything since then was pretty much downhill, as far as I can tell (the deception of Roger-as-Thomas was a great conception, but the payoff was abysmal, and the execution sort of meh.) I would have liked to see Roger's take on the Land, a new vision of it, and instead what we basically get is yet another mouthpiece for Lord Foul. (Whose cameo so far is... interesting and suggestive, but not much more than that.)

I think that part of the problem so far is thematic: the quest to save the Land, in both trilogies, was intimately tied into the protagonists' own psychology. Right now, it looks as if Linden's psychology is going to mean the deliberate sacrifice of the Land to her own needs. This is, shall we say, not an optimum solution either in-character or authorially, or for the reader's satisfaction. (Again, I reserve the right to change my mind if it turns out that the first two books are building up to something that makes it all worth it... but I thought the same thing after RotE and FR still leaves me at the same point: when is Linden going to realize what she's doing and get her psyche turned around and realize that she can't save herself without saving the Land, or at least making an effort.)

And, yeah, while the Land should have changed again I don't like the way in which it's changed. Apathy is almost worse than desecration -- and it's a lot harder to make your readers care about apathy.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello, long time lurker,- since before 'Runes...'-, long time fan, first post.

After finally reading FR, I also have mixed feelings about it. Although I can't agree with all the reasoning as expressed by arenn, I do understand his feelings. It was fantastic to be able to finally dig into FR, after looking forward to it for so long. 'Runes...' to me, never lived up to the urgency and malice of its prologue. Ofcourse I've enjoyed reading FR, blasting thru it in a couple of days.

Note, the cover could have been different, but I think that the book itself is beautiful.

SRD put a lot of pieces on the chess board and started moving them.

However.

-There were way too many last-minute rescues for my liking.

-I agree with the mixed blessing of the Insequent. They even got a moment in the story where it's explained why we didn't learn about them before.

-Kastenessen and the Skurj interest me less after reading FR.

-The timetravel I still dislike as well as the convenience of the Insequent (or TC in the Arch) cleaning up the ramifications of its use. I am not sure of its necessity with already so many dangers present in the Land.

There's more, but I need to collect my thoughts.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Why I'm Disappointed in the Last Chronicles Reply with quote

arenn wrote:
the Insequent...exist primarily to be convenient deus ex machinas. (The name "Theomach" even implies as much).


That's brilliant. How could I have missed it? Excellent review.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi - I'm actually on lunch break so can't write too much. But I will say that I don't mean to slam the Final Chronicles. Rather, I just don't think they measure up to the first two series, which, as I said, I rate as the best fantasy I've read. A middling effort from SRD is still better than most fantasy authors on their best day.

Regarding Linden, I agree she is an anti-hero, just of a different variety. I thought it was risky to have TC as anti-hero in the first book. Donaldson even goes out of his way through the Lena rape early to make us dislike him. Yet in the end it works out. Similarly, I think it is actually a pretty bold move to make Linden the PoV character, since if anything she is even less likeable than TC. I just haven't come around to seeing her good qualities yet like I did for TC.

I also agree with the poster who talked about the thematic problems with the work. I'm struggling to understand the philosophical core of this work, so any insights as to themes would be appreciated.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suggest,,to consider " Time" as a character or as a etheral being in the manner of Lord Foul himself,,thus the many dimensional attributes of " Time" maybe perceived in Donaldson's theurgy. So far " time travel' has all been back into the past..with attenuating consequences,,much like a person having a reverie, slitely sad in the "would of beens" and "could of beens. " When the author turns into the future,,then you will know Hope is the focus...Notice, so far,, none of the characters are able to see into the future. .(.a slite amendment here).. Anele has traveled "foward" in Time,,and,, he is considered the "hope" of the land..So the major clue is already there to see.

you mite also take alook at my post in Wordy Words Thread concerning the word Coign used in the opening line of FR..The element or property of Time is again , at the core of the olde word's usage.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

have to agree with arenn here, the last chrons do not measure up to the first 6 books. the style of writing is not the same, some of the items that SRD has brought in are IMHO crazy. I have to agree, time travel, what possessed him......


cheers

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re: The Insequent do feel too much like _dei ex machina_

I agree only as far as the Harrow's undoing of the Demondim-- that felt like a cheat. The Theomach wasn't really a deus ex machina: he hauled Linden right into the middle of a whole lot of stuff; he did not really save her; he left her find out about Roger on her own. And the Mahdout's rescue felt quite natural to the character and the story, no more deus ex machina than the Unfettered Healer healing TC in TPTP or Findail snuffing out Kasreyn's croyel in TOT.

Re: teleportation is a really bad idea in fantasy novels.

It plays a common role in ancient myths (though not under that name) where gods and sometimes other mighty beings can translate themselves across space instantly.

Re: Apathy is almost worse than desecration

If I have one prediction to make about the rest of the story, I think those Woodhelvenin saved and healed by Linden and Liand are not going to be apathetic any longer. We may well see a revolt in the name of the Earthpower against the Haurchai's mastery.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Why I'm Disappointed in the Last Chronicles Reply with quote

arenn wrote:
the Insequent...exist primarily to be convenient deus ex machinas. (The name "Theomach" even implies as much).


Does it? I always took Theomach to come from theomachy: battling between gods (Homer's Odyssey). That's why I thought (as said in a thread somewhere else) that they may be the "children" of the Creator (the race mentioned in that story of the history of the Earth--not literally of course).

But arenn, don't worry. Smile You're entitled to your opinion and it was, of course, naturally going to cause some debate *but* you're entitled to your opinion and it's produced some good debate. Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haven't finished reading this whole thread yet, but I wonder what you plan to do with your draft once it's no longer drafty. If you intend to post it at Amazon or something like that, I urge you to strike those spoilers from it. Even with a "Contains Spoilers" caveat, I would petition to have that review removed from public viewing. Gods, I loved this book, and had I read this review before today :: shudders::

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tonyz wrote:
Apathy is almost worse than desecration -- and it's a lot harder to make your readers care about apathy.



whatever dude Shocked
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think Insequent are the all powerful beings protrayed. They seem to be "specialists". Each one has a area where they excelled but didn't have the fully ability of the Eholim. They were extremely long lived but weren't inmortal. They even would battle each other when the need arouse. They are there to counter the Eholim. but not powerful enough for a all out assault. They They arn't the darkness at the heart but more of a pain in the..(Backsides)

and if your frustrated with the book try reading "A Canticle for Leibowitz"
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