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Why I'm Disappointed in the Last Chronicles
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not think the Insequent are there for deus-et-machina reasons. The Giants convenient appearance, perhaps, but not the Insequent. They seem to be a counter weight to the Elohim. SRD went out of the way to establish a conflict between the two that could be summarized, maybe over-simply, as the competition between those who have to study to learn and those who have natural talent.

The Harrow will prove, IMO, to be vital to the story, the reason for his conflict with the Vizard, who was mentioned on at least two separate occasions, is one mystery I'm looking forward to seeing solved.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Delurking... WOW! Whether or not SRD is my favorite author, I must say that Fatal Revenant was one of the books I awaited most eagerly. But after reading it, I admit to agreeing some with Arenn.

FR struck me as total fanwank. I mean, teasing us with a Covenant, back in time to meet Berek and Damelon, having all seven of the seven words spoken and explained, the Forestal, the croyel, and yes, having Sandgorgons and Giants show up again, etc. But damned awesome fanwank and an improvement on Runes of the Earth. It felt to me like reading two books, and while I loved the first one (dealing with "Covenant" and the trip into the past and the Mahdoubt), the second half of the book dragged (at least, I had a hard time reading through it).

And I don't like Linden much. (And here I used to think I didn't like Thomas Covenant...ha...)

And the Insequent...hmm....the one really "new" element besides the Skurj (which seem to be basically monsters). In what way are they "insequent"? I've been wondering if they somehow came into being with the caesures. The Elohim are supposed to be Earthpower incarnate. Are the Insequent time/temporal paradox incarnate? Sentient caesures? They look "human", yet clearly have peculiar powers (apparently not Earthpower). I trust SRD to make them more than just dei ex machina with funky titles (actually, they reminded me of rogue Timelords - The Doctor, the Master, the Rani, etc....but I watch too much Doctor Who.) (And at first I thought the Theomach was Thomas Covenant himself, transformed in an analogous way to Hile Troy --- he spoke differently as a forestal than he did as a human, after all).

Maybe whoever suggested they might be from the future is right...If I had to guess, I'd say they were descendents of the Ramen! We already know the Ranyhyn are time sensitives. And Mahrtir did see something odd about the Mahdoubt.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

heh. i had the same thought.

happily, srd is a doctor who fan, so he may well have had them in mind Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:46 pm    Post subject: Couldn't disagree more Reply with quote

I thought FR was phenomenal. I've read and re-read the original chronicles and the second chronicles so many times I've lost count, so maybe it's just the fact that it's "new SRD Land-centric material", but I doubt it. The book races along, and has several legitimate "chill" moments - the unveiling of the 7 words and their meanings, Linden drinking the EarthBlood, the scene at the Krill, etc.

On Linden - of the first 6 books, TOT was my least favorite. I believe this to be b/c Linden was the main POV character for most of it, and she was pretty effing depressing with all she was going through emotionally. Also, I wasn't really ready for a non-TC POV character. Now, however, THIS incarnation of Linden Avery I can get into. She's flawed in some big ways, but she is no push-over. She seizes responsibility for more than herself, which is something TC wasn't able to do until TPTP. She's going about things the wrong way, of course (would be a very short series if not), but I'm enjoying following her along. She reminds me very much of Ripley in Aliens or Sarah Connor in T2. You do not want to mess with this mom. She's putting Jeremiah's safety before the Land/Earth, and that will no doubt really turn out to be a bad thing, but she's doing it out of love so how can it in the end really ruin everything?

RE: disappointment in how much power Linden has accumulated and that this violates what the 1st chronicles was all about...I think this is tremendously enjoyable to read. The point is that having all the power (like Linden) or not being able to use any power (TC in the 1st chron) isn't what's important. We're seeing the other side of the coin here and I'm really enjoying SRD's way of setting up this story.

The Insequent...I can see how Arenn and other posters see them as "convenient", but I am willing to suspend my cynicism there. We were never told who aHKA was and how he got to the one tree and how the haruchai knew of him. We were never told other than in myth-form how Berek learned to use Earthpower. SRD may not have conceived of the name Insequent, but I believe he knew there was some other power out there besides the Elohim that explained some of what has happened in the history of the Land. Remember, he has said publicly he conceived the 2nd and Last chron's at the same time. You can choose whether you think he's lying or not, but I choose to take him at face value on that. Therefore he would not have wanted to include details on the Insequent in 2nd chron since he knew they would play a bigger part in last chron if he ever wrote it and would mostly be a distraction in 2nd chron.

FR was maybe my favorite TC book yet, at least in the top 2-3 of the 8, with WGW and TPTP, which, being series-enders have certain advantages. Definitely my favorite non-series ender. It was like a thriller that also filled in a ton of backstory on the Land. I would have felt ripped off if Linden wasn't making huge mistakes in this book - kind of like Covenant's "bargains" in LFB and especially TIW, and his quest for the one tree. In some ways she's everything TC couldn't be in the first two chrons, and yet she's still screwing stuff up. Almost like SRD is saying "see? if I had made TC power-loving it wouldn't have necessarily solved all the problems either!".

Interested to hear reactions. I thought this book was faaaaan-tastic. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CT. Welcome to the ranks of the Linden lovers. Don't let those anti-Linden people get you down.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Emotional Leper wrote:
CT. Welcome to the ranks of the Linden lovers. Don't let those anti-Linden people get you down.


Big Grin I have seen the error of my ways and embraced my inner pro-Linden-ness.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Believer wrote:
heh. i had the same thought.

happily, srd is a doctor who fan, so he may well have had them in mind Smile


Is he really? Cool. Smile

As for Linden, I can appreciate her as a character, but I. Just. Don't. Like. Her. Usually it's the "I'm so awesome, you must love me" "charming trickster" types that I don't like, but SRD is Teh Awesome and can make me hate this crazed Mom-healer freak!

I miss TC. *sob* He'll have to be in the next book, right? Even if it's not as a POV character...
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Isern wrote:
Believer wrote:
heh. i had the same thought.

happily, srd is a doctor who fan, so he may well have had them in mind Smile


Is he really? Cool. Smile

As for Linden, I can appreciate her as a character, but I. Just. Don't. Like. Her. Usually it's the "I'm so awesome, you must love me" "charming trickster" types that I don't like, but SRD is Teh Awesome and can make me hate this crazed Mom-healer freak!

I miss TC. *sob* He'll have to be in the next book, right? Even if it's not as a POV character...


This brings up an important question.

Now that Linden Avery has brought TC back from the grave, is he still a part of the Arch of Time -- Infelice called him Timewarden. He may still be fused with the arch. Which leads to the question, if TC is alive and still part of the arch of time, what would happen to the Arch if TC was killed again? Does injury to TC injure the Arch of Time?

And if it doesn't, what will happen to TC when he dies this time. Will he return to being happy mister Timewarden, or will he be dead for good?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Why I'm Disappointed in the Last Chronicles Reply with quote

Arena, you have put a lot of thought into your critique, and I thank you for it. Certainly, provacative reading. For the most part I have to disagree. Here is why:

Quote:
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.


#1. you seem to make the point that the factors that made the first and second chrons great are required in order to make the third chrons great. Just because there isnt an anti hero (debateable), and there is no power struggle or attainment, and that the land and the people dont share the same relationship as before that the third chrons are lacking. If everything was the same, then there wouldnt be a story.

#2. People trapped in Amber -- The Haruchai have not only shrugged off subservience but have actually claimed mastership for all peoples and moved into Revelstone and are oppressing the entire Land by denying them access and knowledge to Earthpower. If that isn't a change, i dont know what is...

Stonedowners used to practice stone craft, but they dont any more because the Haruchai masters forbid use or practice , and no one even has any knowledge of earthpower. How are they the same as they were in the first chrons?

The ramen don't serve ranyhyn anymore, and some actually ride now. they also have changed, though not as much as we'd predict.

The Urviles now seem to be good, and they get along with Waynhim. How is this not a big change?

The sandgorgons have now digested the raver bits and have moved into the land, and may become a friend or a powerful foe.

we've never seen ceasures, skurj or Insequents either. They are new to us, and represent change as well.

so I don't agree completely with your point that the people and the Land haven't changed. You are comparing how people in our history change with ones who live win a different world. What happens in ours doenst mean it will happen the same there, IMHO.

Rather, Donaldson is showing development and growth and evolution, or how the races and peoples change with the way the world has changed.

#4. The insequent -- I think they fit nicely in with the flow. Yes they are new, but how are they deux ex machina -- what have they jumped in and saved without cost or reason? They have been developed as characters and interact rather than like the appearance of Chronos in Medea, who just swoops in at the last moment to save Medea then takes off again. Thats what Deux Ex Machina means to me. Are they contrived? I think any new race introduced could be argued to be contrived, however the Insequent have been worked nicely into the flow and I dotn have a problem with them.

Quote:
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?


#5 um... because they fit in with the flow of the prior stories? because they provide continuity? I loved it that Kastennessen is in this, as well as roger. I don't see this as a negative. Why come up with all new evils and leave those threads hanging?

Quote:
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...


I also loved meeting Berek, and SRD has been constantly plagued with questions and appeals to uncover the history of the Land, just go read the GI to see.

Quote:

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.


OK so they changed, and you think they should be the same, but then earlier you complained that the denizens of the Land didn't change since the earlier chrons-- what would make you happy?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Theomachy is literally a war between gods, but there's no way in hell SRD doesn't see a connection to God Machine there as well... I can see why he wouldn't connect Anele = elenA as such, but missing the dual meaning of Theomach seems unlike him.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seppi2112 wrote:
Theomachy is literally a war between gods, but there's no way in hell SRD doesn't see a connection to God Machine there as well... I can see why he wouldn't connect Anele = elenA as such, but missing the dual meaning of Theomach seems unlike him.


OK, but my point is, the race of Insequents, In my opinion, doesnt come off as a true Deux Ex Machina. perhaps they appear contrived, or added in, but that isn't the same thing as a deux ex machina. In my opinion, of course.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iQuestor wrote:

OK, but my point is, the race of Insequents, In my opinion, doesnt come off as a true Deux Ex Machina. perhaps they appear contrived, or added in, but that isn't the same thing as a deux ex machina. In my opinion, of course.


I was thinking Theomach in a more of a tool of the gods sense. A Harrow is a farm tool. A Theomach could be a machine of the gods. I didn't feel like the Insequent were DeusEx either, but I think there's more to the names then face value is all (though with SRD when isn't there).
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seppi2112 wrote:
iQuestor wrote:

OK, but my point is, the race of Insequents, In my opinion, doesnt come off as a true Deux Ex Machina. perhaps they appear contrived, or added in, but that isn't the same thing as a deux ex machina. In my opinion, of course.


I was thinking Theomach in a more of a tool of the gods sense. A Harrow is a farm tool. A Theomach could be a machine of the gods. I didn't feel like the Insequent were DeusEx either, but I think there's more to the names then face value is all (though with SRD when isn't there).


absolutely. They give themselves these epiteths, I remember Linden and the Mahdoubt speaking about it. With SRD you can bet they do mean something, have many meanings...
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All in all, I was happy with FR from the point where Linden says "Show me the truth!" all the way through to the ending. And it wasn't just that we got rid of the woeful version of Covenant; I felt there was more to care about in the 2nd half: Linden's healing of Berek's army, the scene with Wildwood and the Mahdoubt, etc.

That said, I have two quibbles:

1) The final scene in Andelain seemed a bit too much like a "let's bring back all your favourite characters!" scene, especially where they insist on the presence of the "Law-Breakers" for no discernible reason.

2) The use of words formerly said that float through linden's mind (i.e., the words in italics) was distracting and confusing, especially since I often forgot who had originally said the words or the context in which they were given. This device was used sparingly in the Second Chronicles, but is used excessively in FR.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have just started to read FR, got to page 31 (Reunion) and the choice of language of Covenant is not typical of the 1st and 2nd Chronicles. I fail to see yet what SRD is trying to achieve. Why did SRD choose to make Covenant swear in this book when in all the other books I believe the worst he said was 'Damn'.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

alanm wrote:
Have just started to read FR, got to page 31 (Reunion) and the choice of language of Covenant is not typical of the 1st and 2nd Chronicles. I fail to see yet what SRD is trying to achieve. Why did SRD choose to make Covenant swear in this book when in all the other books I believe the worst he said was 'Damn'.

regards

Alan


He said "hellfire" quite a bit.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

alanm wrote:
Have just started to read FR, got to page 31 (Reunion) and the choice of language of Covenant is not typical of the 1st and 2nd Chronicles. I fail to see yet what SRD is trying to achieve. Why did SRD choose to make Covenant swear in this book when in all the other books I believe the worst he said was 'Damn'.

regards

Alan



RAFO! there is an answer to your question. Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

arenn:

While my opinion of Fatal Revenant is different than yours, your review is very well written and reasoned. You make excellent points, and do a good job setting out your arguments.

That said, I hope you're not thinking of posting that on Amazon or Barnes and Noble's website. It contains too many spoilers, as Stutty pointed out.

Again, excellent review.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iQuestor wrote:
alanm wrote:
Have just started to read FR, got to page 31 (Reunion) and the choice of language of Covenant is not typical of the 1st and 2nd Chronicles. I fail to see yet what SRD is trying to achieve. Why did SRD choose to make Covenant swear in this book when in all the other books I believe the worst he said was 'Damn'.

regards

Alan



RAFO! there is an answer to your question. Wink


RAFO = ??????

it still doesn't explain why SRD no see fit to start swearing in his books. I have always thoguth that it is the lowest form of trying to achieve something that is better left unspoken

IMHO

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RAFO - Read And Find Out.

There has ALWAYS been profanity in the Chronicles. Sure, the f bomb never appeared prior to ROTE, but "hellfire," "damnation" and the like appeared frequently. To some, the oath "Goddamn" is even more offensive that the f word.
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