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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars defintely worth reading, if you're a covenant fan
Judging from the reviews, the consensus seems to be negative about the Last Chronicles. As a big fan of the previous Covenant books, I can't say I agree though. This series is really starting to stack up. Runes of the Earth was good, not a perfect book by any means, but a decent intro to the new series. Fatal Revenant is much better, it really goes up a notch. I'd rate it...
Published on 8 Mar 2009 by Jonathan Larkin

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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Still waiting for this tale to get good
It seems practically compulsory to start off a review of one of the new Covenant books with the words "I was a huge fan of the first two trilogies" and then follow it up with a "BUT..." I suppose this is not too surprising. Nobody is going to pick up the eighth book of what has effectively become a ten book series if they do not have a fair amount of affection for the...
Published on 5 Dec 2008 by Jeremy Minton


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars defintely worth reading, if you're a covenant fan, 8 Mar 2009
By 
Jonathan Larkin "jonathan_larkin" (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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Judging from the reviews, the consensus seems to be negative about the Last Chronicles. As a big fan of the previous Covenant books, I can't say I agree though. This series is really starting to stack up. Runes of the Earth was good, not a perfect book by any means, but a decent intro to the new series. Fatal Revenant is much better, it really goes up a notch. I'd rate it up with the top 2 or 3 Covenant books.

I like what Donaldson has decided to do with this series - he's revisiting the characters & storylines of the first two trilogies, and then adding some new elements. He's not trying to write a whole new saga - which is good, as this is going to be the last one. It may be nostalgia, but to me, it seems the right thing to do.

I'd also say that there's a greater emotional core to this series, something that was missing from the 2nd chronicles. Fatal Revenant has more of the intensity of the first books. You actually feel for Linden this time - enemies arrayed against her, desperately unsure of what to do, her son's life hanging in the balance and Covenant beyond reach. In the 2nd Chronicles I think she was a fairly bland addition to be honest. This time her character is starting to fill the hole left by Covenant's departure.

There's also a couple of great set pieces in the book too - the confrontation under Melenkurion Skyweir half way through, the sequence with the Mahdoubt aferwards, the ending in Andelain, all must be among the best things Donaldson has written to date.

As with all Donaldson books (Covenant novels especially) the usual elements are at work - verbose / archaic (lets face it, pretentious) language, angst-ridden characters, complicated plots and lots of characters. Its funny that some of the negative reviews focus on these kinds of thing - every single Covenant book drips with this stuff! you either like it or you don't!!

Anyway, if you managed to get through this review, and you're a Covenant fan, then I'd recommend this book, forget the naysayers! Bring on book 3!
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine sequel!, 18 Nov 2007
By 
Patrick St-Denis "editor of Pat's Fantasy Hot... (Laval, Quebec Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fatal Revenant (Hardcover)
I was eager to read the second volume of The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Though a vast introduction, The Runes of the Earth, with its cliffhanger ending, left fans begging for more. Hence, I couldn't wait to return to the Land once more, and see where Fatal Revenant would take this tale.

The sequel begins right where The Runes of the Earth ended. But if you are hoping for a happy reunion between Linden and Thomas Covenant and her son Jeremiah, you are obviously not familiar with Stephen R. Donaldson's work. Revelations are made that will break Linden's heart, and she must find the strength within herself to persevere.

As was the case with the previous trilogies in the Covenant saga, Donaldson's narrative conjures up vivid and magical images. Vast in scope and vision, Fatal Revenant answers many questions that were raised by its predecessor. Indeed, secrets about Kastenessen, the Durance, the skurj, the Giants, the Haruchai, Kevin's Dirt, the Elohim, Roger Covenant, the Demondim, the ur-viles, the Waynhim, and more are revealed. Add to that a journey back into time, the introduction of the Insequent -- a cabal of powerful wizards who oppose the Elohim, a showdown beneath Melenkurion Skyweir, and a lot more, and you have a very satisfying reading experience in front of you!

I truly enjoyed the manner with which the author brought Fatal Revenant to a close, even though it is more or less anti-climatic and yet another cliffhanger. I expect some readers to find this off-putting, but I thought it was apropos to end it in such a fashion.

As always, my main complaint remains that the dialogues often don't ring true. When a vulgar villager uses a vocabulary which would put an English major to shame, something's not right. So expect terms such as condign, sooth, benison, puissant/puissance, oblique/obliquely, etc, to pepper throughout the chapters of this novel.

Given the author's career, I was expecting a bit more character growth in this second volume. And yet, other than where Stave is concerned, there is not much growth to speak of. Still, since Linden and her companions find themselves into dire straits at every turn, this might explain why. . .

One facet of this novel which could have been better is the pace. Donaldson's Covenant books have never been known for their fast-paced narrative, but various portions of Fatal Revenant are sluggish and break the overall rhythm of the story.

Nevertheless, fans of the Thomas Covenant saga should love this new installment. As a matter of fact, you may pre-order this one without fear that it won't live up to your expectations.

The press release claims that the addition of a synopsis of all previous Covenant books at the start of this one makes Fatal Revenant the perfect jumping-on point for new readers, who will supposedly find the story easily accessible. This, I must say, is the biggest lie I've heard in quite a while. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant are a highly imaginative saga that resounds with depth and complexity. As such, it is impossible to jump in at this point without reading the first two trilogy, not if you want to appreciate this tale for what it is -- one of the classics of the genre.

Fatal Revenant is for aficionados who crave high fantasy tales with depth and substance.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Still waiting for this tale to get good, 5 Dec 2008
By 
Jeremy Minton (UK) - See all my reviews
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It seems practically compulsory to start off a review of one of the new Covenant books with the words "I was a huge fan of the first two trilogies" and then follow it up with a "BUT..." I suppose this is not too surprising. Nobody is going to pick up the eighth book of what has effectively become a ten book series if they do not have a fair amount of affection for the author's work. I do wonder if the people (and I am one of them) who are feel " Runes" and "Revenant" are turgid, slow and uneventful may be overlooking the fact that this is not completely unheard of from Donaldson. "Lord Foul's Bane" in particular is one of the slowest, least eventful and most awkwardly written novels ever to launch a best-selling fantasy franchise. "Bane" does have its virtues, but most of them only become apparent when it is considered in the light of the second and third books of the Chronicles. Certainly the cowardice, mendacity and self-pity of Covenant in that first novel is at least as objectionable as anything Linden Avery is guilty of in "Revenant".

I have to say that I found this book disappointing and frustrating. Part of the frustration was due to the book being not completely awful. If it had been totally unreadable I could have simply set it aside and moved on to something else. Instead, I found that the situations Donaldson had created were sufficiently interesting that they would nag at me if I failed to complete the book. Then in the last one hundred and fifty pages the action picks up quite well culminating in a pretty decent cliff-hanger. The last part of the book gives glimpses of the excellent storyteller Donaldson can occasionally be.

Sadly, they are only glimpses. There is nothing in the 1,500 odd pages of the Last Chronicles which comes close to the excitement of the death march of the Warward in "Illearth War" or the battle for Revelstone in the "The Power That Preserves". I feel Donaldson reached a peak of achievement with "The Illearth War", more or less maintained that quality through "The Power Preserves" andhas gone downhill ever since.

[There have been deviations from the trend. The last half of White Gold Wielder is excellent as is the first book of Mordant's Need (the second, sadly is rubbish), and books II and IV of the Gap sequence contain some amazingly inventive and compelling plotting. But generally the books have got worse rather than better, and that strikes me as a pity.]

There are two things which make "Fatal Revenant" a disappointment. Neither, perhaps surprisingly, is the writing. Donaldson has consciously chosen an esoteric style the Covenant books and at this point in the story's arc I think it is fair for him to expect that his readers will either have accepted it, decided to ignore it, or gone out and bought a damn big dictionary. I can live with and even enjoy the abstruse vocabulary. Other things are harder to accept.

The first thing which bugs me is the characterisation and the unsatisfactory effect which the characterisation has on the plot. (Or maybe it's the other way around.) There have been quite a few eyebrows raised at the extent to which the Last Chronicles have turned out to be the story of Linden Avery rather than Thomas Covenant. This might have mattered less if she had not been so dreary to read about. Donaldson has built a career out of self-loathing, damaged and dysfunctional heroes. It's what he does, and when he gets it right the results are pretty good. I'd choose one hundred pages of Covenant over ten pages of Frodo Baggins any day of the week. The historic traumas experienced by Covenant in the first trilogy and Linden Avery in the second are things which make them interesting. The problem is that Donaldson pretty much made it so that Linden had confronted and dealt with her demons by the end of White Gold Wielder and Donaldson does not have anything else to put in their place.

The lack of interest generated by the central character serves to emphasise the lack of interest generated by the plot itself. It is quite an achievement to be bloated and thin at the same time, but Donaldson seems to have managed it. As the books have gone have gone on (and this goes for the transition from the First to the Second Chronicles as well) their geographical, and now chronological scope seems to have expanded, while the human drama seems to have shrunk.

The text of the book and various portentous characters within it keep reminding us of the "peril to the land" but the main reason they have to do this is because if they didn't it would be pretty hard to figure out what the danger actually is. In the First Chronicles we had preternatural winter and Giant-led armies stamping all over the Land. In the Second we have Sunbane perverting the law of nature and the na-Mhoram's grim raining acid over the land. In the Last Chronicles a village gets churned up and some of the people are made homeless and there are some monsters with big teeth that eat trees. Oh Kevin's Watch gets knocked down... which, seeing as how it is about 10,000 years old at this point might have been expected to happen from natural causes anyway. After so many pages I would have expected a greater sense of peril.

Too many of the "good" characters in the Last Chronicles feel like water-down versions of their predecessors in earlier books. We have good hearted Stonedowners and good hearted Giants and we have the Haruchai being 'dispassionate' and 'impassive' just like they always are. And the story is heavily over-burdened with villains who are acting for motives which are intentionally poaque. In the earlier books there is nothing remotely likeable about Lord Foul, but he is certainly understandable. You feel his contempt, his visceral loathing , his need to escape from the Land "which he abhors". You know what he wants, you know what he's trying to do and you know that it is very, very bad. He is a hugely successful, hugely memorable villain.

But in the new book, Foul, like Covenant, is put in the back seat. In his place we have a whole host of secondary villains, none of whom are actually very interesting. We have an enraged Elohim (who does not seem to have any motivation apart from being mad) and we have Covenant's son and his ex-wife (who are similarly devoid of any meaningful motives), we have a couple of plot robots like Amok and Vain only not so interesting, and various other beings, most of whom flit in and out of the text like puppets being pushed in and out of the flaps in a children's puppet theatre. Donaldson might understand what these characters are doing in his story, but I'm not at all sure I do, and by the time I waded through six hundred pages of their cryptic utterances it was getting quite hard to figure out why I cared.

The odd thing is that I probably will look for the next book when it finally appears. Maybe it's just blind optimism, but I am still hoping the Donaldson can somehow turn this around and make it into something truly memorable. If my wishes come true then Thomas Covenant will start to play a proper part in the action, all the complications will start to make sense, and I will be given a story in which characters I care about, admire and hugely respect suffer terribly in defence of something wonderful and magical. Or, I could just give up on waiting and go read "The Power That Preserves" again.
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93 of 111 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nadir of despair, 15 Feb 2009
By 
R. M. Lindley - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
"Hellfire!" said Thomas Covenant.
"What is it?" asked Linden Avery percipiently.
"I've got to pad out the Final Chronicles of myself to four volumes and I only have enough material to fill two," moaned Thomas with a needless flare of theurgic vocabulary.
"What about a pointless voyage to the One Tree? It worked before..." suggested Linden with a further repetition of percipence.
"Yeah, but that was really boring, remember? Why don't we go back in time? That way Donaldson doesn't need to invent anything new and can rehash all his old themes."
"Yes, but even then what will only fill half the book," moaned Linden. "Do you really think he can pad out the rest with trip to Andelain?"
"Only if we introduce an entirely new race who would have seemed to influence over 10,000 years of history of the Land without anyone commenting on them in the last 7 books," Thomas commented with yet another burst of percipience. "We don't have to worry about any decent characterisation, as the current characters are merely two-dimensional foils for your constant whining anyway. If we chuck in a load of new words dredged from the furthest corners of the thesaurus and repeat them ad nauseum then it may fool people into thinking this is a good book." Thomas sat back, pleased at his idea.
"But," worried Linden, "won't over 800 pages of this rubbish send the readers plunging into despair? Especially as Esmer and Anele/Elena spelt backwards have deux ex machina written all over them, meaning that whatever we do nothing will be resolved until the final part of book 4? Surely that will be a victory for Lord Foul the Despiser?
"Ha ha ha ha ha...." laughed Thomas (or was he?) theurgically percipiently interminably....
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35 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 5 Nov 2007
By 
I. Richardson (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fatal Revenant (Hardcover)
There is always the peril when revisiting a classic series, the threat that it won't match up to its predecessors. Well, I have to say that this volume in the final series is wonderful and overcomes that threat in threat in spades Gripping and a real development of the characters. And also some very thrilling episodes.

This could teach the writers of some of those endless fantasy series how to make a story move forward and deepen instead of languishing in a morass.

If you love the Covenant books, you won't be disappointed with this one.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Overly Complex, 31 Aug 2014
By 
Mr. L. James "Lowe" (Wales,UK) - See all my reviews
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I'm nearly 200 hundred pages into this novel and it reminds me of little butter being spread over too much bread. Nothing much is happening so far, and seems to follow the style of the previous book (Runes Of The Earth) where there is a lot of overwriting with not much happening.

The previous Covenant trilogies seemed like that to me when I was a teenager back in the 80's, but dipping into them now for a quick read and they seem concise and better written compared with what I'm reading now with Revenant.

Whats the most irritating is his turgid narrative where rare obscure words are used when there is absolutely no need for them.To the point of being pathetic. It ruins the flow of the story because I am constantly putting the book down to use the dictionary. The idea and the theme are both interesting and good, and I am glad to be reading them, but this exercise in vanity (using these unnecessarily complex words) is both hilarious and infuriating.

I will update this review as I go along.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perseverance, 5 Nov 2010
It took me a long time to read Fatal Revenant, well over two months - in contrast the new Pratchett took about two days. Was it worth persevering? Overall, yes. The story gradually gathered momentum and there were several points that were gripping. Linden is the core of the book, and at times I could weep for her. Others have commented on Donaldson's ornate prose and mind-stretching vocabulary - I actually like that, but it does slow down the speed of reading. I'm much less likely to pick up a book like this when I only have 5 minutes to spare, and that makes for slow progress.

On the downside, the first 150 pages or so really are rather slow, very dense information full conversations. And there are a few rather contrived plot devices where a solution to a problem is used and then removed for any future use so that Linden's task becomes more constrained.

On the upside, having finished the book there's a sense of coherence and completeness, it had to be this way. Mr Donaldson would no doubt use the word "telic" to describe the course of the narrative.

I'll be reading the remainder of the series, but whereas for Robin Hobb and George Martin I buy the haredback as soon as it's out, I'll wait for the paperback for the next installment of the Covenant saga.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Developments, 13 Mar 2010
By 
Philip C. Mooney (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
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I can understand people having difficulty with the new series; it is simply not the same as the first two. Indeed I have not made my mind up myself, and will not until the series is complete. I've been a Stephen R. Donaldson fan since "The One Tree" came out and I've learned to withhold judgment until a series is finished. I found the first half of the Gap series to be slow, but it laid the foundations well for the second half. The One Tree itself dragged on until an unsatisfactory ending, but the series ended well in White Gold Wielder.

The first series had an overt good v. evil conflict in the Land. Armies marching and fighting and so on. Good was pure good, evil was abject despair. The real struggle was within Thomas Covenant, and the apparent hopelessness of the Land's plight (the temptation to despair). The second series had the corruption of that which was good; Earthpower and nature itself, the good Lords had morphed into the evil Clave. The advent of Linden was necessary because Covenant had already made his choices the first time.

The themes in this series are more complex. The clear cut goodness of the first book is masked (literally and figuratively) by Kevin's Dirt; the Haruchai are thwarting the land's history and alienate the Ramen and Giants, different powers struggle for uncertain ends, and Foul's role in it all remains indirect. The apparent two-dimensionality of the Ramen and Liand keep us anchored in the idealized earlier series while he introduces the further complexities.

It's a bit early to call Anele and Esmer "Deus ex machina" until we see how their plots are executed; in this I have full faith in Donaldson. I do object to the gratuitous use of obscure vocabulary (It took three dictionaries for me to find "surquidry"), and I am frustrated that it takes three years for these books to come out (I write this after my second read of it in anticipation of the next book coming out this year). However, in my opinion, Donaldson is too good a writer to give up on. If you like his stuff he has never truly bombed.

(Spoiler)
And if you're going to bring back the main character, when they are most definitely dead, you have to admit, the way he did it was clever.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The bookworm's teeth are broken!, 5 Feb 2009
I've loved all the books up until Runes of the Earth and this one. All eminently readable.... so why has Mr Donaldson suddenly gone for nigh on unreadable, verbose, pompous drivel? Maybe he swallowed a thesaurus.

I can read for Britain and only once in 40 odd years of reading thousands and thousands of books have I given up on a book....this has the privilege?? of becoming the second.

Runes of the Earth I persevered with as I could see that through all the pretentious twaddle the story was basically still interesting (my mother gave up half way through Runes of the Earth and didn't even bother to open this one). So I optimistically got onto this, the second book, hoping that after reading the previous book it would get easier - boy was I wrong. I gave up after the first couple of chapters in complete boredom and decided to read something else in the meantime that would lighten the load. That was a couple of weeks ago, I've read a dozen or so books since, and I can't bring myself to pick the bloody book up again. It's still sitting there waiting - it may be there for some time to come!!

The professional reviewers must have been very, very bored at the time, or equally pretentious. The world he has created might be on a par (at a push) with Tolkein's Middle Earth, but the writing and readability most certainly is not. Yuck.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard going, 24 Aug 2010
By 
Gary Randell Fraser (Sweden) - See all my reviews
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The book feels long and drawn out, I've been reading the Covenent books since I was 13, and although the first 6 books were great, and I've read them several times, the last chronicles is something that I've been having a lot of trouble with.

I've tried reading this book twice now, and generally get stuck and end up putting it down to read other books, before coming back, and reading a few more chapters, before, again, putting it down for other books. It's drawn out, and it feels that several parts are not really required or serve no purpose.

I hope to finish the book eventually, but I've owned it over a year, and it's not looking positive when I'm not even halfway through yet.
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Fatal Revenant: The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
Fatal Revenant: The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson (Paperback - 5 Aug 2008)
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