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VINE VOICEon 26 October 2013
"I see you finally decide to turn up then." Covenant observed with a percipient but impenetrable mien of thesauric obscurity.

"Yes," the Creator replied. "I know you expected it at the end of the book, but frankly I was so disappointed I couldn't bring myself to manifest until now."

"But..." Covenant's ring flared puissant argent with a theurgic mention of the krill thrown in to boot. "This was the final book, ever. It has some great action scenes! I fight a raver! Skurj! Cavewights! Masters do loads of kung fu in an epic underground battle! Linden Avery stops moaning! What wasn't there to like?"

The Creator frowned. "I know there was some really good stuff. The return of the fire-lions was a masterful stroke by Donaldson, and some of the character development, especially for Jeremiah, was actually quite good. But the same old problems remain, don't they? Endless moaning by Linden before the final chapter. The Land feels empty, with a total population of about 20, plus 400 nameless Masters. The repetition of words scoured from from the furthest regions of the thesaurus still grates..."

"Nonsense!" Covenant interrupted percipiently, congratulating himself with a condign simony of guerdon. "And the The Last Dark actually reads as a sensitive exploration of what it is to undergo mental and physical abuse and emerge as a survivor. Surely that deserves 5 stars, not a paltry 3?"

"But what about the many, many pages given over to describing how to mine some rock?" the Creator countered. "Geology isn't that exciting to start with, and although Jeremiah is supposedly capable of making a prison to trap the creator, why doesn't he make one for the skurj? Or the Ravers? Or Sandgorgons? Or Foul? Or the Worm at the World's End? Why does no-one think of this? And why is there a time limit on stopping the Worm when Linden and Covenant can time travel? It just doesn't make sense, not when compared to the excellent conclusion of the Mistborn trilogy by Sanderson, for instance. There, everything falls into place with an engineered precision. In The Last Dark it looks like Donaldson is desperately scrabbling around to pull thinks together after letting them fall too far apart in an effort to make your situation seem hopeless. And while we are on the subject, Memories of Light was a far better epic finale too."

Covenant's mien was troubled. He fingered his ring, which probably did something argent and theurgic again. "Ok, I see that there are flaws. But don't you think that you should cut me some slack? This is the final book, ever. Foul is forever defeated, the Land is safe for eternity and Linden is finally happy. That is worth a 4 star review, is it not?"

The Creator's wrath swelled. "Hellfire! But it isn't the end, is it? As soon as Donaldson runs out of cash, it will be so easy for him to resurrect Foul and we'll have to go through it all over again, won't we? Foul was comprehensively defeated at the end of White Gold wielder and you ascended into the Arch of Time, but you managed to bugger that up, didn't you? And his defeat this time is even less convincing. This is why I'm so depressed."

Saying that, the Creator vanished in a cloud of Despair, only to appear in the epilogue of the 9th and final volume of: The Really Final Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, No I Really Mean It, Honest, This Is It Now, My Pension Fund Is Big Enough, Seriously, No Going Back, Kings.

Covenant sighed, and decided to wander off to the One Tree again to cheer himself up.

Meanwhile Lord Foul/Steven Donaldson (who had always been aspects of one another) joined together and laughed, all the way to the bank.
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on 20 January 2014
I used to love the First and Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, but I am afraid the Last Chronicles really did not work for me. Disjointed, uninspiring jaunts into the past history of the Land, and flat or unsympathetic characters - mainly Linden Avery and her eternal angst, but the supporting characters never came to life either.

The Last Dark is an improvement on the previous 3 books, and things do actually seem to happen in this one. Unfortunately it has to deal with the situation set up by the previous 3 books. I don't think Linden Avery was quite as irritating as she has been before, but unfortunately it seems Jeremiah Avery is there to take up the slack. The end seemed a bit pat, and I wasn't convinced by the final resolution.

It's a real shame, there are some elements that could have been great if given a proper chance to develop - the Haruchai turning into the Masters, Roger Covenant as an antagonist, and the Land itself was sketched in, with no sense of place or culture.
Instead the threat for the Worm at World End's never felt particularly real, despite being told many times that this was The End. And all the Sandgorgons in the world seemed insubstantial compared to Nom from the Second Chronicles. Even Lord Foul only seemed to telephone in his lines.

Overall I wish he'd left it at the Second Chronicles. Just as the Star Wars prequels tainted the Original trilogy for me, the Last Chronicles has knifed my good memories of the First and Second Chronicles. I do wonder if I went back and read the first 2 Chronicles whether I would still like them - they shared the constant agonizing and tortured prose of the Last Chronicles, but I remember the story being strong enough to forgive them.

Save or damn? Reluctantly I'm going to have to damn
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on 14 May 2016
Hard work. Nothing like the genius of the first two chronicles. This was a tough read and took months to get through, as I just got bored and then would occasionally pick it up... then four/five pages (kindle) just to walk up a hill or something equally as trivial would bore me again.... I found it just dull and anti-climatic...... didn't care about the characters (apart from the haruchai, those guys rock) and was praying the worm would squash them all to end the pain sooner. My affection for Thomas meant I felt I had to finish as the first two chronicles were, and remain, my favorite books, the last chronicles I'm afraid a big let down.

My biggest worry now is Moksha just hoofed it in the excitement so another 'last, last chronicles' could be on the cards if the Donaldson coffers run low...... and I'll have to read it!!!
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on 24 October 2014
For me it's been the long awaited end of a 35 year journey that was as emotive and gripping as Lord Fouls' Bane was to a 20 year old back in 1979. I literally raced through the first three books back then ( I still have them; battered as they are) and I have re-read all of the original six many times as captivated by them each time as I ever was. I remembered the buzz of anticipation when it was announced Stephen Donaldson was 'returning to The Land' and while it has been a more arduous wait for the last four books to be wriitten and published, for me he didn't disappoint and again I have been enthralled and immersed as I ran through the whole gammet of emotions these books just seem to elicit from you right to the very end; where as ever, Donaldson builds the climax superlatively, yet still leaves the best till the very last . It is that simple fact that make 'The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant' one of 'the' epic fantasies of all time. Goodbye Thomas, I'll miss you.
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on 20 October 2013
For me it's been a 30 year journey which has at last come to an end, and this final book has certainly delivered the goods. I regularly re-read the earlier Chronicles and am now on my second read of The Last Dark. These are not books that can be read once and left on the shelf. The Last Dark satisfactorily answers all the questions posed in the nine earlier chronicles in an excellent and thrilling way. There is real edge of the seat stuff here, and parts that make you reach for the tissues. A very fitting culmination of a long journey.
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VINE VOICEon 16 March 2014
The tenth and final volume of the chronicles of Thomas Covenant has a lot to live up to. The irritating features of the recent series are still present: a lot of talking and over-thinking between events; clumsy lists of who's standing where and who's following who (not aided by the cumbersome names of Giants); and vocabulary that varies from the actinic and pellucid to the lambent and crepuscular. (?)

However, the ratio seems better in this volume, the exotic language better worked-in, and a great deal happens in the way of spectacular confrontations. The moping Jeremiah comes into his own, and his personal resolution is cunningly organised. Linden and Covenant settle and work towards their separate goals with suitably final determination. Donaldson's plotting is smart and his moral philosophy of compassion and responsibility is trenchantly insistent. The climax is multi-stranded and exciting, though I was a little less comfortable with the epilogue, for reasons I couldn't disclose without spoilers.

One glaring peculiarity throughout this closing series of four books is that we see almost none of the ordinary inhabitants of the Land. Linden fled from Mithil Stonedown without meeting anyone but Liand, and later passed through a destroyed village without us hearing a single line of dialogue from the villagers. Apart from those close encounters, the thousands or millions of folk who populate the place remain invisible. It means that Team Covenant seem to be working to save a wilderness reserve rather than a living country - very different from the First Chronicles.

That aside, this volume and this series is a grand achievement, not only as an epic fantasy adventure but as a gymnasium of morality, a turbulent sequence of compelling thought-experiments that challenge the reader as well as the characters to find the best outcome. Impressive, involving and satisfying.
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on 1 November 2014
I began reading the first chronicle back in 2007. Whilst this has not been a continual process I have been steadily working .y way through the whole series. Never has a book so entranced and infuriated me in almost equal parts. I have grown to love the writing style of Stephen Donaldson and I do realise why a more concise book would not work. However, if you're looking for a speedy pick up and read then this book/series is not for you. (To be honest if you're onto this book you'll already be aware of this). The last chronicles I read entirely on Kindle which is a darned sight easier than sitting with a dictionary beside you. I don't consider myself an idiot but even I found at least one word per page that I struggled to grasp the meaning of.
That aside this book is the perfect ending to, what many will surely describe as,
one of the greatest fantasy series of all time.
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on 19 October 2013
It is a rare occasion to come across a series such as this, these 10 books have been a fantastic journey and number 10 did not disappoint as a finale, which can often be where things go horribly wrong. I will never leave spoilers but if you have enjoyed the rest cannot see you hating this one. Wraps up the last chronicles and the whole series nicely. The enjoyment of reading Donaldson's broken heroes is a unique experience. This is fantasy up there with the greatest, such as, for me, a song of ice and fire, the dark tower, Lord of the rings, to name 3. Finished this book in 3days of heavy reading, you know it is great when you read to the point of exhaustion, eyes burning & just can not stop for love of the book.
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on 10 September 2014
For those of us who have been through the whole series this is a welcome end to a long haul. Donaldson manages to say in three pages what other authors could say in three words and the interminable introspections and frustrating repetitions of the key characters internal turmoil are finally ended. However this is a much tighter final book and the narrative moves a long at a better pace than the previous three books. As a result it is a more satisfying read and manages to be more uplifting than the previous novels in the seemingly unending grief of Thomas Covenant and his followers. I always thought that this final series of books was a series too far but it is worth the effort to finally bring everything to a conclusion. Not for the casual reader but the fans of Stephen Donaldson will be well pleased.
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on 19 October 2013
Couldn't wait for the last book in the series. I have been reading these books at least once every 2 to 3 years, just to immerse myself in the wonders of the land and its peoples but mostly by the changes that are wrought in Thomas Covenant. The story telling of Stephen Donaldson carries you along to a place and characters that are fully believable.
The Last Dark delivers.
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