My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I have to be as doggedly persistent in finishing the series this time as Donaldson surely was in over-writing it. Tortuously tedious, agonizingly slow, maddening paralysis of yet another main character – there is little to root for in Linden Avery, and he does her no favors, and sadly immemorable… It turns out I did read this when it came out but only remembered one partial revelation and was only finally able to recognize the actual reveal when it happened. I recall little from the first reading and there is good reason for that.
Donaldson is the master of forbearing the utilization of a diminutive utterance when an obscure polysyllabic synonym will suffice. Oh, his obscurities are not archaic, but they are seldom used, and while a “trademark” the reader has no choice in accepting, they have long served to embellish his stories since his first trilogy. And his skill at description is distorted into parody. I’ve already said tedious, but it is an apt description that bears repeating. This book is hundreds of pages longer than it should have been. Peter Jackson stretched a short novel into three movies (yes, his fan fiction silliness added a lot of extraneous to an already good story), Donaldson stretched a long book into a ponderous tome.
Stoic companions. Paralyzed central character. Maddening internalizations. Even more maddeningly rushed denouement. Add in the introduction of a new set of players of varying and considerable powers, who profess an interest in the outcome of the play yet had no appearance in the previous two series when the outcome played quite dire, is troublesome (though uncharacteristically sparely explained away.) They seem to be contrivances to draw out an already overly long arc. Perhaps that is why the last trilogy has four books. [Note: I rarely summarize fiction plots, mainly because I think it unfair to the author (there are plenty of people who do for those on the hunt, and there is almost always a teaser blurb.) And I think it unfair to the reader who, like me, dislikes spoilers.]
I know I have only read 16 pages of the next book (that I recall, along with 47 words into it, Donaldson drops one of those trademarks), and I also know I remember not reading more. I need a break to concentrate on some educational reading, and two advance review copies, before I attempt the next. But this time, I will finish the series.