Read Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson Online

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He called himself Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever because he dared not believe in the strange alternate world in which he suddenly found himself.Yet the Land tempted him. He had been sick; now he seemed better than ever before. Through no fault of his own, he had been outcast, unclean, a pariah. Now he was regarded as a reincarnation of the Land's greatest hero--Berek HalfhHe called himself Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever because he dared not believe in the strange alternate world in which he suddenly found himself.Yet the Land tempted him. He had been sick; now he seemed better than ever before. Through no fault of his own, he had been outcast, unclean, a pariah. Now he was regarded as a reincarnation of the Land's greatest hero--Berek Halfhand--armed with the mystic power of White Gold. That power alone could protect the Lords of the Land from the ancient evil of Despiser, Lord Foul. Only...Covenant had no idea of how the power could be used!Thus begins one of the most remarkable epic fantasies ever written......

Title : Lord Foul's Bane
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780345348654
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 480 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Lord Foul's Bane Reviews

  • Stephen
    2019-01-15 03:08

    *Soul-saddened SIGH*.....Damn, damn, DAMN...life can really be full of suck. This book really torched my hopes and dreams. NOT because it was nightmarishly horrible (which it wasn’t) but because I wanted it to be so brimming with steaming chunks of mouth-watering awesome that I could write a stinging, snark-filled “anti-anti-Thomas Covenant” review...my rant against the ranters.I suspected I had a excellent chance of really liking this story because most of the criticism of the series revolves around how douchy and unlikeable Thomas Covenant (the main character) is. Not a problem for this reader as I have no problem hating a protagonist as long they are interesting, well drawn and compelling. I don’t generally care if I like them. In fact, some of the most memorable characters I have come across have been ones that made me cringe like a baby before broccoli. I despised Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, Lou Ford in The Killer Inside Me, Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, and even, at first, Tyrion Lannister** from A Game of Thrones).** I must point out that my dislike for Tyrion didn’t last past the second book and I now want him to be my BFF because his awesomeness is off the charts.So I didn’t forsee that an unlikeable main character was going to be much of an obstacle for me. Plus, having already enjoyed the first two installments of Donaldson’s “Gap” series, I knew the man could write so I figured I might be in for a real treat (and then I would show all those Thomas Covenant haters out there)........*cue sinister music*........*end sinister music*Well for the first 70 to 75 pages my plan was working perfectly and I was sitting squarely in 5 star territory and starting to brainstorm what insults I would hurl at the “insult hurlers” in my defense of what I was sure must be “THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD FANTASY CLASSIC OF ALL TIME.” Ah, if only someone would have warned me how wrong I was....I even flew right through the infamous rape scene and had my explanations/defenses already germinating in my caustic little brain. I was thinking ‘granted there is NO justification for rape, but we have seen similar events in other novels (e.g. The Outlander series that so many people seem to fawn over). Also, Covenant did express lingering guilt over this senseless and brutal act and his remorse is something that continues to play an important part in the narrative. Thus, I think his deep regret and loathing of himself for what he did and the “uncontrollable impulse” aspect of the initial crime makes Covenant’s behavior despicable while still holding out the possibility of his redemption. OOOOOOOHHHH take that all you haters!!!!...[BRIEF INTERLUDE]Those of you “Covenant haters” out there that are reading this and know the almost Shakespearean tragedy that was soon to befall me as my initial positive feelings for the book were horribly ripped away from me by the oncoming train wreck of its narrative problems, I can only hope that you can forgive my earlier arrogance in wanting to prove you wrong. [END INTERLUDE]...Unfortunately, shortly after the rape scene when I thought the story was really going to ramp up into uncharted bastions of EPICness, inconsistencies in the narrative structure began to really, really get in my way. Before I can explain, I need to give a brief thumbnail description of the basic plot. Thomas Covenant is a leper....yes LEPER. How cool is that. The man has leprosy. He was a best-selling writer before he got the big “L” and lost two of the fingers on his right hand. He also lost his wife and child who packed up and moved on the greener pastures that had a little less leprosy in them. So Tommy boy has been going through the “mother of all” rough patches when we first meet him. Oh, Oh I almost forgot. The leprosy has also made him impotent....nice bonus!!!So at the beginning of the story, TC is living alone in a perpetual pissed off mood and is being shunned by his entire community due to the whole “leprosy is icky” vibe he is putting out there. Well TC, as a not so subtle FU to the townsfolk, decides to walk down to the power company to pay his bill in person. During this excursion, he has an accident, loses consciousness and wakes up in “the Land” which is the fantasy world in which the series takes place. So far, so good. Well Thomas doesn’t believe he is in a strange new world. He thinks he is unconscious or dreaming or in a coma, etc...He is afraid to take any of the new world seriously because he thinks it will indicate his final break with reality. TC’s grip on reality is all the more important to him due to his leprosy (trust me on this, no time to explain). Anyway, all of this sounds great to me. A fantasy character who doubts the world around him. Bring it on!!!!! WAIT....WHAT IS THAT?......DANGER.........FLASHING RED LIGHTS...........PROBLEM AHEAD....................STEVE’S REVIEW (AND HIS WHOLE PLAN) IS HEADED FOR TROUBLE.......NO, NO, NO, NO!!!!!!!!!.................. FULL STOP....TRAIN WRECK AHEAD.Note: you will have to imagine the sight of my murdered dreams as I could not find a picture that truly showed the horror of my disappointment..... ...Here is where Donaldson completely lost me and I lost all of my hopes of turning the "hate against the haters." Instead, the read became a waking nightmare that haunted me and began slowly crushing my will to live. You see, Thomas Covenant the “Unbeliever” is only partially and occasionally an unbeliever and only when his unbelief can be used to some kind of dramatic effect. Otherwise, he seems to take the world very, very seriously. This is THE central plot device of the entire series and it is more inconsistent than a politician during campaign season. In fact, I could probably open the book up anywhere during the last 300 pages and find an example of this inconsistency, but I will at least mention a few so you know what I mean. At one critical point in the story, TC vows to stop eating because he believes that by starving he will “force the illusion of the world” to be revealed. Sounds good, but do you know what ole TC is doing when he makes the vow to ignore food?.....he’s grabbing the freaking wine skin and taking a swig!!!! HUH??? Food is illusion but I might as well “believe” in the wine.....I need some help on this one. Once I started looking for this, I found it everywhere. I asked myself whenever Covenant did anything...“if you are dreaming and you know it why are you bothering to do X Y and Z.” I NEVER got a good answer. AND HERE IS THE BIG ONE. Covenant doesn’t believe in the world and tells this to everyone who will listen AND YET he continues to follow the course laid out for him by Lord Foul at the beginning of his “dream” throughout the entire time he is there. Again, HUH???? Despite his complete lack of belief in the reality of this fantasy world, TC goes through extreme hardship and turmoil to travel the length of the Land because he “conveniently” tells himself that continuing to move forward is the key. No, No, No, Mr. Donaldson, that makes no sense. The truth is it is just too inherently difficult to have a main character in a fantasy world not “participate” in the story. You got yourself stuck!!Bottom-line, if TC doesn’t believe where he is than he should ACT like it. Don’t just tell us and then occasionally say I won’t do such and such because none of this is real. Be true to your lack of convictions TC because otherwise you just come across as a failed literary experiment, which, unfortunately, is what I think you are.Anyway, that is where the story lost me. I would add to the above major grievance that the narrative was also too disjointed and Donaldson was never able to really make the world come alive, despite the fact that some of the world-building elements were pretty interesting. Thus, while I liked the idea of the Land and some of the secondary characters (especially the giants) they came across too much like set pieces given the rather undefined nature of the world. Overall, I think that Donaldson had a very interesting idea for a story but it just suffered from the fundamental flaw of being almost impossible to pull off in the context of a coherent narrative.2.0 stars. *heavy sigh*

  • Colin
    2019-01-11 03:41

    I've often lamented that five-star rating systems, such as the one used by GoodReads, don't allow for ratings lower than one star. Were it possible, I'd give this book negative stars; I think it actually sucks the quality away from books shelved near it, and generally makes the world a less joyful, less intelligent place to be.You might assume from the previous statements that I dislike this book. Given that "dislike" is a pretty mild, milquetoast term on the sliding scale of affection, you would be wrong. I loathe this book. This is one of the very few novels I've ever literally thrown across a room once I'd finished it, and if I had the chance, I'd cheerfully do so again... preferably at Donaldson himself, were he within range.Why? Let's start with the protagonist -- and please, don't even try to sell me on the notion that he's an anti-hero. Thomas Covenant is one of the most loathsome, self-involved creations ever to emerge from a writer's psyche, and the fact that he himself would agree with that assessment alleviates his repulsiveness not one bit. Covenant is whiny to the point of self-parody, self-pitying to the point of ego collapse, and constantly uses his (admittedly real) hardships as justification for not accepting responsibility for anything... including a heinous act of sexual violence which Donaldson thoughtfully sketches out for us just enough to make sure we don't miss the point: yes, Covenant really does rape a character after she's just healed him of his leprosy.Ladies and gentlemen, Our Hero.Of course, that's merely the most glaring flaw in a book chock full of awful. Donaldson's writing style gives new depth and nuance to the concept of "purple prose," and his "epic" story reads like an overcooked pastiche of Tolkien with some cheery "realism" (for which read "late 20th-century self-involvement") stirred in for flavor. I'd go on further, but honestly, there's only so long I can stomach kicking this dog of a novel before I feel the need to wash the taste of Donaldson's florid writing and his "hero" out of my brain.I regret ever reading this book, and I am absolutely flabbergasted that it has enough readers and fans to have led to seven-count-'em-seven sequels as of this writing. I mean, sure, I know there's no accounting for taste, but damn.

  • Brad
    2019-01-17 03:47

    I read Lord Foul’s Bane once in grade seven (the same year I first read Macbeth and Lady Chatterly’s Lover, and The Lord of the Rings for a second time). It was a good year for me and reading. And an important year for who I would become. But I didn’t know until now how important Lord Foul’s Bane was to all of that.This story has stuck with me in the most amazing ways. After nearly three decades, I recalled an amazing amount of detail in the pages I reread. I remembered minute details about Thomas Covenant’s attitude towards his leprosy, especially when it came to the VSE (Visual Surveillance of Extremities) rituals that sustained him in our world and the new rituals he developed during his time in the Land. I remembered Atiaran’s stone knife and the way Covenant tempted the fate of his leprosy with its keen edge – the edge that never dulled. I remembered the way Covenant – hero? anti-hero? villain? weakling? coward? simply flawed? – raped Atiaran’s daughter Lena. I remembered the diamond draught of Stoneheart Foamfollower and the image of the impaled Waynhim in the Waymeet and the death of the Unfettered One trying to save the beautiful wraiths of the Andelainian Hills and the wedge formation of the ur-Viles. I remembered it all with the sort of clarity one has when they read a book dozens of times or reread a book very shortly after having put it down, but I didn’t expect to have anywhere near the clarity I had all these years later. Thomas Covenant himself has stuck with me. He is frustrating, spiteful, ugly, tormented, cynical, dark, brooding, and infuriatingly self-pitying. He is every bit the Unbeliever he names himself. And Stephen R. Donaldson wants him to be that way. He needs him to be that way. Covenant has to fight his belief in the Land at every turn because the Land is impossible, and as a rational man suffering from leprosy in 20th century North America, all that allows him to cling to his life is his rationality and sanity – no matter how tenuous both are. But the Land –- at least in this first book of the Chronicles –- is unbelievable. It has to be one of the strangest, most frightening, and surrealistic fantasy worlds ever created. Donaldson describes it with achingly beautiful prose (and sometimes that beautiful prose is dense and slow and plodding, mirroring the motion of Covenant through the Land itself) to reveal wonders that are just slightly different from everything we’ve seen before in every high fantasy that Tolkien gave birth to, but Donaldson’s slight shift in perspective, his offering of the place through the decaying lens of a leper, his constant overturning of expectations, makes his fantasy world unique. His giants are not what we’d expect, nor are his wraiths, nor his Cavewights, nor his landscape, nor his weather, nor his incarnadine corrupted moon, nor his magic. And the most disconcerting difference between Donaldson’s Land and the other fantasy realms we know is that his Land feels entirely unpopulated. Covenant never stops travelling as he tries to escape his “dream,” yet his contact with the Land’s denizens is minimal. He passes through four centers of population -- Mithil Stonedown (a town of Gravelingas who are rich in stone lore), Soaring Woodhelvin (a tree town of Lillianrill who are rich in wood lore), Revelstone (the seat of the High Lords), and the Plains of Ra (where the nomadic Ramen serve the Ranyhyn, a kind of uber-horse). He sees great sights, bizarre rituals and happenings, and he interacts with a person here or there, but the first two towns seem home to mere dozens of people, Revelstone seems empty, and the Ramen are so hidden in their poisonous plains that we never get a sense of how many there are. And even those people and races Covenant spends much time with, such as the Haruchai Bloodguards and his Giant friend, are isolated from their vital populations. Two score set out to fight Lord Foul’s desecration. Where is everyone else?! The Land feels empty, and this is another disconcerting moment in an already disconcerting novel. But that’s why I love Lord Foul’s Bane. It isn’t easy. Donaldson challenges us whenever and however he can. And he does it with transcendent prose and unflinching devotion to his problematic protagonist. I’d much rather read Mordant’s Need. It is more hopeful, more lively, more real, but I don’t know if that makes it better. In fact, it probably isn't. If you've read both, I ask you this (especially you Jon): “Is Mordant's Need better?”I really don't know. But I do know this: Stephen R Donaldson is my unsung hero of fantasy greatness. He is up there with the best. But damn is he a lot of work.

  • Gertie
    2019-01-10 00:03

    Wow. I really didn't like this book.I think it was in large part due to the fact that I found the main character so utterly unlikable. Heck, he's even despicable.Some people can read and enjoy a book despite not being able to empathize with the characters; I'm not one of those people. I actually like to care about my fictional characters. It's pretty hard to give a flying fickle about some cranky jerk who rapes a woman in the first book. I didn't bother reading more to find out if things improved from there.

  • Brian
    2019-01-17 00:45

    This isn't so much a review of the book as a response to other reviews I have read by people who hated it, and hated it specifically because they see the protagonist, Thomas Covenant, as unlikeable -- weak, whiny, and self-pitying -- and/or because of the rape scene included in it. My position is essentially this: You can hate a character for many good reasons, but having no clue who he really is, is not one of them.Some readers seem to want to excuse Covenant to some extent as an anti-hero, but I think this misses a larger point: his Chronicles, of which this book is the first, are a kind of anti-fantasy. Oh, this is still escape literature, but it lacks -- intentionally -- the complete abandonment of a Lord of the Rings. It doesn't allow the reader to simply wish themselves into a magical new world. Like (and because of) Covenant, it fights back. It asks the reader to consider the distinction between reality and fantasy, or, as Covenant would put it, between sanity and madness. This tension makes the Chronicles unique, providing a different kind of depth to the story.Briefly, Lord Foul's Bane recounts the first part of an epic battle between the good people of the Land and the evil that would destroy it, Lord Foul. Specifically, it tells the story of Thomas Covenant, a leper whose disease has cost him his wife, his child, and the succor of society; his sexual potency; two fingers of his right hand; and the nerves in his fingers and toes. The psychological cost has been no less extreme. His disease requires his full attention, if not directly (for example, through frequent visual surveillance of his body, searching out any cuts or abrasions that, because he can't feel them, could quickly become dangerous), then indirectly. In a world that hates and fears lepers, Covenant is compelled to undertake the hardest of all tasks, to give up all hope -- of health and love and meaningful human contact. This is the man who, after an accident, "wakes up" in the Land -- a place of magic, where health can not only be seen but restored: as he soon discovers, his leprosy is cured, and only his missing fingers are not returned to him.Naturally, he rejects the Land, and all its inhabitants.And here is where the story -- and Covenant, too -- begins to pall on some readers. For Covenant's rejection is not a polite one. Worse (for many of these readers) it is incomprehensible. How could he reject this wonderful gift? How, indeed, could he not wholeheartedly embrace it?The answer, of course, is that Covenant is not, in fact, a weak man, but an exceptionally strong one. A weaker man would do exactly as many of these readers seem to want: he would embrace the Land and charge off to help the good guys defeat the bad. And because he carries with him a power equal to the task (the white gold with which his wedding ring is made), he would succeed. Then, truly, this book would be as bad as they think it is.But -- thankfully -- that isn't Covenant. For him, the Land is no gift; it is a curse. He comes from our world, the real world, where places such as the Land are fantasy. And fantasy is dangerous, if you begin to believe it. That way lies a life of institutionalization and madness. Yet it seems so real, so full of beauty and wonder, friendship and love, it takes a man of extraordinary character to resist its temptations.Reader complaints of whininess and self-pity seem to me to lack an appreciation of Covenant's dilemma (and perhaps simple human empathy). He believes -- and as a man of our world, he has every reason to believe -- that he is fighting for control of his own mind. And against impossible odds. Of course he despairs. Yet he perseveres.How exactly is this man "unlikeable"? Because he clings to sanity? Because he refuses to allow figments of his imagination to drive him mad? Because he doesn't say "please" and "thank you"? From what I can gather, many of these one-star reviewers never did read about Thomas Covenant; they read about a Hero who wouldn't bow to their own desire for wish-fulfillment.It's ironic. They come off sounding like the people in Covenant's town who hate him so much they want him to stay locked up in his house, alone, forever. Except that instead of leprosy, they cite the behavior and mode of thinking required by his disease as the reasons for their loathing. Significantly, they don't question the townspeople's reactions; but they don't follow that through, either. It's as if they're saying, Okay, sure, everyone hates you...but there's no need to be bitter about it. They don't seem to understand that Covenant doesn't want to be the way he is, but that he has no choice: that if he doesn't build walls between himself and the outside world, he will lose himself entirely. If he is overtly rude -- unlike, say, a shy person, whose "rudeness" is born of an innate social awkwardness -- it is because he isn't naturally anti-social. He has had to build his defensive mechanisms himself, against his natural inclinations. This makes him at once more rigid and more heroic.And then there's the rape, a crime compounded by the youth of the victim, a girl of only 16. More than one reviewer, in the blissful simplicity of the knee-jerk reaction, wanted to throw the book at a wall at this point in the story. How is it possible to maintain sympathy for a man who would do such a thing?Well, as it turns out, it is quite easy to do so -- provided you see the book through the lens of Covenant's dilemma. If you go into this book like other works of fantasy believing in the reality of the Land and you cannot fathom Covenant's unbelief, then you will have a problem with this scene. But then, I think, you will also have missed the point completely. For rape in a dream or a fantasy isn't rape. But, for Covenant, in a "dream" as real as this one appears to be, it is impossible to ignore. And it acts on him in two ways: it makes his rejection the Land more difficult even as it raises disturbing questions of his mental health outside the dream. Later in the book he has a similar reaction when he kills for the first time. Is he, he wonders, truly capable of such violence?Rather than ask, How could he rape a 16-year-old, it would be more appropriate to think, Even in his dreams, this man has a conscience.Post Script: Excoriating Covenant for the rape of Lena follows a logic that would have us holding ourselves accountable for the content of our dreams. If a man told a woman he had a dream in which he raped someone, should the woman henceforth think of the man as a rapist? If a woman told a man she had a dream in which she was raped, and she enjoyed it, should the man afterward believe the woman obviously wants to be raped? I hope I speak for a large majority when I say, Of course not.But one of the fascinating things about Covenant is that he does follow this logic. He doesn't want to, and he tries hard not to, but the more things he does in the Land, the more those things affect how he sees himself. This is why he does so damn little. (This is another misguided complaint about his character.)In this sense, Covenant's journey is one of self-discovery. Like many of us, however, he is afraid of what he will discover. By doing nothing (or as little as he possibly can), he can spare himself pain. He has enough pain -- from his disease, from his isolation; he doesn't think he can take any more.Lord Foul's Bane is, I think, a very good book. But it is here, in the area of Covenant's self-discovery, that it is lacking. His "whining" isn't a problem in itself; it is a symptom of Donaldson's unwillingness or inability to fully explore the depth of Covenant's character. It's interesting that the Land is mostly exactly that -- land. While there is much to see on the surface, a few deep lakes would have been nice.

  • Bradley
    2018-12-31 01:56

    OMG that was a rather difficult book to get into. I mean, most of the time I had keep re-shifting the gears in my head to see what might be valuable and good about this book, and for a great 200 pages I was wondering if I had stumbled into another Eddings slogfest full of completely predictable situations and heroes, with only the main character being a bit out of the ordinary.And then I had to remind myself that this came out in 1977 and the cult fantasy favourite (as opposed to the mainstream fantasy favourite) was LOTR. We've been inundated with Lewis and Beagle and who knows what else in the fantasy field. The time was ripe for a change, and all the big fantasy fans have all declared this fantasy cycle as a major turning point with a textual breakaway into new territory that has stuck with us all the way to modern fantasy, (which I have to say, I now adore).But did I really get into this book? Is it even possible? The answer is yes, with a pretty huge caveat. It's pretty obvious that the entire book is an exploration of a quote by John Milton in Paradise Lost: "The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven."Putting that firmly in mind, now read our self-hating Thomas Covenant in his American home being treated as a Leper, because he is one, and see America as Mordor. He's in hell. And then he gets sent to heaven.The magical land is just that. It's magical, people CAN live on beauty, alone, and there are honourable seafaring giants reminiscent of the Ents, horse riders with much more magic in the horses, just like Rohan, only more like Valdemar, and the Council, who are mages who have lost much lore over the centuries.Covenant is skeptical of everything he sees, now, for although he used to be a best-selling author, he's now given up on all things imaginative in the wake of the hell of being diagnosed as a Leper and to learn he has no hope whatsoever. So when he is miraculously cured, and the wedding ring of his divorced wife has turned into the receptacle of the mystical Wild Magic that could either restore or destroy this wonderful fantasy world, he just Can Not Believe any of it. He's hallucinating. He's dreaming.Too bad for him, it's all too real to his senses, and even his nerves have regenerated, which he knows is impossible. Oh Dear.Honestly, the ideas come across as much more interesting than the execution. Like I said, it was a slogfest.It's also too bad, because he's rather an asshole.After reading so much modern fantasy, I ALMOST wish he'd done something other than rape the wide-eyed girl that was doing her damnedest to help him, like murder a cute puppy or an innocent child. Maybe he'd have had an easier time making me believe he really did regret the act later, or even right after the passion had been spent. Jesus. What a fucking prick.Okay. Moving along. And that's another thing. It was just a very, very long travelogue. At least LOTR had it in service of excellent secondary or tertiary goals. The most we can say about Covenant is his gradual slide into belief and eventual realization that he's been a major asshole. At least there was lots of dancing! And the initial metaphor and how it changed each time was not lost upon me. That was one of the nicer aspects of the novel, other than the realizations of Covenant, himself.Okay, now here's my biggest nut and bolt complaint: Lord Foul is both a pretty damn interesting strategist and uber-powerful magical villain. I wish it hadn't taken so damn long for us as readers to GET THAT POINT. Practically anything else would have been a better introduction to Drool and Foul. They came across as an actual snivelling idiot and a minor house lord, and not the wielder of a staff fashioned by the Creator, himself, to right the corruption being spread throughout the fabric of reality, or the source of that corruption, itself: Lord Foul. It was all properly epic and I loved the ideas once I was finally INTRODUCED to them.I saw the influence of Zelazny's Amber series right away, and I've always loved it when authors did that. You know. Uber Reality and the lesser realms, with Earth being one of many minor realms. It was a nice addition to the book.And oddly enough, I got a lot more out of the novel's spoken-aloud tales, campfire style, than I did with the entire "let's go get that damn Staff" storyline.It's not a bad novel. Don't get me wrong. I'm not jumping off the deep end and slamming this as I would with a modern fantasy that tried to pull this off. I'm trying to respect it as a product of it's time and place, and as such, I'd probably give it a 5 star rating, too, or perhaps a 4 because Zelazny's was better. Or at least I remember it more fondly, and since I haven't read the other Covenant novels, I really shouldn't judge just yet.But the language in this novel wasn't up to Tolkien's high standards, and the worldbuilding didn't leave all that much impression on me, either. Maybe that's a personal failing, and the fact that I couldn't get into the groove and kept falling out of whatever groove I eventually got... well, it certainly didn't help.I'll keep going, because once I invest in a thing, I like to maintain the investment, especially when others tell me it only gets a lot better, but as of right this moment, I'm a bit weary. Maybe a few novels before I sink into the next might be best.*sigh*

  • Evgeny
    2019-01-10 00:52

    Thomas Covenant had it all: a good family, his first book was a New York Times bestseller, his second book was in the progress. Suddenly he developed leprosy, his wife left him taking his son with her, people avoid any kind of contact with him turning him into a self-loathing bitter whining person. He is a leper outcast unclean.Some high powers brought him to magic land where he is destined to either help fight Great Evil, or destroy everything - the choice is his. The problem is: he does not really believe the land is real - this is only his mind affected by his leprosy which plays tricks on him. As a result he does not really care about the Land (this is an actual name of the place) or its inhabitants. He is a leper outcast unclean.This is my second attempt to read the series. The first time I read it, I was really put off by one of Covenant's actions in the Land - people who read this know what I talk about. Still considering the fact that a lot of people call this the best fantasy ever I was curious to finish this. Oh, in case you forgot: Thomas Covenant is a leper outcast unclean.Now that I finally finished the book, I am underwhelmed. The most GR ratings for it are either 5 stars or 1 star. I guess I will be in minority with my rating. I found this book to be a slightly above average Tolkien clone with a very unlikable protagonist. After all, he is a leper outcast unclean.Quite a few of the scenes can be easily attributed to Tolkien's classic with simple change of names. Thomas Covenant has a ring with unknown great powers - does this ring a bell? Sorry for a bad unintended pun. He needs to get toRivendell , sorry I mean Lord's Keep from whereThe Fellowship of the Ring , sorry Quest is formed from different people. I can go on and on, but will stop here to avoid further spoilers. The only really original part is that the main character is a leper outcast unclean.The book was probably shocking in the time it was written, but if one compares it to modern fantasy, it is very mild - with the exception of the scene I already mentioned, but even that is not THAT shocking nowadays; it just strengthens reader's revulsion for Thomas Covenant who is a leper outcast unclean.Speaking of the main character - he is NOT an anti-hero as some readers call him. For good examples of anti-heroes, please refer to Elric by Michael Moorcock, Lady from Chronicles of the Black Company, Gerald Tarrant from Black Sun Rising, or countless others. Thomas Covenant is just a whining jerk (and something worse which I will not mention here as it will give a spoiler). I know quite a few real-life people who had it as bad as or even worse than him, but they managed to remain good humans; Thomas Covenant is a very pitiful excuse for a human being. He is a leper outcast unclean.Did you notice that I never mention anybody except for the main character? The reason for this is that every single person in the Land is a typical Mary Sue without any exceptions, and thus are fairly indistinguishable from each other and not very interesting, except for a leper outcast unclean character.I thought about giving 2 star rating to this book, but the very end was interesting enough to warrant an extra star: after all, I would not read the next book in the series with the first one having just 2 stars. In this case this book was good enough for me to proceed to the next one even though Thomas Covenant is a leper outcast unclean.One last note: if you think I overdid on the whole leper outcast unclean thing - Thomas Covenant calls himself like this at least once per page if not more often, so if somebody wants to read this for the first time, get used to it. He keeps whining like this non-stop.

  • notgettingenough
    2019-01-05 23:04

    I am (albeit slowly) removing my reviews from goodreads since it has become Amazon. For more on why that bothers me and should bother you, please go to my profile and also here:http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...What I learned from this book.Don’t agree to read the book Robert tells you is the best book in the whole world ever just because he invited you over to watch the best film in the whole world ever (Close Encounters) and you slept through all but the first ten minutes.You know you are going to hate this book before you’ve even opened it. You know you can’t read it out of guilt. Robert’s fifty. He can live with you sleeping through his favourite film.But you take it home. Non-specific Catholic guilt syndrome, as my dentist informed me when I said I thought he was God. And you open it up.And.and for the rest:http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpres...------------------------

  • Greg
    2018-12-29 20:39

    I live in a smallish room with roughly a couple of thousand books. They are everywhere. I love the books, but I also hate the books. I'd have space if it wasn't for them, when I moved it would be easy if it didn't involve carrying what feels like an endless amount of heavy boxes packed with them. They are everywhere. The bookshelves are all double stacked. There are books on top of the normally shelved books. There are piles of them everywhere. They fall over. They are in the way. Mooncheese likes to knock them over sometimes, even though falling books scare her. Like Juliana Hatfield felt about her sister, I have the same love/hate relationship with my significant others. Lately I've been in the mindset to cull some of the books. Be all JC on them and remove the wheat from the chaff. I've been a little successful, I've gotten rid of about sixty or seventy books in the last couple of months, but there is a problem. I feel wrong about getting rid of books that I have not yet read. This wouldn't be a problem except that a) like a geologist I can go through my shelves and re-create the history of 'fleeting' ideas and interests I had that happened to correspond to fortuitous trips to used bookstores and b) I sometimes buy a lot of crap. An amendment to b) is that I also acquire a lot of crap for free (ie., I Love You, Beth Cooper). In some cases a and b come together. Lord Foul's Bane is one of those books. A few years ago I went through a brief moment where I thought, maybe I should become familiar with fantasy. Then I bought up some fantasy books for about a quarter a piece on a trip to the always wonderful bookstore(I love this cat, he likes to sometimes sit on my back while I'm crouched down looking for books,) in Schuylerville (turning point of the Revolutionary War, and home of the most disgusting home I ever stepped foot in, but that is another story, I'll try to fit into some other review where dog shit plays a promiment role.). This long and uninteresting story has no real point, except that I want to get rid of books, but I feel I need to read them before getting rid of them. Lately that has been making me read books I have no interest in. I'll look at a book that I think I will enjoy and say to myself, when I finish this I think I'll want to keep it. So instead of reading something I may potentially enjoy I'll see something like Lord Foul's Bane sitting in a pile, and I'll grab this instead. I didn't finish this book. I made it a little more than halfway through it. If I spent another couple of hours reading I'd be able to finish it, but I just don't care to. The book is bad. It's written in very formal and stilted style, kind of like something you hear from some drama nerd who tries to bring a little more Shakespeare into their daily life. The story is uninteresting. It is difficult to accomplish this for me. I find nothing wrong with reading a novel about a man laying in pig shit, and doing nothing but thinking. I can find that engaging. There is nothing engaging in this book. By the time I stopped reading it there was some kind of quest to bring a message to someone, but I didn't give a fuck. Why didn't I care? Well, one I hated the language. I hated the characters. The main character is a one-dimensional leper with rage issues that make little sense except that they spring up when the author needs to create dialog. The only meaningful thing he did in 252 pages was rape a girl. All of the other characters are bullshit cookie-cutter caricatures. The whole world he created seems like just a series of seperate little communities that each have some New Age Hippy thing going on. There are the people who like the rocks, the people who like the tree's, the people who like the water, but besides liking something they don't seem to do too much....."I'm Treeman of the timberpeople (my made up names are only a tad dumber then the names Donaldson comes up with), and we live in the trees.""What else do you do?""Do? We live in trees.""Yeah but besides living in trees what do you do? I live in an apartment, but I also do other things.""No man, you don't get it, we live in trees. We like trees. Just like Granitehead of the Rock-collectors digs rocks, we dig trees.""I get it you like trees, they like rocks, but you live in a world and you have to do something besides just 'like trees'...""No man, you don't get it, we like! trees. Are you retarded?" What baffles me about this book is that it is highly regarded. It was up for a bunch of big awards. Lists on Amazon place it as a great fantasy book, and maybe it is. My fantasy knowledge being kind of weak. Besides my other misgivings, the thing I hated most (ok not besides, I hated this the most), was the motherfucking bullshit weakasfuck Dungeon Master shit that the author pulled constantly. Any possible conflict could be resolved by some lame ass 'addition' into the powers of a character or thing. Maybe it's fun when you're (ok Me, when I was) 13 and overweight and playing Dungeons and Dragons with your friend to throw all logic out the window and just let your characters kill, and do anything they would like; but as a novelists you can't just add bullshit constantly because you can't think of any other way out of the problems you have made your characters face (you may do this if your name is Joss and your protagonist is a teenage girl who kills vampires, I don't know why he gets a pass, but he does, no one else does though). I'm done with this book and this review. I'm going to give this book away, and maybe learn my lesson that if I don't think I'd enjoy a book I own it may be ok to just get rid of it without torturing myself for past mistakes in book buying.

  • Brad
    2019-01-23 01:53

    Two years after my run in with the fallen nun and the c-word, I had a near run in with our new vice-principal (not the man, thankfully, who'd given me the strap), Mr. G---. Our school was trying to teach us study skills before we reached high school, so we wouldn't waste our spare periods playing video games or flirting with girls or role playing or whatever else kids did to waste time in the eighties. They gave us a course called "Study Hall" and put our VP in charge. It was a nightmare.And I was going to be late with my big book review. We could write a review of any book we wanted. It was supposed to be a plot summary and nothing more (at least, that's the way I remember it), just to prove we were reading, but I had procrastinated and procrastinated, and there was no way it would be done in time.On the Sunday I was planning to write the review of Dragonflight Dragonriders of Pern, after a torturously boring morning as an altar boy (don't ask), I spent all my time fighting the evil wizard Vaxenstaff with my friends Mark and Jeff, and I never got around to it. D&D was always more important than school (and so it has proven over the course of my life since it taught me how to think, but that is another story), and I put the review out of my mind while Malachii, my half-elf fighter/magic-user, made his way through a castle full of traps and monsters.Anyway, I was only halfway through McCaffrey, but I needed a book report by Monday before lunch, and I had no idea what to do. Then it hit me.At the beginning of Stephen R. Donaldson's The Illearth War was an encapsulation of Lord Foul's Bane, and I copied the opening, called "What came (went?) before," word for word. I went to sleep knowing that I was covered...and covered by the words of a pro no less.Back then, I imagined that Donaldson wrote "What came before" himself (although it was more likely a P.R. person for Del Rey); still, I was sure I was in great shape for the next day, and there was no way I'd get caught. Mr. G--- didn't read fantasy, and he certainly read nothing as contemporary and cool as Thomas Covenant, so I was looking at a great grade if I didn't get caught for cheating.And I didn't get caught.Nope. I got away with the cheating -- and I got 67%.67%!I decided right then that I would someday meet Mr. Donaldson and give him shit for my poor grade, plagiarism be damned. I'm not nearly as angry anymore, and since those probably weren't his words there is not much I can say, but I still hope to meet him and pass on my moment of cheating idiocy.His work, or the P.R. person's work, should have been better than a 67%. At least that's what I told myself at the time. I wonder what Mr. G--- was thinking. Maybe it was that bad after all. Or maybe he guessed I was cheating and was too lazy to look into it. I guess I'll never know.Regardless, Lord Foul's Bane will always have a place in my pantheon of great books, if only because it is as huge a part of my personal back story as Lady Chatterly's Lover.

  • Bob Aarhus
    2019-01-21 22:58

    When you dream, are you responsible for your actions?You might as well admit it: you'd probably do it, too. When Thomas Covenant -- a writer who contracts leprosy and is abandoned by his wife, his friends, and society -- falls into a comatose state, he arrives at a land where his nerves are regenerated, his impotency reversed, his status legendary as White Gold Wielder. He's the Unbeliever for a simple reason: he thinks this is all delusion, all a dream. So, yes, he rapes the young woman -- it's all a dream, he'll wake up soon -- then is carried along with the consequences of this and a dozen other choices, just like one is carried along the current of a dream, from one vignette to the next. Covenant is an anti-hero because he is embittered by the only reality he knows, and the new reality before him is almost as comical as the one, as a writer, he had pushed on other readers.The problem is, of course, that the other characters don't share in Covenant's solipsistic views. They will suffer and die because Covenant refuses to deal with this new reality. It's a dream, right? Donaldson doesn't pull any punches with Covenant -- and I suspect a lot of the bitterness is a reflection of Donaldson's own experience with patients of Hansen's disease. "Lord Foul's Bane" is Donaldson's VSE of the human soul faced with a new reality of a life of degeneration.Which is why I think reviewers who don't finish the book and try to look beyond the surface are giving this series the short shrift. I do agree that the second trilogy left me less intrigued and interested than the first. And I don't agree that this story is a rival for Tolkien -- but again, I didn't find nearly as satisfactory character exploration in LoTR as I did here. They are two different tales.Read this book at your peril, but agree to undertake the journey to the bitter end with an open mind that not all heroes wear shining armor and are ascetics on horseback.

  • Holly
    2019-01-04 00:55

    So many people love this series. Not sure why. The hero is a leperous (no, not lecherous) rapist and incredibly whiny. The bad guy is named Lord Foul, ferchissakes. I hated everything about the first few chapters of this book. Once the main character forced himself on a girl, and then the author tried to make it a sympathetic moment (for the perpetrator), I hurled it at the wall in disgust and never finished reading it. Right around the same level of arrogant sexist manhood as Piers Anthony.

  • Chazzbot
    2019-01-18 19:40

    It's not so much the story--in itself, this is a well-crafted fantasy world, complete with noble horse-riding peoples, stern giants, and delicate elven-folk on a quest of profound importance against an enemy of world-shattering magnitude--as much as Donaldson's overwrought prose that makes this series something of a drag to read. Donaldson wants his tale to carry all the mythic import of Tolkien, but he doesn't quite have the poetic flair that makes Tolkien's characters live and breathe for us. Instead, Donaldson substitutes a needlessly ornate vocabulary and an unlikeable protagonist to challenge the reader's notions of conventional fantasy. In doing so, however, Donaldson forgets to give us any reason to care about his characters. You don't get much more earnest than naming your main character Thomas Covenant! Is this supposed to be profound? When I first read this series, I took Donaldson's verbosity as a representation of Covenant's inner turmoil, but on re-reading this book, I think it's just that Donaldson is not a very good writer.

  • Michael
    2018-12-25 23:39

    The Thomas Covenant books have always held a special place in my heart. I freely admit that the series is not for everyone; the singular nature of the protagonist turns a lot of readers away before the first book (this one) is halfway finished.Compared to other heroic fantasy, I find the Covenant books to be somehow more believable, and to have more emotional impact. The theme of redemption, present throughout the series, resonated with me when I first read the books twenty years ago, and continues to resonate with me.

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2019-01-12 22:03

    SPOILERS BELOWThis book was in it's own way "well written" or at least "fairly well written". It's well written in that it dragged me in, sort of. Often I wished it hadn't. Thomas Covenant is one of the universe's great whiners. You see, Thomas is a leper...and while I can't imagine how awful this would be (wife leaves and takes child, loses fingers before realizing condition, etc.,etc., etc.)he manages to drive any sympathy out of the readers, or he did me. Upon being healed in "THE LAND" he's afraid to believe as it might cause him not to take his leprosy seriously and end up with more lost limbs etc. His frantic dis-belief is so emphatically strong he rapes the young woman who helped him. Thomas Covenant is a real prince. He meets Lord Foul early on and in-spite of what you will realize about it all, Thomas will fail to realize those things and go right on....for 3 books.Having refused to believe he is healed and that the land is even real, he tags himself "the unbeliever". So, put on your white gold ring, gird up your loins and charge ahead. Thomas will entertain you with his continual "Woe is me, ohhh woe is me" for a long, long time to come. Now that I think of it, I DISLIKE these books.I reviewed this a while back, but I want to update it. I want to include a quote from Dorothy Parker I've used before: "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  • Manny
    2019-01-05 23:50

    A Swedish friend told me I just had to read this series - it was like Tolkien but better. I borrowed the first three, and dutifully read them, waiting for the point to dawn. It never did. Tolkien, to me, is all about the language and the names, and Donaldson's names ranged between uninspired and downright moronic. ("Berek Halfhand". Bleah.) It just grated.To add insult to injury, I managed to drop one volume into the bath while reading it, so I had to buy a new copy to return to him. I've not looked at Donaldson since.

  • Dan Martin
    2019-01-09 22:54

    The first thing you have to know about this series, and this is the real pivotal point in whether you want to read them or not, is that Thomas Coveenant is NOT A HERO. Like, in any sense. There are a couple really fantastic heroes in this book, but all of the chapters in the 1st book, and the majority thereafter all center around covenant, the unbeliever. The story of the book is honestly a little trite. An evil lord threatening a beautiful land. Covenenant has an important ring. But! Thomas, oh thomas. He's jealous, bitter, frustrated, cynical -- you want to criticize him for not being all heroic and shit, but... there's good reasons for him not to be. **spoilers (barely, almost what you get off the back cover)** Thomas covenant is a leper. A famous author who had it all, and lost it instantly. So, he's tossed into this imaginary world where disease isn't even a concept-- so what does he do? Just believe in it? It's not like, "lucky you, you're healthy!" He figures if he does, the second he wakes back up, as a leper, outcast, unclean , and alone, he would kill himself. Put yourself in his shoes here~ So that's the premise of the story; and it's good. Just accept him as a poor, incredibly unfortunate leper, not as a hero, and you'll like it.

  • Ashley
    2019-01-19 03:46

    Hated it. 1.5 stars. Terrible characters, info-dumping, purple prose, gratuitous rape, and a frequently offputting word choice. I couldn't connect to any of the characters and I at no moment felt concern or anxiety for anyone's well-being. I would have loved for Covenant to die but he's the crux of the series and no other character had an iota of personality so I didn't care about them. I couldn't make myself care about the quest. Donaldson is a pale and pathetic shade of Tolkien and I'll never consider one of his books again. I'll be getting rid of my copy.

  • Michael
    2019-01-15 22:51

    At first I wasn't sure that I liked this novel. I had a hard time with the idea that Thomas Covenant is the ultimate anti-hero, with none of the redeeming qualities of an average anti-hero. He is a sniveling, irritating, coward who has to be prodded every step of the way. The only thing that makes him likable is that he is acting in a very human way in a very inhuman circumstance. I had to let go of wanting Covenant to shape and act like a hero. I am looking forward to the rest of the series.

  • C.T. Phipps
    2019-01-06 22:54

    I feel kind of bad because my fellow author, Michael Suttkus (who helped write I WAS A TEENAGE WEREDEER and LUCIFER'S STAR) swears by this series. I knew getting into them that they were either "love" or "hate" but I feel like the big problem for me was I didn't think they were very good. There's a lot to unpack here about the books but the majority of negative reviewers seem to focus on the INFAMOUS incident (spoilers ahead) versus the cliche setting, cardboard characters, and the fact Thomas is a person who doesn't behave in any way like a human being in the situation.The premise is, Thomas Covenant is an author who has attracted leprosy and has been left by his wife as a result as well as being shunned by the community. This is in 1977 and feels more than a little off. However, Thomas Covenant's hatred of himself is a major part of the story as is the fact he bonks his head and lands in, well, the Land. In the Land, which is Tolkien-ish if not Tolkien, he is the Chosen One and beloved by all but also tormented by Lord Foul the Despiser who is the embodiment of Thomas' self-hatred (or all mankind's self-hatred).And the book does nothing with this.One key thing that annoys me with this is Thomas Covenant refuses to believe he's actually in what amounts to Narnia (a reasonable position) and he's just hallucinating or dreaming. Healed of his leprosey, Thomas proceeds to (SPOILER) rape one of his hosts. This has turned many thousands of readers off the series and with good reason. However, I tend to wonder if not for this controversy whether there'd be anything worth talking about at all. It's also an act which seems designed for controversy as the implications are never addressed. Oh, Thomas BREAKS THE UNIVERSE because of it and it has lasting repercussions but we never really get into Thomas' head about how he should feel about doing an unforgivable act to what he believes is an explicitly fictional character. The reality of the land is never established but Thomas never seems to debate the issue or examine the ethics of any of it. He just sort of grumbles, cries, and pouts the entire time. He is a thoroughly unengaging and unbelievable personality.Thomas whines about what he does, that he can't believe he's actually healed, and talks about what a depressing sadsack he is as well as there's no possible hope for his situation but there's no real reactions of a human being here. No, "Okay, I am losing my mind" or "This is too real to be a hallucination? Am I in a coma or am I dead?" Even simple frustration at the saccharine personalities around him or taking a moment to enjoy his hallucination (if hallucination it be). He's a forty something emo kid who has no mode but ANGST and DOOM.I can't help but think there's a better book where a man is transported to the Land, engages in some Grand Theft Auto-esque behavior because this is all meaningless, and then comes to the horrifying conclusion that, no, he's been torturing real people. That's not the story, though, or even close to the story. I get Donaldson was trying to subvert the, "People from the real world go to a fantasy land and change everything" cliche (which was cliche even in the 1970s) but Thomas isn't a great antihero because he refuses to engage with anything unless he's dragged kicking and screaming into the plot.The Land isn't much better as it's filled with happy, good, and shining people who seem like they're about to break into singing at any moment. There's giants and wizards as well as so much else but it's all sharply divided between the good versus the evil. There's no real other characters OTHER than Thomas Covenant, at least with personality, and that hurts the narrative considerably. I mean, this is a story where there's a major character named Drool Rockworm and we're meant to take that absolutely seriously.So, why two stars instead of one? The book is reasonably well crafted and I appreciated what Donaldson was trying to do. He was trying to subvert a lot of the cliches which would eventually almost kill the fantasy industry and were already visible in the 70s. The Chosen Ones, the magical happy lands, the binary morality, and the fact heroes always make things better. A sort of proto-grimdark if you will. Unfortunately, I can't say it really worked since it feels like dumping a grumpy old man in the land of Oz versus something I really wanted to read.4/10

  • Nick
    2019-01-23 01:02

    I don't know what it is about Donaldson and rape. It's getting kind of creepy actually. His science-fiction series included a major rape scene in book 1 and here we go again with another in Lord Foul's Bane. In addition to the awful rape scene this book is also filled with characters that you have a really hard time liking or rooting for. The writing itself is old-style fantasy language which I don't prefer either. I just didn't like it very much. There are a ton of people who swear by this series but this is a non-starter for me and I just can't bring myself to pick up the remaining books.

  • Wastrel
    2018-12-30 21:51

    Well that started off a lot better than I thought it might. And it ended... a lot worse than I hoped it might.My full (and this one is very full!) review can be found over on my blog.However, the brief summary version would be: this is a fascinating Calvinist (though the author left the faith of his parents) reimagining of Tolkienian neo-Romantic fantasy, with a rich (but in my opinion not yet absurd) use of language, dozens of fantastic lines, and a deep and calculated ideological-theological symbolism. It's also a consistently individual vision (despite superficial tropes of the genre) and continually makes impressively bold choices on language use, imagery, characterisation, plot, pacing, symbolism, and frankly every dimension possible. It's also clunky and unadroit; the author is unable to change his narrative voice and presentational style to match the demands of his content, so what works as powerful in the big scenes becomes leaden and ponderous in the preparatory sections. Far too much of the book is spent on people moving from one place to another with relatively little incident, and on long expositionary monologues by villains and heroes alike.The manuscript was originally rejected 47 times, by every single publisher in America. And I can completely understand why.It went on to sell millions of copies, help to create the commercial fantasy genre, and gain legions of fanatically devoted fans around the world. And I can completely understand that too.It's a better book to have read than to actually be reading, and it also tends to provoke love-it-or-hate-it responses. But if you can overcome any revulsions to the mature content (trigger warning: if you have triggers, they will at some point be triggered by the Covenant books; these things get seriously nightmarish at times, though this first one is relatively mild, apart from That One Thing), and if you can put aside any natural tendency to laugh at, say, evil maniacal laughter or use of archaic vocabulary, or at Everything Being So Serious All The Time, then this series is not only a seminal landmark in the history of the fantasy genre but also a genuinely interesting literary work of a kind that just doesn't get published anymore. I'm calling it 'Not Bad' rather than 'Good', though it's really more a blend of some very good things and some very bad things all in one.

  • Michael *Windrunner*
    2019-01-13 00:50

    DNFI'm sure there is a beautiful story arc where Tomas Covenant becomes a good person... but I didn't want to needlessly subject myself to this story at this point.

  • Rob
    2019-01-16 22:06

    Another series I did in one long weekend, this was probably one of the most influential series I read during high school. For some reason I absolutely hated the main character Thomas Conevenant (probably because he was an ass) and my one driving passion was to keep reading until he was killed off. Until of course the last book in the second series where I got over it and decided he should live and then he was killed off. As an interesting aside, this series made it remarkably less likely that I would have committed suicide since whenever I thought about it, I would promise myself I would first take out Stephon Donaldson before I did, the thought of which tended to make me somewhat happier at the time.

  • Thomas
    2019-01-08 20:53

    Warning: Readers should not expect the main character to show up, draw a magic scimitar or lightsaber, and slice through the enemy. In this series, the bad guys are just part of Thomas Covenant's problem. He is also fighting enemies within himself. Be prepared to feel troubled over his plight and occasionally frustrated by his unwillingness to accept his situation and to fight. There's still plenty of excitement and all the elements of well crafted fantasy. But there's so much more.

  • Jokoloyo
    2019-01-18 20:08

    This book is one of my earlier fantasy novel books that I attempted to read this depressing novel. I've tried twice, but never finished it. I cannot recall much (it is a good thing actually. I am forgetting some bad moments of my life) but I like to share my opinion here: the main character is not likable based on his POV. People in the story respect him because the prophecy and he has distinctive physical traits that can prove he is The One. The depressing inner thought of character hardly entertained me, and there was no action, magic scenes, interesting secondary characters, etc that could redeemed this novel.

  • Samuel David
    2018-12-27 21:01

    This is a bit incoherent. Did not enjoy, even though it is a classic

  • bella ϟ✨
    2019-01-18 00:56

    this is my dad's all time favourite series and he is bugging me to read his 'comfort book', so I'm making good on my reluctant promise lol

  • Jennifer
    2019-01-19 02:59

    I will leave this at the 5 stars I gave it. This was a re-read for me. I was first introduced to Thomas Covenant over 20 years ago. I did not like him them, but The Land and the People held me captive and I read all 6 books. ( I know there are more). They have a special place in my heart. After finally re-reading this, I can say that I dislike Thomas Covenant even more than I remember. I almost quit reading because I could not get past my dislike. I have decided that sometimes some books/series are best left read the first time and do not need to be re-read. For me this is one of those. I had intended to re-read all 6 books again, I shall leave them in my head as a fond memory (leave the 5 stars ) and not go back to visit The Land. The older wiser me cannot live with Thomas Covenant again.

  • Jason Olson
    2019-01-22 03:47

    I read this book when I was in 5th or 6th grade. I had just read lord of the rings, and I was searching through my dad's books for something else to read and I found this... I remember thinking at the time that for as much as I liked the LOTR, the bad guys just weren't bad enough. The good guys were a little too good. For as much as I loved middle earth, I felt like the world Tolkien built was much grander and complex than the characters that inhabited it. Lord Foul's Bane answered those issues and then some. Maybe a little too much for what I was expecting. I immediately liked the tone of the writing. I didn't really notice the vocabulary that was way above my head, I felt like I understood the words in context. (Although I was probably dead wrong about that) Still, it didn't diminish the read for me, it added to the character of the world somehow. Especially the colors: argent, vermillion, azure...At the time, I liked books for the escape. I suppose I liked to live vicariously through the heroes. So when I started this book, I couldn't wait to get to the fantasy part. When I did, I was immediately taken in by the land. I was sympathetic to the main character, and everything seemed to be lining up for a great fantasy ride.If you have read the books, then you already know that Thomas Covenant will shortly screw up anything and everything for me. He is NOT up for a thrilling fantasy ride. He's not even up for some common courtesy. The people of the land, and the land itself, seems better and more vivid than our world by far. It was for them I kept reading, and shaking my head at this total bastard of a main character. So why the 5 stars? Because this series has the best world of any book I have ever read. Lord Foul is a great bad guy, so much better than Sauron. I always thought Sauron overlooking the hobbits going to mount doom was kind of dumb. I remember the reasoning Gandalf gave, but no contigency planning? Not even 100 or so gaurds watching the only entrance to Mount Doom day and night? Lord Foul was always ten steps ahead of the mere mortals, the obstacles he put in front of the heroes seemed insurmountable. Even their victories seem hopeless. I love how intelligent and cruel and disdainful he is. Just a great bad guy, and somehow you have to respect him. So the world is awesome, and the bad guy is awesome. I'm no expert, but the writing itself made everything seem very vivid. The wounds are brutal, the beauty of the land comes through the pages, you care about all of the characters in the book, even the total bastard that is Thomas Covenant. So the writing is awesome. I have read some reviews where people fixate on a word (like "clenched") that gets overused, but I never noticed. If your sufficiently caught up in the story, I don't think your mind will even be working like that. (For me at least, a book is like movie and I hardly notice the words themselves, they just fly by my eyes and the movie plays in my head, so I would probably be a terrible editor).So is there any bad? The story really drags for me during the journey with Atarian. After what happened to Lena, the whole thing is extremely uncomfortable, and the continued lack of heroics from our "hero" just puts you off more and more. In hindsight, this journey is extremely important to the entire series. So its not really bad, but upon re-reading the book (many times in the years since) I find myself skimming through until we meet foamfollower. The journey with Atarian is necessary and important, but it might be a journey many readers do not make it through if they are already put off by the book. Not technically bad, more of a necessary low point I think. The book really picks up when we meet foamfollower. And I even start to like Covenant for the first time. He shows a glimmer of not being a complete puke. Revelstone, the bloodgaurd, and the lords are awesome. The journey to recover Kevins lore was much more like the LOTR-but-more-serious adventure I had been hoping for. Thomas of course lets me down in the end, and I go away still shaking my head at the guy. Maybe I was a strange 5th grader, but after finishing this book, I immediately started the 2nd one. I give this book 5 stars because I still pick it up and start the entire chronices over every few years. I feel like I know Foamfollower and Mhoram, and of course, Thomas Covenant. I've read a dozen Drizzt books and can't say I really feel like I know or care about the guy. The morals of most fantasy character seem pure and fairly transparant. (Although Raistlin from the Dragonlance series was pretty great.) Of all the hobbits, only Samwise seemed to have a distinct character (He was alot funnier in the books). Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, all seemed kind of the same. Good guys with a different body type and background. Most character I leave behind when I put a book down, but the characters of the land stay with me for some reason, especially from the first chronicles. Foamfollower, Mhoram, Lena, Elena, Thomas Covenant, Lord Foul, all stick with me. The land is the only fantasy world that actually seems like it's worth sacrificing yourself for. So yeah, 5 stars, and I would recommend everyone read it at some point, even though the journey is not always easy!