The Last Dark by Stephen R Donaldson

And so it ends.

The Last DarkThe Last Dark was good. Vastly better than the last few books. Covenant and Linden return to figures of  power and more closely resemble their former selves.  The mishmash supporting cast has a few people step forward and stand out from the crowd.  Great powers come to a head.

And while the Creator remains missing in action, The Despiser returns for a nice cameo appearance.

There are still long passages chronicling impossible battles between god like enemies and heroes.  Still a lot of noise that signifies nothing.  But hey, it’s a novel, so wrapping up a few hundred loose ends is what’s supposed to happen.

The Last Dark: The climax of the entire Thomas Covenant Chronicles (Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant)feels more like good old fashioned Stephen R Donaldson. It’s depressing and inspiring and amazing in any number of ways.  There are countless little echoes of the first and second Chronicles.  

Was it perfect? No, not even close, but it was so much better than the last three books that it feels like the start of a new Chronicles and not the ending of one.  While many issues were resolved, countless others were created.

In this last book Donaldson hits a number of notes again and again and again.  Personal freedom.  Accountability.  It’s wrong to kill but often necessary.  And evil isn’t always what you think it is.

As with all of SRD’s book there are a lot of big words, but for the most, they are words we have seen before-if only in other books by SRD.

There was one battle which brought to mind a scene in The Hobbit were our hero takes a nap as five armies duke it out below him.  The battle was a roll call of super powers-Giants, Sand Gorgons, skurkj, white gold wielders, the Staff of Law, The Lurker of Sarangrave Flats and in the background the Worm of the World’s End.  A tad over the top, but hey, it’s the end of the world so why not pull out all the stops?

Ok, it was amazing and I loved it.  The Last Dark has restored my faith in Stephen R Donaldson.  They could have sang Under The Rainbow as the last scene came to a close.

In short-Damn That Was Good.

Jon Herrera

Jon Herrera

Writer, Photographer, Blogger.
Jon Herrera

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6 comments on “The Last Dark by Stephen R Donaldson
  1. STILL_NONE says:

    Looking forward to reading this one. I’ve been following these since the very first edition of “Lord Foul’s Bane”

    Are those green Sarangrave acid kids back?

    Bad of SRD to leave you wanting more… but apparently there is to be no more at all.

    The following is quoted from an anonymous forum post, but this is a review I remembered reading at the time. I thought the book store was Toronto, myself:

    The late Baird Searles used to review books in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. He also owned an SF/Fantasy bookstore in New York City, if memory serves.

    In one of his columns, Searles told the story of an elderly man who came into the store looking for a book for his grandson. “Do you have a copy of Lord Fane’s Bowels?” he asked.

    Once he had recovered his composure, Searles got the man a copy of the right book.

  2. DESCARTES says:

    Funny.

    Everything from the last three books is back. Maybe I have just finally gotten used to the idea of The Land being filled with all powerful monsters of one sort or another.

    I’ve always wanted a book or two set in the world before Kevin’s fall. I always thought it would be nice to see the Land as the paradise it was rumored to be. Like Linden, I feel as if I have never seen the Land when it was healthy. Even in our first trip to the Land, it was greatly reduced, as they told us at every step, from what it used to be.

  3. NONE says:

    “I always thought it would be nice to see the Land as the paradise it was rumored to be”

    Perhaps the ideal perfect idyllic Land might be impossible to describe… and a mistake to do so. The idea of what is best left alone in such things brings to mind The Matrix. The first movie set up Neo perfectly as “The One” the messiah who would change things. In such a way that it would be impossible to live up to this had the W. brothers tried. But they did try, and it certainly didn’t live up to the first movie at all.

  4. DESCARTES says:

    Likely true, and there were plenty of descriptions of one kind or another of those glory days of Kevin and his two thousand-year reign. Donaldson is not exactly a happy writer in any event.

    As for The Matrix, I believe it was the curse of success and money that ruined the W. Brothers. I knew we were in for trouble when they did an interview for Reloaded and bragged that it contained the most expensive car chase in history. Uh, who the f*** cares?

    I read a script for The Matrix Two that was floating around online for a while and it made sense and brought Agents Jones and Brown-leaving the dead Agent Smith dead as I recall.

    Reading the original script for The Matrix was fun as well, since it contained a number of subtle, but interesting differences from the filmed verson.

  5. NONE says:

    Yes, Donaldson is not a happy writer. Any with many (most? all?) writers, he likes to subject his characters to sorrow and travail. The Land is a character as well, and it does not escape his machinations.

    The Matrix? Everyone thought Agent Smith was cool. So what did W. brothers think would be cooler? A zillion CGI Agent Smith clones. A thousand times cooler, right right? Nahhh…

    But if I want to summarize the who-cares worthlessness of the second and third Matrix movies in one word, it would be this: the Morovingian. Wha….?

    On the plus side, the train guy was kind of pointless too, but he was played by Bruce Spence, and thus was a positive.

    No discussion of the next two Matrix movies would be complete without mentioning Will Ferrell appearing as the Architect in that clip from the MTV Video Music Awards:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x82rX-TGIBU

    I have some major problems with Ferrell, his work, and his legacy… but here, he nails it. And this bit is a lot more fun than the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies.

  6. DESCARTES says:

    Yeah, Will Ferrell super stardom has always been baffling to me. His only movie worth watching was Stranger Than Fiction, a film so well written even he couldn’t screw it up. I did like the MTV bit as well.

    The other major problem with the Matrix sequels was when they decided that Programs were more important than People and they gave all the meaty roles to machines. The biggest slap in the face for me was Morpheus cowering in the basement with the women and children waiting for the world to end.

    The Last Dark at least leaves open the possibility that The Land and The Earth and that whole reality might turn into something like The Creator wanted it to be. So yeah, we don’t need any more books set there.

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