Quite possibly the worst Trilogy ever!!! Maybe not quite the worst but it is a great example of a poorly written story. Stephen Donaldson’s lack of creativity (Kevin, the land, etc…), lack of world building (the land), and lack of character development (just because there’s different races doesn’t mean a thing), as well as annoying repetitive phrases (it was as if… or Hellfire!) leaves the reader annoyed and irritated once they have finished reading this excuse for literature.
The Thomas Covenant Unbeliever series could quite possibly be an amazing story, one that would engage the reader from beginning to end, if perhaps it was written by someone other than Donaldson; anyone other than Donaldson! Donaldson’s idea of an outcast from our world being able to be transported to a world that is so full of life and magic, a place where this outcast is revered as a supreme being that has the power to save this land and its inhabitants, is a great idea. However Donaldson’s flaws and shortcomings as a writer cause this story to fall flat on its face. There are four main crimes that Donaldson is constantly committing while writing this story. The first of which is his total lack of creativity.
While reading this story I immediately found that rather than focusing on the plot and storyline, I was distracted by Donaldson’s attempts at being creative. Kevin? The Land? Lepers? What is this guy doing? The main bad guy is called Kevin. Need I say more? While the main bad guy is Kevin, Donaldson uses words that require an appendix at the back of the book to understand, but Donaldson could not come up with a better more powerful name for the bad guy other than Kevin? What about this world that Covenant is transported to? It is simply referred to as “the Land”. Come on, you need to be more creative than that.
This brings us to the second crime that Donaldson commits: World building, or lack thereof. Donaldson’s world comes off as being flat and boring. Sure this world is full of magic and life and it is a place where the inhabitants have a deep understanding of the world, but Donaldson fails at developing it to its fullest potential. The majority of this story takes place in a select area of this land. It isn’t until the story climax’s that the action and plotlines explore other areas of the map.
The third crime is that of character building… Donaldson’s main character, Thomas Covenant, could not be hated by the reader anymore if Donaldson tried. Covenant is not even an antihero; he is just a terrible person. He has no redeeming qualities about him until it is too late for the reader. I do not even want to read to the end to find out if everything works out for Covenant; I just want him to die so the story ends. Also all of the minor characters are all so flat! The bloodguard? This could be a great set of characters but they’re not. Donaldson fails miserably at creating characters that the reader feels any sort of sympathy for.
The last (and perhaps the worst) crime that Donaldson is accused of is this: repetitive and annoying phrases and words. I cannot explain how ridiculously irritating it is to begin ever paragraph with this phrase “it was as if yada yada yada” or “the land was like a yada yada yada”, and then end every line with this word, this one teeth grinding, nails on a chalkboard word, makes me want to retch word: “Hellfire!” Donaldson cannot even come up with a creative way to swear. These and other repetitive actions that occur loose the reader.
For all of these crimes that Donaldson has committed, I say that immediately seize his quill and destroy it. For the sake of the fantasy genre this man needs to be stopped! Halt and desist immediately Stephen Donaldson. If he continues he will inevitably bring about the end of this genre.