Monday, December 21, 2009

Donaldson: A series atop quicksand

The main problem i had reading Donaldson wasn't his writing skills, or his character development, or his plot devices. The problem i had was the response from the majority of the class and their overall pessimism for the book. I remember talking with a few classmates on the day before we were to begin the Donaldson series as a class, and the overwhelming consensus was that the books were worthless and reading it was going to be a huge chore.

This was only the initial barrier i had to get through to try to find reading Donaldson a pleasant experience. Not only was the class's reaction abysmal, but i didn't really want to read the series either. I researched what the series was about and found that i was not excited to read about a leper and his struggles, and i only imagined the fantasy aspect to be ridiculous and not a fun read. God that was an understatement wasn't it? I had just finished plowing through the last bit of Tolkien (yes, for the first time) and reading Pullman's trilogy, which i really enjoyed. So, to say the least i wasn't ready, quite yet, to take on the story of a man with leprosy in the midst of the class's appalled disbelief at the reading choice.

So i am dredging through Donaldson at a snail's pace, reading about a man with a disposition I'd like to beat out of... though i can't help but understand his situation and actually pity the man, until class's first discussion and the profound rape scene. The class lost it, my enjoyment was at an all-time low... and it was low, and before this i genuinely wanted to continue. But i couldn't force myself to through the pessimism and my own disappoint with the book.

So my question is this: Was Donaldson doomed straight from the beginning? Simply because he followed Tolkien, obviously the class standard in fantasy fiction? Donaldson was not holding his own as a major writer, but i do believe if i had read this over the summer, without the negativity from class, i would have probably finished the first three books... probably wouldn't have gone on though...

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