I could not put this book down. By any measure, this book is a monumental achievement. The prose, the storytelling, the surprise, the climax, the cliff-hanger. This book had it all for me. And it left me wanting more.
It’s the difference with his writing and writing that doesn’t grab me as much where the story is happening and you’re witnessing it. With his stories, you’re with the characters and in the Land and in the places and you are experiencing it. You’re a part of it.
There are other books that I’ve read recently where I feel removed from the action. I’m being told the story from above the action of the story, and I am eminently aware of the author’s voice telling me the tale. And when something consequential happens there isn’t much consequence to it. The characters just move on to the next bit of action. They are not impacted or changed by it. They don’t question it or don’t care. I experienced that with the Dragon Lance books. It was just a roll-playing adventure and I never got invested. And when people died it was never a big deal. Those books couldn’t hold my attention, not after reading Donaldson.
There is a time traveling component in the Last Chronicles that reveals parts of the history of the Land that we would only otherwise hear about through old stories. We instead experience it and we see the origins of people and places we heard about years before in Lord Foul’s Bane.
Donaldson includes a very detailed What Has Gone Before in the beginning of each book so you can get the gist before diving in on what all has transpired in the previous series. It’s an easy way to learn about the stories in a kind of Cliff Notes fashion before embarking in on the tale.