Donaldson, Stephen -- Fatal Revenant (The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, book 2)

I have finally become convinced that Donaldson has a private bet on: how lame a name can he foist on his readers and still pretend that it's supposed to be dead serious? I swallowed "Saltheart Foamfollower" and "High Lord Kevin" when I was young; I'll put up with a tormented man named "Mahrtiir" and a plague of worms called "skurj"; but a world-swallowing corruption called "Kevin's Dirt" is just one damn step too far. (A monster called "Nom" only squeaks by because Donaldson invented him two and a half decades before the Internet meme.)

(In any case, Donaldson's feeble attempts are crushed by the lame-naming behemoth that is Steven Erikson. Anomander Rake! Nom nom nom... rake... dirt... hang on, maybe they're collaborating.)

All snark aside, Donaldson is -- I swear -- telling a solid story here. He's got imagery, he's got theme, he's got terrifying moments and exalted ones. He does a good job of balancing the vivid elements called back from his earlier trilogies with new discoveries and revelations. His stylistic quirks are... well, I can't say they're under control, but they're adequately curbed. And the plot feels like it's going somewhere -- maybe forcedly, but that's way better than the aimless mud-slog that was the Second Chronicles. I say this is respectable fantasy.

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