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The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters should have been exactly the… - Sally's Journal
June 27th, 2008
03:06 pm

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The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters should have been exactly the sort of book I like. It had Masks! Silk! Air-ships! Brain altering Processes! Green Boots! Incredably sexy evil women! The ability to suck thoughts from peoples heads! Complicated contraptions for strapping people down and controlling their minds!

Unfortunately it had 700 pages of this with only enough interesting bits for about 200, and introduced all the bad guys without giving names (eg "a woman in red" "a man in a fur coat"), so I never actually managed to map any of the baddies to what people did in chapters 1-3 even after I knew their names. They remained fairly indistinguishable for the rest of the book.

Still, Masks! Boots! Thoughts made corperal!



How do people use LJ book reviews? Do people like them mainly spoiler free, because they use them to choose books to read? Or do they use them to have fun meaty discussion of books they have all read and enjoyed?

Also, what do people think of the Thomas Covenant books? I remember them being mentioned, I just can't remember if it was as "terribly good" or "terribly bad".

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From:wellinghall
Date:June 27th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
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I hardly write book reviews at all, but I would expect significant spoilers to be flagged.

I tried the Thos Covenant, Esq, several years ago, and stopped after a few chapters. But don't take that as a lack of recommendation; there are lots of things I can't get into that others seem to enjoy.
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From:gayalondiel
Date:June 27th, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC)
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I feel rather guilty for damning the Thomas Covenant books while only having read "Lord Foul's Bane". Given that navyboy82 and I gave up on it because we were laughing at it too much, I don't think I'm ever going to pick it up again.

I remember thought that our cover stated "Comparable to Tolkien at his best" and we had an involved discussion based around whether the context of the review had illustrated that Donaldson at his best was comparable to Tolkien and not the other way around as it seems to read.
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From:white_hart
Date:June 27th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
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I can remember having similar conversations about that quote, and also speculating that the actual comparison might well not have been favourable to Donaldson.
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:June 27th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)

How do people use LJ book reviews?

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Difficult, different people have different preferences. I think I vary, depending on the book, if I feel I can describe what's cool (or bad) about it without giving things away, or if I just want to talk about lots of interesting spoilers.

I generally don't mind mild spoilers, especially for the start and first third of a book, if it encourages me to read it, unless I was definitely going to anyway. But I know some people like to remain completely unspoiled.
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From:simont
Date:June 27th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
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How do people use LJ book reviews? Do people like them mainly spoiler free, because they use them to choose books to read? Or do they use them to have fun meaty discussion of books they have all read and enjoyed?

Both! If I see a spoilers-allowed post about a book I've read, I'll pitch in and talk about it (assuming I've got something to say), and if I see a spoilers-free review of a book I haven't read I'll factor it into my reading selection. Both are good :-)

Also, what do people think of the Thomas Covenant books? I remember them being mentioned, I just can't remember if it was as "terribly good" or "terribly bad".

I say they're terribly bad, but I wouldn't say the same about Stephen Donaldson as a whole. The two-book Mordant's Need miniseries is excellent, in particular, and I liked the five-book Gap series too though I recognise that it might well be too long, too involved or too downright nasty in places to appeal to everyone. Thomas Covenant is Donaldson's headline work, but it really shouldn't be.
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From:3c66b
Date:June 27th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I agree about Mordant's Need. The main character is irritating in the same way as, but orders of magnitude less so than, TC, and the rest of the story makes up for it. I don't think the Thomas Covenant books are uniformly bad but the good bits are few and far between.
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From:ewx
Date:June 27th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
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I read all ten of the Covenant books. Obviously they kept me reading but, er, I don't think in retrospect it was time terribly well spent. They're good for clench-racing though.
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From:romancinger
Date:June 27th, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC)
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My experience was about the same. They certainly weren't my favourite kind of fantasy fiction, but I read them all - this was at a time when I devoured many things just for the sake of reading. They are OK, but if you're looking for something to more than just pass the time, I wouldn't recommend.
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:June 27th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
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Covenant books are apparently fun but really annoying. I started one (the first?), and thought the beginning, in this world, was grim but rather interesting, but got bored when we was in fantasyland.

They're renowned amongst CUSFS for the clench game: to play, pick a covenant book, open it, and try to find the world "clench" first. Good players can do it in 10-15 seconds.

And for often dwelling too much on grisly details of leprosy and so on. (And I don't normally notice grisly dwelling, so it must be bad.)

Some people like them a lot, but many people just don't like them, and I'm guessing you're in the second camp, but don't know.

Have you read Donaldson's collections of short stories, something, and "Reeve the Just"? I liked those quite a lot, and would recommend where to start if you were getting into Donaldson. Or Mirror of her Dreams? Which is in some of the same ways annoying, but with really interesting ideas.
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From:ilanin
Date:June 27th, 2008 02:51 pm (UTC)
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When I write reviews they're normally very short things stretching to a couple of paragraphs at most, so it's easy to avoid spoilers except in the vaguest terms (and I don't worry about writing exceedingly vague spoilers). If I wanted to have an in-depth discussion of some literary device used as a plot point two-thirds of the way in I'd probably drop a spoiler tag on the post.
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From:oedipamaas49
Date:June 27th, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC)
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My experience of the Thomas Covenant books was receiving a huge tome (several books in one, I think), and finding it entirely dull. I think I made my way through about two thirds, out of loyalty to the gift-giver, before abandoning it.

Admittedly I do have this reaction to a lot of fiction; me finding something dull is not a good indicator that other people will.
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From:gerald_duck
Date:June 27th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
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I think the distinction is between a review (intended to help people intending to read it, so spoilers are probably unwise) and a discussion (intended to garner opinions from people who have read it, so spoilers are fine).

I don't do either very often, but I'll tend to do reviews if I think not many people have seen/read/heard the thing yet and discussions if I expect lots of people have. Maybe. Depending on mood.
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From:vyvyan
Date:June 27th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
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I really liked the Covenant books! But I think I'm in a minority there.
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From:keirf
Date:July 18th, 2008 09:20 am (UTC)
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I liked the second series (red dot books) a lot and have probably reread them four or five times. The yellow dot ones I've only read through once.
From:garath_jj
Date:June 28th, 2008 08:20 am (UTC)
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I personally think the Thomas Covenant books are extremely good, but the first time I tried to read them I didn't get far because the start is very slow and bears little relation to what the series will actually be like.

They're definitely a polarising force- you've probably heard both terribly good and terribly bad from different people, even before this question.
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From:cjwatson
Date:June 28th, 2008 09:48 am (UTC)
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I decided after reading "Lord Foul's Bane" that I was never going to have a sufficient baseline level of cheerfulness to be able to read another Thomas Covenant book without wanting to kill myself by the time I was finished. (And I'm not a depressive by any stretch of the imagination.)
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