Illearth War, The

by Stephen Donaldson (1977)

Not Rated (did not finish)

Wow, I think this is the first novel ever that I decided to leave unfinished. I had to create a new GR shelf for it anyway. Here’s the (annotated) passage that broke the camel’s back, on page 105. As you might have guessed, it’s more whiny dithering over the “reality” of the Land:

He could not go on in this fashion. If he did, he would soon come to resemble Hile Troy — a man so overwhelmed by the power of sight that he could not perceive the blindness of his desire to assume responsibility for the Land. That would be suicide for a leper.

Ugh. Not this again, this crap that you’re the only one who can’t believe in the Land because it will doom you as a leper. I really hoped we had gotten that out of our system in the 1st book. It was by far the most tedious part.

If he failed, he would die. And if he succeeded, he would never again be able to bear the numbness of his real life, his leprosy.

Okay, so couldn’t you just kill yourself at that point, if it was truly so difficult to bear?

He knew lepers who had died that way, but for them the death was never quick, never clean. Their ends lay beyond a fetid ugliness so abominable that he hfelt nauseated whenever he remembered that such putrefaction existed.

Okay, still not seeing why suicide wouldn’t be an option here. . . maybe because of that promise you made to yourself to survive? Umm, I guess, but is there nothing to be said at all for being sole witness to one of the most amazing glimpses of alternative dimensions that any human has ever seen? That’s surely gotta be worth something.

Imagine yourself as someone who has lost literally everything, guaranteed one of the most horrible, torturous deaths imaginable. Now someone comes along and offers you unimaginable marvels of magic in an alternate dimension, and to play a heroic part in a quest greater than any ever conceived in your world. Real excitement and a chance to mean something to untold millions. The only catch is that after you do all that you have to kill yourself in your own drab world. You’d probably still even have time to document your exploits and become a (even more, in this case) famous author.

You’d do it, wouldn’t you? I sure as hell would, in a heartbeat.

Seriously, I understand Donaldson’s closeness with the disease of leprosy, given his upbringing, but he’s really just shoving it on us relentlessly at this point. I just can’t anymore. The only reason I’m posting this instead of just removing it from my books is that I read the synopses on wikipedia and the third book in the trilogy actually sounds appealing — Foamfollower! Lena! — so I’ll go onto that one and just know to skip all this self-pitying BS. But man, what a disappointment this series has been so far.  I was intrigued too!  Good reveal on High Lord Elena!  But yeah. . . no.


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