5 grown-up, heart-achingly powerful fantasyRADMIND | 04/06/2010 | See all RADMIND's reviews (6)i can't read these books now.sometimes there are novels that you can read over and over, that give you that same wonderful sensation you had that first time on repeat reading. some novels reward you with new insight upon further reading, becoming richer and more beautiful each time.But then there are The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.I was pretty young when i read these, and hadnt really read much Fantasy at the time. The Hobbit, and some years before there was C.S. Lewis and Andre Norton, but nothing really grabbed me beyond the idea of Orcs and Wizards and Magical Swords. then someone reccommended the first of these books. One day, I will hunt that person down and either kiss them or maim them, because these books changed my perception of the whole genre, for good.firstly, let me say, Donaldson is a master, and this is him at the height of his powers. unfortunately, those powers are strongly favoured toward despair, anguish, sorrow, loss and monstrous wrongdoing.Many Fantasy novels take a loser or a misfit from our world and plunge them into a fantastic setting, where they eventually find their special power and become important and win the respect and love of others.Donadson gives us Thomas Covenant, a man who's already seriously screwed up when we meet him. he then gets plunged into a fantastic world, where everything just KEEPS GETTING WORSE FOR HIM AND ALL THOSE AROUND HIM. This is three large, densely written novels full of incredible imagination and stunning character work and this.... endless.... steep.... horrible... decline into a kind of emotional brutality, where Covenant's refusal to accept the Land as real means everyone around him suffers. reading them is TORTURE.but, dear lord, it's a dizzying, exhilerating kind of torture, one that only works because Donaldson is so good at making you care about everybody.which is why i cant read these again. because either they wont be quite as powerful, which could only be a disappointment, or they will be just as horribly wonderful, in which case i dont think my heart can take the strain.everyone who thinks Fantasy is for kids and wimps, shoud read these books.just once.