Seventh Decimate by Stephen R. Donaldson

Seventh Decimate

Stephen R. Donaldson

"A new Stephen Donaldson book is always a cause for celebration. Seventh Decimate will whet your appetite for a sequel."--New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks

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The acclaimed author of the Thomas Covenant Chronicles launches a powerful new trilogy about a prince’s desperate quest for a sorcerous library to save his people.

Fire. Wind. Pestilence. Earthquake. Drought. Lightning.
These are the six Decimates, wielded by sorcerers for both good and evil.

But a seventh Decimate exists—the most devastating one of all...

For centuries, the realms of Belleger and Amika have been at war, with sorcerers from both sides harnessing the Decimates to rain blood and pain upon their enemy. But somehow, in some way, the Amikans have discovered and invoked a seventh Decimate, one that strips all lesser sorcery of its power. And now the Bellegerins stand defenseless.
Prince Bifalt, eldest son of the Bellegerin King, would like to see the world wiped free of sorcerers. But it is he who is charged with finding the repository of all of their knowledge, to locate the book of the seventh Decimate—and reverse the fate of his land.
All hope rests with Prince Bifalt. But the legendary library, which may or may not exist, lies beyond an unforgiving desert and treacherous mountains—and beyond the borders of his own experience. Wracked by hunger and fatigue, sacrificing loyal men along the way, Prince Bifalt will discover that there is a game being played by those far more powerful than he could ever imagine. And that he is nothing but a pawn...

Advance Galley Reviews

This book got off to kind of a slow start for me, which is to be expected from a fantasy novel because world building is important, but it's also important for me to feel invested in the characters fortunes, and I had a hard time with that where Prince Bifalt was concerned. I mean, sure, I felt bad for his nation that was stuck fighting a seemingly endless war without even knowing why they were fighting, but I also couldn't understand how the prince of all people didn't actually know why the war started in the first place. I can understand the common soldiers not being kept in the loop after decades of warfare, but you'd think the heir to the throne would be apprised of the situation fully. But no, he's just as clueless as the rest of them, maybe even more so considering his extreme disdain for the sorcerers that have kept him alive in battle. I became a bit intrigued when the Bellegerin sorcerers lost their magic, wondering what the cause was and if the sorcerers in Amika were equally stricken. Some events ensued that answered that question for me, but it just left me more confused about the war strategy going forward. Then more things happened and some people died, but I didn't really care because I still felt no connection to the characters. In the end, I was a little intrigued to see if Prince Bifalt's actions would lead to change in the relationship between Beleger and Amika, maybe intrigued enough to read the second book, but I'm not just dying to get my hands on it at this point. So overall I give Seventh Decimate 3.03 stars.

This book, what to say? While I was excited to pick it up, and feel it had loads of potential, sadly it didn't meet my expectations. I quickly grew bored, and came to dislike Prince Bilaft rather early in the story, so much of the read was too long and a struggle to read.

I went back and forth with my feelings on this book. It tells the story of a quest to find the book 'Seventh Decimate' by Prince Bifalt in an effort to save his kingdom from their enemies. So far, so standard in terms of epic fantasy, which was a bit of a surprise coming from Donaldson, who has a reputation as a trailblazer of the genre. I found some of the prose really clunky and there is an awful lot of exposition in the early part of the narrative. I also found a lot of the plot turns really predictable, to the extent where I was getting really angry with the protagonist for not seeing the obvious. Despite all of this, however, I cannot deny that I really enjoyed this book! The idea of the Last Repository for a book nerd like myself is just a wonder and I found myself being swept up in the excitement of the journey, the battles and the strange people met along the way. So, this book doesn't do anything new or different from many other epic fantasy offerings, but it does hit all the right notes and takes the reader to a pretty intriguing new realm.

This was a pretty exciting read, slightly slow paced but the writing style and story/plot was really good. 4 stars

So this is the first book in a new trilogy. This is my kind of book I really enjoyed it. I'm so happy I read it. I have never read Stephen R. Donaldson before but he has written a very intriguing fantasy novel which was very well written. I will be buying a physical copy of this book and read the next two books in this series. If you like fantasy try this one out. Thank you for first to read for my advanced readers copy.

I really enjoyed this book. It was slow to pick up but once it did I was on the edge of my seat.

I feel that the plot of Seventh Decimate was interesting and I liked the idea of the Decimates and the war between Belleger and Amika, and the quest. However, it was very hard to enjoy the characters, namely the prince. The story was well-written overall, the characters made the story fall flat though.

"Seventh Decimate" is a start to a new fantasy series. It's the first time I've read anything by Donaldson. I did not enjoy it as much as I wanted to. It's a bit different from the other fantasy series I've read. Still, I didn't exactly love it but I can see other people enjoying it quite a bit.

Seventh Decimate by Stephen Donaldson has all the ingredients for the beginning of an epic fantasy series. For example there is an endless war, sorcery, and a quest to a legendary library. All the key factors for a compelling story are contained in this book. However, it also has Prince Bifalt. He is the most important element in the story as the main character. We should feel a connection, we should want him to succeed, and we really should care about him, but I didn’t. What I feel for the prince is a strong dislike bordering on contempt. For this reason I could not immerse myself fully into the book. When I read I want some kind of character growth. Through all the prince’s experiences and trials in the story he stayed exactly the same. I know it’s a series and there will be more opportunities for him to develop, but I needed something in this first installment. I wanted a small change to hold onto until the next book. Instead I was left with frustration.

Seventh Decimate is my first Stephen R. Donaldson book. But the synopsis captured by interest and I just had to read it. After reading the first chapter I couldn't put the book down. Two kingdoms are at war, Belleger and Amika. We follow Prince Befalt on this quest to find a book and a library that may not exist. The Prince hopes that in finding the book he can save his kingdom with magic, since Amika has magic and Belleger only has weapons. We come to find out the quest isn't at all easy, and in finding the lost library the answers he seeks will be hard to find. The book is very well written, it's action packed and I enjoyed each scene. I wish there would of been more to the world building, but I'm hoping will explore more of that in the second book.

I must say I struggled with this story. While I liked the story line an connected with the characters at one point in the story I felt like I was in this senseless downward spiral. I understood Prince Bifalt's plight. The author did a great job establishing the issues early on which helped to to accept the prince's point of view. Eventually, however, the doom and gloom became almost predictable so much so that I teetered on the idea of finishing the book or not. When they reached the library I I knew it was a turning point and when his friend was whisked away I saw the setup coming. But, because of the consistent negativity - droning on that every possibility becuase a negative outcome I didn't care to even read whether or not the prince had to face his comrade and what the outcome was. I just didn't care at that point. It is a beautiful written story but by that point I felt continuing was pointless.

I know I say this every single time, but: high, epic fantasy isn't for everyone. If that's not your reading taste and you pick this up...well, you're probably gonna have a bad time. The premise of this book--an endless war between two powerful nations--feels eerily prescient, and when you read the situation allegorically, it gives added depth to the book. And it helps that Donaldson portrays war for what it really is: gruesome, violent, and horrific. But a story like that requires vivid, strong characters to carry it through, and this book just...doesn't have that. The Prince is incredibly unlikeable, which I get. He'll likely evolve through the series, but he's so narrow-minded and difficult that it makes it hard to tolerate him through ONE book, much less a series. And the supporting characters often felt tropish rather than robust. I have to say, as someone who came into this book expecting a lot, it just didn't work out. (Caveat: this is my first Donaldson book, so this might be his style. In that case, take my review with a grain of salt.)

I usually don't read fantasy because it's needlessly violent and more than a little misogynistic, but this book is an exception to that perception. In "Seventh Decimate", two warring kingdoms are waging a war that has been going on since before they can remember. Belleger and Amika have used different types of magic called "decimates" against one another to win battles, six known, and used "Magisters" who wield magic causing casualties on both sides. Only now, Belleger has guns, weapons unheard of before that cause Amika alarm. Prince Befalt, who leads the Belleger army under his father's rule, would think they now have an advantage over their foe in a battle they are hoping gets them a win...when all magic suddenly disappears. Just like that, all use of magic is gone. And near a blast zone in a battle, Prince Befalt, who should have been dead, hears a voice ask in his head: "Are you ready?" Thinking that the kingdom of Amika had something to do with magic being gone in Belleger, the Prince, after gathering some intelligence on a seventh decimate, goes in search of a book that he feels Amika used to stop magic and can in turn start it again. He feels that the only way to win this war is to get magic back. So the journey begins, leading into dunes, to a caravan of peculiar people not unlike a traveling circus who take him to the "Last Library" where he can find this book. Only someone is playing a game and the stakes are both kingdoms. There are answers that only the magically powerful have...and they're not so eager to share. Very well written and interesting, which is what fantasy should be about. It's certainly an adventure tale, but with the added supernatural elements this fantasy work remains steady and makes the reader want to read the next book in line.

This is definitely a story with an unlikeable narrator. I enjoyed it overall but it did require some forced reading sessions. This is my first read from this author. I liked this story even if it can be slow and irritating. I would read more of this series and this author but it surely would not be at the top of my to-read pile.

I am new to Donaldson’s work, I know of him by reputation only and that others greatly enjoy his fantasy worlds, but form this particular book, I don’t see it. In reading the synopsis and drooling over the cover, I was thrilled to be able to read an early copy of the book as he is such a well-respected author, but those good feelings were wiped out pretty quickly as the first 60% of the book was like pulling teeth to get through. It’s a convoluted “magical” setting with laws and rules that are never well defined, and a world that feels small and simplistic with two warring nations that have been at war so long, the cause is nearly forgotten—though the brief explanation felt like a bad Romeo and Juliet retelling—all the people know is that some slight was caused a millennia ago, so obviously they still fight about it. Even when the main character, Prince Bifalt, has his mind expanded, the world never managed to feel whole, and therefore remained small and petty, populated by a slew of characters that annoyed me literally every step of the way. Let me start by discussing the lack of world building, as this includes both the physical world and the magical laws that Donaldson populates it with. You never see the world. You never see the warring kingdoms. All the action, everything really, happens outside of the kingdoms who’s fate the reader is supposed to be invested in. All I know, is that outside these kingdoms borders, there is apparently a pretty nasty river, a mountain somewhere, and a deadly desert that is supposedly impassable, but isn’t because everyone else in the world has a way to get through it. Bifalt’s home land is so small, and so far behind everyone else, that it’s sad and laughable, and also feels incredibly unbelievable. The magic system would be cool if Donaldson had spent more time on that, rather than the prince’s literal journey to achieve his quest. The elemental powers are intriguing, but I never understood much about them other than their range is limited. Unless you happen to be in this legendary library of course, then all bets are off. And outside of a few early instances where we see the Prince’s people and his foes fighting, you don’t see the magic, it’s just implied and meant to cause fear even in its absence. Unfortunately, the characters all fall under this rather flat use of world building as well, for they too, feel either one-dimensional, or inconsequential. There are so many men who follow Bifalt in the beginning, we are introduced to them, hear their back stories briefly like that will make the reader feel chummy with them, and then they are killed and I am left wondering if I was ever really meant to care about their inclusion from the onset. We only ever get to see the world through Bifalt’s eyes and he is not a fun character to follow. He’s pretty bland, all he has is a frustrating arrogance, ignorance, and stubbornness that make up his entire being. He does not impact any change, things just happen to him that are pretty coincidental when it comes to achieving his ultimate goal. He is no hero. I suppose that’s the point, but the guy is very easy to hate, and not in the “you love to hate him” way. I just flat out did not like anything about him, and I ultimately did not care about him, his quest, or if he succeeded. In fact, every character in this book is pretty awful in that none are likable, which may be the point as this is the first in the series and the Prince will need to seek revenge or justice or vengeance (or something) later on. But because I liked no one, I don’t care to make myself suffer through another cast of loathsome, arrogant pricks just to find out what the ultimate fate will be of these nations I never got to see. The book felt long and cumbersome, focusing too much on a painfully arduous journey with men I had no vested interest in seeing succeed because Donaldson made them so flawed as to be unlikable, and dare I say, irredeemable, while the action happens around them, rather than this cast of characters actually doing anything to make their journey a success. The book made me angry because it was so unsatisfying from a character development and world building standpoint that I will not be continuing with the rest of the series. Donaldson does have a gift for words, so this won’t be a one star for me despite my many other issues, so a low 2 stars it is.

Do you ever find yourself wanting to like a book because you've not liked a book in a while and didn't want to give another bad review to the First to Read program (who offered me this book in exchange for an honest review)? That's what I felt here with Seventh Decimate. We start off with Prince Bifalt of Belleger heading into battle with their country's new invention: rifles. For once, they have a weapon against the sorcerers of Amica (I'm not sure whether I'm to find the names clever or eyeroll-worthy). And everything goes great for the prologue, until we jump forward and learn Amica has found a way to strip Belleger of its own magic. Thus, Prince Bifalt must set off into the world to try and find the library with the answers to crushing sorcery once and for all. He also gets random head messages from sorcerers trying to show him the way into their lair. Great plot. I just didn't care about any of it. I think the first fault I had with this book was the impersonal style. I found it too distant for 3rd person close and too close for 3rd person omniscient (or outside narrator). There's several moments where the text doesn't trust the readers to get the point, so it belabors everything. The second fault is the characters. I didn't find a one of them interesting, from their packed-to-dense introductions to not displaying any individuality later in the book. This would be fine if the lead, Prince Bifalt, was remotely interesting or conflicted or had qualities I could connect with. He seems to have little history or memories outside of this quest experience, making him feel less like a person and more like a narrative tool. Doesn't help that he's always referred to as "Prince Bifalt" and not by first name or nickname or a name his battle companions would use. And maybe there's a reason for that (like an unknown narrator), but by 60% of the book, I didn't care enough to find out. Also, while not a fault (depending on the reasons behind it), I noticed the lack of named female characters. There was one in the prologue, then none until the book's halfway point (and even those characters lasted for only a few lines before the whole caravan ventured away). The one woman with a name in the prologue is part of the country's backstory, being a woman who is the cause of two brothers fighting and is later mauled and killed at her wedding for creating jealous feels in the one brother. Yeah....... With the last book I reviewed for First to Read, I was easily not the right audience. With this book, I'm not sure I could recommend Seventh Decimate to anyone. YMMV.

I didn't start reading this novel with many expectations, but I was drawn very quickly in by curiosity by the author's naming conventions, of all things. The author basically announces that he is going to subvert fantasy tropes, and then he does it, and does it well. Two nations, Belleger and Amika, have been at war for generations and for generations have been using the "Decimates", or various forms of magic, to make war against each other. Belleger, desperate for an advantage, developed guns. Before they could deploy the guns in battle, Belleger's magic was stripped away by the Seventh Decimate, leaving Belleger almost defenseless against Amika except for said guns. Belleger and specifically its prince, Bifalt, believe that the only way Belleger can survive is if Amika is completely destroyed. Bifalt sets off on a quest to learn the Seventh Decimate and restore Belleger's magic. This seems like a classic set-up to a fantasy novel, but the naming of our protagonist's country "Belleger" which is suggestive of "belligerent" and its antagonist "Amika" which is suggestive of "amicable" quickly caught me attention - was just this an inside joke of the author, or is our classic set-up of David vs Goliath about to be turned on its head? What we learn over the course of the novel is that Bifalt, completely desperate for his country and completely suspicious of anyone's motives who does not fight for Belleger and against Amika, sees everything in black and white where they is ONLY grey. He is a completely biased observer. He hates magic and magicians because of their horror in war, but he is both willing to use them in war and unwilling to see the good uses magic can be put toward (healing, food production, etc) . He hates Amika and Amikans and is willing to ascribe every evil motivation to them, despite the rather obvious signs that Amika is also struggling and desperate after decades of war. What makes the book so readable is Bifalt's legitimate anxiety and paranoia - even though Bifalt is wrongheaded and definitely a bigot, he is absolutely terrified for his country, his decisions matter for the life and death of that country, the success of his quest may be the only way to save his country, and the motivations of people both helping him and hindering him are unclear at best and purposefully hidden from him at worst. The author does a good job of showing how both these desperate straits on top of a lifetime at war on top of generations of indoctrinated hatred make it nearly impossible (or, at least, exceedingly difficult) for Bifalt to shed his biases, even if by doing so he can save Bellegor. I thought this was a great start to the series. The book was relatively short and, I felt, moved along at a pace that balanced character development and plot (slow for some reviewers but I felt it worked). And, though I feel like the author doesn't generally subscribe to the theory that people can change, I see great potential for future volumes if Bifalt is pushed to undergo some personal and moral growth.

I thoroughly enjoyed the telling of this tale. The story is an interesting one with an endless war between two neighboring nations and how each is seeking to end it by obliterating the other. This war is never glorified or seen as anything but what war is: destructive, crippling, and heartless. The biggest downfall of the novel is its main character, Prince Bifalt. You see and hear everything from his perspective - this is very much his story. Unfortunately, he is one of the most unlikable characters I've come across in a long time. Having to spend so much time with such a single-minded and stupidly stubborn character was a real drag on the story.

As this story is outside of my normal realm of stories, I kept as open of a mind as possible. With that said I found this story difficult to get through. The story moved at a slow pace & became repetitive. I feel that the purpose of this story was to drive home the idea of remaining humble and not forgetting to see the world as a whole & not just from your perspective. For me this story left me wanting. If given the opportunity to read more like this I would decline.

I enjoyed this novel, however I did not like Prince Bifalt, the main character. I am not sure why, but maybe I like it when the main characters grow and change within the story to make themselves better. The prince just seemed very narrowminded and it seemed like it was his way or no way. I liked the descriptions of the characters' surroundings, however, I had a hard time keeping my attention on the story since it did seem to be very slow going.

Seventh Decimate is a new book by Stephen R. Donaldson and is the first book in the Great God's War series. I am a longtime fan of his Thomas Covenant series so I was looking forward to reading this book. It can be read as a standalone but it is open-ended for the next book and it is clear that the story doesn't end here. There is violence, this is a story about war after all. The book blurb adequately describes the storyline so I'm not going to repeat all of that info here. The author does a good job of describing the countries and what is going on between them. This is not a fast paced with a lot of action. It is worth reading but you have to be willing to stick with reading it. I plan on reading the next book once it is published, but I'm not going to rush to read it like I did when the next Thomas Covenant book came out. I received a copy of this book from First To Read and chose to write a review for other readers.

I really wanted to like this book. But I didn't. The problem wasn't with the concept but rather the way the author told the story - it just didn't do it for me. First of all, I didn't like Bifalt. As in, I hated him. And that's never a good sign when you are reading a book. This led me to not feel as connected with him and to also not care about what was happening to him. I also found that the story was a little hard for me to get into. For some reason, I couldn't get myself to feel interested in what was being described or the events that were happening. I found myself skimming through passages looking for something juicy... but coming up empty. I will say that the author was very good at describing battle scenes; he made it realistic and didn't glorify death and carnage, which I really appreciated. Overall, this novel has the potential to be a really great fantasy series but it's just not for me. 2/5 stars from me!

This was an okay story.. It had a decent plot but it moved way too slow. Yes, I could relate with the M.C.'s struggle, but it felt wrong. And the fight at the end, I knew what was to happen... I can only give it two and a half stars... A little more 'life' in the characters would've earned it the other half.

I've read quite a few of Stephen R. Donaldson's books and this book definitely had his writing style, though it was a little slower-paced than some. His characters always spend quite a bit of time in introspection, and their internal struggle is as important to the plot of Stephen R. Donaldson's books as any external struggle going on. His main characters tend to be anti-heroes that do some good and some evil, and I end up both liking and hating them, but my emotions towards Prince Bifalt were more annoyance and indifference. Hopefully he will start getting his act together in later books, but the plot of Seventh Decimate was mostly Prince Bifalt slogging through the desert, surviving the enemy and the elements, and frequently expressing his hatred of sorcerers and his desire not to be a pawn of forces beyond his control...all while being a pawn of forces beyond his control. Bifalt is a pretty biased narrator and seems pretty unwilling to learn and grow, even when faced with plenty of evidence that what he believes may not be the whole truth. I wanted to see a few other characters expanded on and a bit of a crack in Bifalt's narrow view of the world. I got through the book, but I was hoping for a bit more. If I see the sequel, I will probably read it, and I would recommend this to those who are serious fans, but I wouldn't suggest this for those unfamiliar with his earlier work.

As a reader of Donaldson's Thomas Covenant novels I was very excited to receive an advance reading copy of the Seventh Decimate. Donaldson uses his wordsmithing skills well. I was drawn into the story and enjoyed the journey. Although complex in telling I enjoyed the richness of the story and look forward to more unraveling in future books. His works are challenging but I appreciate books that need the reader to pay attention.

This is my first read of Stephen R. Donaldson. Based on reviews of his previous work, I was excited to get an ARC for his new trilogy. Being new to Donaldson, I'm unsure if this a slow setting of the stage for the conflict to come or is a departure from his normal style. The overall concept is intriguing. Unfortunately Prince Bifalt is a completely unlikable character with no growth throughout the book. I was not able to develop enough of a connection with any of the other characters to care what happened to them. This first book was a struggle for me. While the character development was limited the setting and premise kept me reading. The opportunity for the prince to learn more about this larger world holds great promise if he can set his stubborn, childish behavior aside. I can only hope the character growth will occur in the subsequent books. I received this book from the Penguin First to Read program in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy.

This book was...tough for me. I admit, I don't read a lot of straight-up fantasy. And apparently, this was not the book to start with. Although the world and the problems that Prince Bifalt and his men encountered in the story were really interesting, the story itself just didn't do anything with them. There was very little dialogue and we got everything through Prince Bifalt's eyes, an unchanging character with very little development. The author didn't give him very diverse motivations for what he was after and he ended up coming off as unnecessarily stubborn and a little bit of a jerk. As I said, the world and some of the characters were very interesting but the author just didn't DO anything with them. It took me a lot longer to get through this book than I was expecting because I had to convince myself to read it at times. Overall, a great concept but a very frustrating read.

I found this title difficult to read through. It is a nice story that is decently told; but I felt it lacked something of an edge or grit to fully pull me into Bifalt's world. Thus, it comes across as more of a fairy tale that is told to me, rather than a journey I am able to experience along with the characters.

I was really looking forward to reading The Seventh Decimate becasue of the authors rave reviews. I was left disappointed and wasted my time reading the whole thing through. I kept hoping things would change and that the main character would have some redeeming qualities about him that would help me somehow relate to him. He is a very angry, entitled prince that had no business being sent on what seemed an impossible mission to save his people. He had no humility and few things that would be admired in a future leader other than a redeeming moment when he fed starving people with his soldiers provisions. He was filled with so much hatred that he would rather fight to the death than offer his people a chance at peace. Other than the main character (that had nothing going for him other than his title) none of the other characters were very built upon. I found the Seventh Decimate to be sorely lacking.

I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. I found this to be a very well written tale of war and its ravages and a man who goes up against warriors, sorcerers and even himself in the battle. This novel will definitely make all who read have cause for thought!

The world building was a little lacking. There are two warring countries, "something" or another that separates the two, and a vast desert that stretches beyond. If there is more out there, neither countries appear to know about it. They are both so focused on destroying each other for reasons forgotten long ago. Prince Bifalt is driven by his quest to save his country. His qualities weren't that likable and he didn't grow as a character. Even to the end, he holds onto his own ideals and misconceptions. Unlike his comrade, he doesn't strive to seek truth or understanding. A bunch of characters make an appearance, but don't necessarily add anything to the story. I would have liked to learn more about some of the other characters or understand their importance (if any at all). It was an interesting start to a series, but ultimately fell flat for me. Would I continue with the series? At this point I am going to say no. If reviews are good, I might give it another chance.

I am sorry to say that this type of fantasy fiction is not one I like. I can't fairly review it.

Is it fair to judge a book against another of an author? What about against an author's body of work? It is a challenge to not do so with this one and Donaldson. As to that judgment, Donaldson introduced me to his incredible imagination 40 years ago. His Covenant novels are rich, immediately so and all the way through (at least the ones I read...I have yet to tackle the last three; other attentions and all...), as was his Mordant pair. This one, is not. It seems under baked. His characters and descriptions are uncharacteristically raw. There are a number of throwaways, and it seems Donaldson didn't want to invest any time in them before they were expended. I get that, but his Prince Bifalt is boorish with little redeeming him. Where Covenant's flaws and anger had a backstory that a reader can identify with, I saw nothing in Bifalt that led me to understand him. Oh, he's not hard to understand - flat, undeveloped, a blunt instrument. The thoughts that rush into his head are incongruous, inconsistent - well, they are consistently inconsistent - with rationality. I also felt the narrative to be uncharacteristically shallow, and predictable...that's not something I've seen before in a Donaldson work. I accept some fault in my perceptions - I am unused to reading such deliberately obtuse characters. I suppose there are more people than I know who really do think that way, but I wasn't expecting such portrayals from Donaldson. It's a departure, and one I expect I should adjust to. I am grateful for the opportunity of the advance read, and will read the next when it comes out...I want to see where it goes.

This was my first book by this author and I was really looking forward to reading it as it came with a positive recommendation by one of my favorite authors. Unfortunately I was very bored with the entire book, in fact I thought about just putting the book down and walking away many times while reading it. I did finish it but I doubt that I would read any of the future boks in this series. I found the main character, Prince Bifalt just unlikeable. He was conflicted, which I guess is part of the story but I never warmed up to him. The story itself just never grabbed my attention and made me look forward to seeing what happens next. In fact I was kinda glad when I came to the end. I was provided an advance readers copy from Penguin Books for my honest review.

I was provided an ARC from Penguin Books and First to Read for my honest review. I tried to like this book as a fan of the Shanara chronicles and Terry Brooks. I was so confused about what was going on and who was who that I finally gave up. The description of the book did not match the story line. It's possible I never got that far, but it shouldn't have taken that long.

I was given an advanced reading copy of this book to review. I tried, I really tried to like this book. It just didn't happen. I struggled to turn the page and continue reading. The beleaguered discriptions were exhausting to me and did not pull me in like Terry Brooks. I felt the writing was confusing but it may be the style others enjoy. I suggest reading a few sample pages first. If you like that, then you will like the book.

I've read the Thomas Covenant series and Mordants Need. I was excited to read to read this new series. I was a little disappointed. I thought the world building weak compared to his other books. The plot seemed so predictable. I never warmed up to Bifalt. Will I read the rest of series? Probably. This wasn't vintage Donaldson.

As a fan of the Thomas Covenant series,I was eager to read The Seventh Decimate after reading its synopsis. In my opinion, the sole job of an author of a new trilogy is to grab hold of the reader and not permit him to leave his reading chair. With fantasy readers, thousands of pages to reach a resolution mean nothing but the author must pull them in to their world. The best of the genre offers mystery, romance, adventure and complex world and character building which engage the readers' curiosity driving them to reach for the next in the series. The protagonist must goad the reader into cheering for them despite their shortcomings. In this I felt that The Seventh Decimate fell short. I felt that the characters were stereotypical and the writing verbose. I respect the necessity of a reluctant hero and creating him in such a way that we need to watch his evolution but there was little in Bifalt that urged me to root for him.In the second half of the book I did begin to see a dual personality emerging and that gave me hope. I was more intrigued by the name wordplay: King Abbator- abattoir or slaughterhouse, Prince Bifalt- two faults or 2 sides,Belleger - belligerent or arrogant, Amika- amicable-all of the names seemingly inapposite of their depictions. I was interested to see if my intuition was correct or I was just reaching for straws. The storyline definitely had its moments when I wished to see the outcome. However, the reading pace and style did not flow easily . It was more than verbose in that the same words are used in the same sequence in the same sentences feeling repetitive. If this had been a freshman author I do not believe that I would have judged it as harshly. I do know that I am more critical of experienced authors and that it's a fault that lies with me. I still believe that the storyline has much to recommend it and hope that both the story's and Bifalt's evolution improve in subsequent releases. I am in awe of those who put pen to paper and transport me to other worlds so I am saddened when I post a negative review however I was graciously granted an advanced copy by The First to Read Program and felt compelled to be honest .If you are a fan of Mr. Donaldson's other writings or any fantasy novels, I hope that you will give this new release a try and I relish hearing other points of view.

Big fan of the Thomas Covenant books, so I was excited to read a new book by Donaldson. Bifalt, a non-sorcerer, only sees the negative side of sorcery, and would rather it be banished from the world. (Preferably after Amika is destroyed.) Enjoyed the book, but the stiffness of Bifalt's character sometimes drags down the prose. Bifalt's single-minded dedication to the destruction of Amika makes him a less likable character to follow, but there are still moments that hint at his potential redemption. Filled with rage, yet he shares food from his group with a starving village. There is a moment as he dismisses the teamsters where he shows gratitude. (And I don't think I've ever read the word wain so many times in one novel.) The second half of the novel involves an exotic caravan and then the remote library. Bifalt's world view is expanded beyond his small realm, but he strongly clings to his duty to Belleger. I look forward to see how Donaldson expands on the beginning of this story and to find out if Bifalt takes advantage of his opportunities.

A good premise, Prince Bifalt assembles a team on a quest for a possible Library to help his land defeat their enemy in a never-ending conflict. Both sides exact ruinous and horrible sorcery induced acts on each other until Prince Bifalt's homeland is stripped of its own Magisters' use of theurgy by a seventh Decimate. Bitter and angry the Prince begins a dangerous and seemingly dubious journey across desolate lands, where he meets a caravan conveniently when no hope is left. Betrayed and manipulated, he is harangued into an agreement to foster peace, leaving him planning retribution and vengeance on the perpetrators. Slow going at times due to point of view of the Prince, a anti-hero type with little personality which may grow and be redeemed in later books. Worth investing in and hopeful future books will only further the series.


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