Monday, June 25, 2018

*Review* Seventh Decimate by Stephen R. Donaldson

Genre: Fantasy
Published: November 14, 2017
Pages: 314

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 brandishing 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 find the book of the seventh Decimate--and reverse the fate of his land. 

All hope rests with 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, 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...

I received a copy of this book through Penguin's First to Read program. This is my honest review.

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. - Katie 

Stephen R. Donaldson is the author of the original six volumes of the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, a landmark in modern fantasy. Every volume, beginning with Lord Foul’s Bane in 1977, has been an international bestseller. Donaldson returned to the series with the Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, comprising The Runes of the EarthFatal RevenantAgainst All Things Ending, and The Last Dark. Donaldson lives in New Mexico.


  1. This doesn't sound like it would be a good fit for me, and I'm sorry you were unable to connect with the characters. I always hate when that happens! It's a very important aspect of the book, even connecting with a villain (if they're the main character or not) is important.

    L @ Do You Dog-ear?

    1. Yeah, it's always disappointing when you just can't connect to any of the characters...Thanks for stopping by. - Katie