Mordant's Need by Stephen R. Donaldson
This is my first time reading Donaldson's work, and I have to say I was impressed. He writes for grown ups- writing intelligently without being condescending. Highly recommended.
His plethora of charactors was astounding, and his characters in this book are, for the most part, fully realized. However, personally I did have a problem with the main protagonist Terisa. I found her a bit whiny and annoyingly maiden-in-distress-like, even at the end. And honestly, who says "Oh love!" to their significant other? A small thing perhaps, but it irked me nonetheless.
Mordant's Need is a great book. It's well written, and the plot twists and turns will definitely keep you interested. It's political intrigue is central to the book, however, so if that's not your cup of tea maybe this isn't for you. I read this series feverishly, and despite my gripes, I highly recommend it.
Submitted by Sean M
I've read lots of books over the years, by Donaldson and others, and Mordant's Need is still by far the most profound and thoroughly enjoyable experience I've had with a book.
It deals primarily with the theme of inneffectuality, and passivity. The heroine, Terisa, is haunted nightly by overwhelming feelings of nonexistence. Affecting nothing, loved and needed by no one, she sits in her apartment staring into mirrors in order to still her fear that she will fade from existence, and she knows nobody will miss her is she does. Her job is so passive that a copy machine could replace her. Her father only gave her her own apartment to keep her out of his sight.
As she looks into the mirror, trying to keep herself from fading away, a man suddenly bursts out of it, and tells her that she's champion his kingdom desperately needs. Be begs her to come with him to save his world. Since she's not needed at all in her own world, she agrees to go with him.
What follows is one of the most enthralling adventures ever committed to prose. The kingdom is coming to shambles because the King, once the most assertive, effectual leader an innovater in history, has gone passive and senile in his old age. He does nothing but play checkers while his kingdom is attacked by vile monsters translated from other worlds.
The pleas of his oldest friends and family to do something, anything, about it are met with nothing but weary cynicism and inaction.
Yet for what he has done in the past, he is still loved by all of them to the point that every one of them becomes torn, impaled on their own loyalty and need.
Every character struggles with their loyalty to the great ruler he once was, and their apparent need to save the world from the pathetic doddard he has become. Or has he?
It is Terisa's job to find out the truth, and learn who she really is and what she must do to meet Mordent's Need. She believes herself to be unimportant, there by accident. But if she's not the champion this realm needs, then why does someone keep trying to kill her?
Donaldson has a knack for taking old cliche themes and using them as a setting for telling deeply personal and human stories. The kings, castles, dungeons, etc., are so alive in this book you will be blown away, even if you thought you didn't 'like that sort of thing.'
His story is so polished that you can be sure if a character so much as breathes the wrong way, it will eventually be crucial to the plot. The smallest loose ends and subplots are so tightly grafted with the plot that you will (repeatedly) find yourself shocked, surprised, and gratified with every new turn.
Ultimately, the story drives home the message that one can dominate their own inneffectuality by disregarding their own self-image, and simply doing what needs to be done. As he puts it (repeatedly, Donaldson has a thing for repetition) "problems should be solved by those who see them."
But that's not the best part. The real fun with the book are the multitude of characters. So many that you would think you could lose track. But magically, you never do. Every character, from the lowest maid, to the highest kings, has their own personal demons to overcome, or to be overcome by. You will not believe the depth the Author gives to every single player in this tale. Every one of them will affect the choices of Terisa in some important way, and thusly, the fate of the world.
If you only have one more thing to read before you die, read this. I wouldn't steer you wrong!
Submitted by Sarah Finney
After years of constant reading my Lord of the Rings book was looking less than healthy and my Father encouraged me to try a Stephen Donaldson book. Not altogether sure of the prospect i began to read and was soon pleasantly surprised. I couldn't put the book down!
I grabed snatched readings at all cost and missed my bus stop several times due to being so enthralled. This book has everything a fantasy lover loves. Donaldson creates another world in which by just opening the book we can become part of it. His characters are flawless and intricate, some lovable, some dispisable.
The first book The Mirror of her Dreams will get you hook, line and sinker. As the plot thickens Donaldson devolps his characters and makes us feel like we know them. The second book A Man Rides Through not only hauls us in but it drags you back to the book time and time again, thirsty for more.
This book made such an impact on me and i hope readers who have never read it will take the plunge and delve into this powerful world of love, drama, deciet and passion.