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Stephen R. Donaldson – A Man Rides Through

Title: Mordant’s Need – A Man Rides Through
Author: Stephen R. Donaldson
Year: 1987

A Man Rides Through is the sequel to The Mirror of Her Dreams, Stephen R. Donaldson’s Mordant’s Need, the story about Terisa, drawn from our modern world into a world of mirror, power and conspiracy. This is the last volume, which I felt I wanted to read after having been impressed by his mastery of plot shown in the Gap Cycle. At the end of the previous volume, most of the threads are still unconnected, leading me to conclude that the potential for greatness certainly was there.

I wasn’t completely mistaken. On the whole, this story is good and looking only at the plot, it’s a worthy follow-up to The Mirror of Her Dreams, which i gave four snails. Since the things I like with Donaldson stay roughly the same, I’m not going to elaborate on that now, but rather point out why I have decided to reduce the grade to a mere three.

To begin with, this book is too long. Yes, yes, I know, I always say that, but bear with me, To begin with, the story could have been written using fewer pages without any problem. More serious than that, though, is that quite a number of pages are spent on things lacking even the slightest trace of interest. Without spoiling too much, I can say that there are way, way too many and too long descriptions of battle in A Man Rides Through. Personal conflict is okay, but descriptions of pitched battles? I might have liked that when I was fourteen, but now it’s just a waste of time.

Additionally, I have a minor complaint. Donaldson uses phrases like “Oh, Geraden” or “Oh, Terisa” almost compulsively. Once I noticed this, I got more and more vexed for every time I heard it. I admit it might sound insignificant indeed, but it still annoyed me a lot.

That being said, this book isn’t bad. I have chosen to focus on the differences between this second volume and The Mirror of Her Dreams, and then it is true that the latter surpasses the former in almost every regard. However, these books have to be read together, because the story isn’t even remotely finished after the first book. Taken as a whole, I think Mordant’s Need is good, but the two books don’t even come close to the brilliance of the Gap Cycle.

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