Book Review – The Illearth War

Aaron wrote a pretty good review of this book recently.  I just re-read it from years ago, and thought I’d add a few things that occurred to me.

I agree with Aaron, Troy is definitely more likeable this time.  I remember Troy being a complete jerk who was oblivious to what I thought was Covenant’s obvious pain.  In reality, he was the opposite of Covenant, which made it impossible for him to understand.  Covenant refused to accept the Land as reality because to do so would loosen his control over his disease.  Troy clung to the Land as reality in the desparate hope that his new-found sight would never leave him.  Troy’s devastation when his sight was taken away is what Covenant is so badly trying to avoid.

On the other hand, I found Elena much less likable than remembered.  I started seeing signs early in the book of how power-hungry she would become.

One thing that I notice more now that I’m older, I guess, are the references to Christianity.  I don’t know if the author meant these references, but here are some I see:

1) Good is in a constant struggle against evil in all it’s forms.  There is a Creator who created the Earth and all within it, but Evil snuck into the process.  The Lords and Land are good.  Evil has many names and is not only represented by actual beings, but can find it’s way into those who are otherwise good.

2) The Desecration of the Land by Kevin can be compared to the Great Flood.  The intent of the Desecration was to wipe out evil from the land so that Good would have a fresh start.  A certain amount of people were specifically spared.  In both cases, it was a temporary solution.

3) Berek is looked upon almost like the first coming, like Jesus.  The people of the Land are expecting to be saved by another Berek, or second coming.

I could come up with more, but these seem to be the most obvious.

One thought on “Book Review – The Illearth War”

  1. Yes, there are some pretty strong biblical themes. “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions” could be the subtitle of the first trilogy.

    Donaldson doesn’t belong to any particular organized religion, and he says he wasn’t trying to make any religious references or allegories; but he was raised by Christian missionaries, and that foundation pretty clearly comes through in these stories.

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