Monday, April 04, 2011

Top Five Book Series - #4

4. Mordant's Need series by Stephen Donaldson

By now it should be obvious that I'm a big user of my local library. One of the many books I once borrowed was The Mirror of Her Dreams by Stephen Donaldson (his best known fantasy series being the Thomas Covenant books). It was one of the few books where, once I'd read it, I had to read the second - and final part - of the series straight away. The library didn't have the second book yet and the paperback wouldn't be out for months, so I bought the hardback version of A Man Rides Through. Of course, that meant for a while I only had the second half to the series on my bookshelf (I eventually bought The Mirror of Her Dreams - probably the only time I've bought a book I've already read).

Of course, consisting of only two books this isn't really much of a 'series'. But I wanted to include it anyway because of its fantastic characterisation and its marvellous fantasy thriller-like story. I also love the unique "imagery" magic system used within the book. You see, on the world of Mordant magic is all done with mirrors - literally. Mages have to construct large, warped mirrors which then act as magic doorways allowing them to conjure items, elements or monsters from other realms or transport objects or people to these other places. It's a fascinatingly limiting method of conjuration put to great use in summoning monsters, fiery lava and unusual champions - such as Teresa, the passive protagonist of the book.

I remember really getting caught up in the story - a lighter, easier-to-read offering than Donaldson's other books (I found his Thomas Covenant books a bit dark and difficult to get into) - wishing that Teresa would stop falling for the manipulative Master Eremis' charms and become the hero she was meant to be. It was a thoroughly gripping read and one I still fondly remember.

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