Seventh Decimate (The Great God's War #1)
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...

Seventh Decimate (The Great God's War #1) Details

TitleSeventh Decimate (The Great God's War #1)
Author
ReleaseNov 1st, 2017
Rating
GenreFantasy, Fiction, Adult

Seventh Decimate (The Great God's War #1) Review

  • Bookdragon Sean
    January 1, 1970
    Bland, boring and genericIndeed, Seventh Decimate is not a book with compelling characters or buzzing personalities; it is not a book that allowed me to invest in the struggles of its protagonist, Prince Bifalt, with any particular ease. Though it is a book about war and the desperate extremes a nation will go to ensure absolute victory against its greatest foe.The people of Amika have found the ultimate weapon; it's called the seventh decimate and it has the power to render enemy sorcerers comp Bland, boring and genericIndeed, Seventh Decimate is not a book with compelling characters or buzzing personalities; it is not a book that allowed me to invest in the struggles of its protagonist, Prince Bifalt, with any particular ease. Though it is a book about war and the desperate extremes a nation will go to ensure absolute victory against its greatest foe.The people of Amika have found the ultimate weapon; it's called the seventh decimate and it has the power to render enemy sorcerers completely inert. As such, there is absolutely nothing to prevent the sorcerers of Amika from desolating Prince Bifalt's armies from Belleger. They have no defences against such awesome power, and their recent discovery of gunpowder can only assist them so far. They need to get their hands on the same weapon their enemy has recently acquired so they can, once again, balance the scales of war.Prince Bifalt is sent on a mission, with a few followers, to acquire such a power. And despite the interesting premise of the novel, this is where the problems began for me. The story developed into a linear quest type narrative, which in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but what prevented the novel from becoming exciting, dramatic and even entertaining was Bifalt's lack of personality. Simply put, he just not a very likable character because he possesses very little character. I could not tell you anything of remark about him because he has nothing remarkable about him. Seeing the world through his eyes was the biggest hindrance to the story. A lifeless heroHis attempts at leadership resulted in many cases of generic and clichéd dialogue. I also took issue with his complete lack of knowledge about his own world, his enemy and the ultimate purpose of the war he was fighting. How can the Prince of the land not know what's beyond his borders? He was also fiercely gullible and overly trusting. How can a man in his position lack all political savviness that any leader would need? But this is only the tip of the iceberg. All these things are fine if the central character grows through his journey. Unfortunately, Bifalt did not which made the quest feel incomplete and a little pointless.This book, though far from being the best of the genre, establishes itself as a grimdark adventure. What it really needs is some stronger foundations to establish much more firmly what's actually happening beyond that of the conflict, and to give Bifalt chance to grow. There are far too many gaps in the world building for this to be successful fantasy.
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  • Bookwraiths
    January 1, 1970
    Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.My rating is 2.5 stars.Seventh Decimate by Stephen R. Donaldson is the opening installment of his new series, The Great God’s War. Featuring a somewhat jaded hero on an epic quest of discovery, the narrative is a fast paced affair with more than a few twists and turns, which nicely sets up the story going forward. Unfortunately, though, it failed to live up to my lofty expectations. More on that a bit later.For generations, the kingdoms of Belleger and Amika ha Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.My rating is 2.5 stars.Seventh Decimate by Stephen R. Donaldson is the opening installment of his new series, The Great God’s War. Featuring a somewhat jaded hero on an epic quest of discovery, the narrative is a fast paced affair with more than a few twists and turns, which nicely sets up the story going forward. Unfortunately, though, it failed to live up to my lofty expectations. More on that a bit later.For generations, the kingdoms of Belleger and Amika have been at odds. Both sides using the power of their sorcerers to wage near constant war against the other; the nearly unstoppable decimates of power raining down death to people on both sides. Yet, now, things have changed.At first, this change brings renewed hope to Belleger; their craftsmen discovering the secret to forging repeating rifles. Even the eternally sullen and gloomy Prince Bifalt certain his kingdom can finally turn the tide which had been slowly rising against them. But then another event dashes all those hopes: the vanishing of magic from Belleger.Frantic to learn the cause, the King of Belleger determines that there exists a rumor of a Seventh Decimate; a final tenant of the sorcery arts which – when invoked – will strip all magic from a land. And so with a single act, the Amika have once again taken from Belleger any hope of triumphing in their eternal war.Never on to give in to despair, the Belleger king sends Prince Bifalt and a small group of veterans off into the unknown world in search of a legendary repository of sorcery, a grand library where the Seventh Decimate can be learned. And so begins the enlightening and nightmarish quest for the Seventh Decimate!Before I get into the problems with this novel, I really do need to point out the strengths, starting with Stephen R. Donaldson’s writing. Others might find the author’s style too wordy, too filled with unfamiliar phrasing, or whatnot, but I’ve always enjoyed his distinct techniques with fast paced action, deep introspection, and focus on characterization. So, naturally, I enjoyed sitting down to read another of his works, finding in this narrative a past friend who was refreshingly familiar and overwhelmingly comfortable.Also, I have to admit finding many parts of the overall story well thought out and intriguing. Especially compelling was the eternal war between Belleger and Amifa. It is never glorified. The realities of such a never ending conflict shown in a real way. The consequences of generations of annihilation surround the characters. Its effect on the people is portrayed with a morbid sense of realism. And even the main hero of the quest, Prince Bifalt, cannot rise above the horrors of a lifetime spent at war; fear of failing his father and people ingrained upon his psyche to the point it clouds ever thought, taints every action he tries to make.This does lead into the main problem with Seventh Decimate for me personally: Prince Bifalt. This young, troubled man is the focus of the story; it is his journey of discovery and maturity. A reader experiences the world and the quest through his eyes. All information passes through him, shaded by his natural prejudices. Yet, from first page to last, he is nearly impossible to learn to care for. And I don’t mean in that Thomas Covenant smart-ass leper way. No, Bifalt is so thick-headed, so stupidly stubborn, that he never learns anything from his trials and triumphs. His stiffed neck ignorance quite annoying, as it bars him from any real character growth. Honestly, he ends the tale as the exact same person he was at the start. A situation which ruined the whole novel for me personally, as the entire journey became pointless.As overjoyed as I was to experience a new novel and world by Stephen R. Donaldson, I felt Seventh Decimate was merely an okay read. The overall story concept was intrigue; the realistic look at a never ending conflict and its effect on the people was well executed; and the epic quest itself had many interesting twists and great action; but the failure of Prince Bifalt as the main viewpoint character was startling and ruined the entire narrative for me personally. Hopefully, the author will rectify these problems in the next book, but if not, I can’t see this series ending well.I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. I’d like to thank them for allowing me to receive this review copy and inform everyone that the review you have read is my opinion alone.
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  • Celeste
    January 1, 1970
    Full review now posted!Rating: 2.5/5 starsI would like to thank Berkley for providing me with a lovely review copy of this book.This is Stephen Donaldson’s 25th novel. It’s a slim book with a stunning cover. Seriously, the cover art is gorgeous! Prince Bifalt of Belleger is on a mission. His nation has been at war with Amika for countless generations; so long, in fact, that both sides have forgotten what they’re fighting over in the first place. But warring for so long is taking a heavy toll on Full review now posted!Rating: 2.5/5 starsI would like to thank Berkley for providing me with a lovely review copy of this book.This is Stephen Donaldson’s 25th novel. It’s a slim book with a stunning cover. Seriously, the cover art is gorgeous! Prince Bifalt of Belleger is on a mission. His nation has been at war with Amika for countless generations; so long, in fact, that both sides have forgotten what they’re fighting over in the first place. But warring for so long is taking a heavy toll on Belleger, and now on top of that every single sorceror in Belleger has lost their magic, leaving the nation vulnerable to attack from the Amika’s Magisters. All the people have left to protect themselves are their rifles, feared by the Amikans but impossible to replicate without magic. Their only hope: find a book that will help them restore their own magic and leave Amika’s Magisters utterly powerless. But the book is only a rumor, said to reside on the shelves of the Last Repository, a mythical library located somewhere off of the edges of all known maps. Bifalt, armed only with his rifle and his rage, takes a small group of men into the unknown, in search of a fable.Bifalt is honorable and upright, the crown prince of his realm. But the man has serious anger issues. He cares about his people and wants to save his realm, but he can turn into a self-righteous rage monster at the drop of a hat. I didn’t find him likable, but his inner struggle was compelling. How he fought against the rising tide of new knowledge he was faced with, especially as it proved that the things he was raised believing might not be the whole truth, was so relatable. Cognitive dissonance, man; it can bring the best of us to our knees.I have to admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Donaldson’s writing style. This was my first exposure to his work, and I’ve been told that this book isn’t representative of the rest of his novels, but the writing itself just fell a bit flat for me. It managed to feel both two utilitarian and overly verbose at the same time. The plot was intriguing but moved at an incredibly slow pace during the first half of the book. However, things picked up right around that halfway mark. There was a magical caravan traveling through a vast desert, and I loved the incredible variety of peoples and cultures and carriages that Donaldson included. The caravan felt so lush, especially after the starkness of the preceding chapters. The Last Repository was also fascinating. Libraries are my favorite settings, both in fiction and real life, so I enjoyed the hunt for the mysterious library.This book is a short book with a slow pace. It’s the first book of a series, but offered a satisfying enough conclusion to not leave readers hanging as they await the next installment. If you’re a fan of flintlock fantasy and no-nonsense prose, of quests for mythical places and man’s inner struggle when forced to face himself, this just might be the book for you.Original review can be found at Booknest.
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  • Bob Milne
    January 1, 1970
    The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever (first and second) were a pivotal moment in my early fantasy reading. They were grown-up fantasy, full of moral quandaries and difficult emotions, but they were also stunning works of imagination, populated by brilliant characters. Even when he was writing gothic romance and portal fantasy with Mordant's Need, or sweeping science fiction with The Gap Cycle, Stephen R. Donaldson's work was always marked by those elements - stunning imagination and bri The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever (first and second) were a pivotal moment in my early fantasy reading. They were grown-up fantasy, full of moral quandaries and difficult emotions, but they were also stunning works of imagination, populated by brilliant characters. Even when he was writing gothic romance and portal fantasy with Mordant's Need, or sweeping science fiction with The Gap Cycle, Stephen R. Donaldson's work was always marked by those elements - stunning imagination and brilliant characters.Sadly, that's precisely why Seventh Decimate falls so short. The first book of The Great God's War reads like a self-indulgent short story, big on ideas, but short on everything else. It's a heavy-handed morality tale about the horrors of war and the stupidity of racism/nationalism, couched in a thinly-veiled desert fantasy.For a man who excels as world-building, this falls so short, it's really quite embarrassing. We get two warring countries, separated by a river . . . or chasm . . . or cliff . . . or something that's never really clear. There is an ocean to one side of them and a desert to the other, both assumed to be impassable - although it turns out the desert is simply a challenge, and hardly an insurmountable one. If there is anything else to the world (and we do get hints later in the story), neither country has the slightest idea.Similarly, for a man whose fiction is defined by its characters, this falls even shorter than it did in the world-building. There is hardly a likeable character in the book, and none of them have any more depth than a background character. Most importantly, Prince Bifalt, the protagonist of the story, is even more unlikable than Thomas Covenant - a miserable, leprous man who most readers remember for a single unconscionable act. The Prince is a bland, boring, arrogant young man with a single-minded obsession. If only he had demonstrated a sliver of growth, this could have been a far better story, but if that growth is in the cards, it's not in this volume.Finally, that brings us to the plot, which is the only thing weaker than the world-building and the characters. It is largely a paint-by-numbers story, predictable in every way, with a conclusion so foregone it should just be dropped into the cover blurb. Aside from the opening battle and the scenes involving the mysterious desert caravan of nations, there is nothing here of interest or excitement. There were moments of potential, where the story could have opened up, but it lacks the characters necessary to do so.I had high hopes for Seventh Decimate, especially after The King's Justice proved to be such a fantastic read last year, but was bitterly disappointed. Unless the digital ARC was a rough draft that was accidentally released, I don't see myself continuing with this.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.
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  • Rusty's Ghost Engine (also known as.......... Jinky Spring)
    January 1, 1970
    Review alsohttps://edwardsghostengine.wordpress....A lot of the time while I was reading this I laughed. Not because the book was funny but because everything about it was utterly unbelievable and poorly realised. The plot itself was literally all over the place because a lot of the time I didn’t know what the hell was going on and why we’d jumped from one topic to another without any warning. I mean seriously the characters were so two-dimensional and all of them seemed to have split personalit Review alsohttps://edwardsghostengine.wordpress....A lot of the time while I was reading this I laughed. Not because the book was funny but because everything about it was utterly unbelievable and poorly realised. The plot itself was literally all over the place because a lot of the time I didn’t know what the hell was going on and why we’d jumped from one topic to another without any warning. I mean seriously the characters were so two-dimensional and all of them seemed to have split personalities and while I totally appreciate the author trying to make his characters have complexity to them and make their intentions not always clear, it just seemed to fail here and make these characters seem like playground kids who have no depth to them.That brings me onto the MC Prince Bifalt. Right from the start I hated him and if you’ve even read a page from his perspective you’ll understand why. He was just so arrogant and close minded, not to mention just plain stupid. He has this kind of character and attitude that makes you feel irritated, in fact I disliked him so much I was hoping more bad things would happen to him!It just seemed like he never developed or grew as a character due to pure stubbornness and refusal to accept anything that wasn’t in his plan. I will also put it straight out here that the plot just did one big circle. In the end hardly anything had changed and the prince still had his own selfish, close minded plan in place even after everything he had been through. Another thing I must say is there was more or less a complete lack of world building even after the MC stepped into the bigger world. I mean the characters were in a vast library of knowledge so come on, surely the author can put in some world history or at least answer some of our questions? No? Then you get a pointless novel that just takes you right back to the beginning.In conclusion this was a pointless novel with unrealistic characters where there was potential to have a lot of originality. The writing itself was also mediocre holding hardly any excitement and a complete lack of suspense when it came to character building.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    Seventh Decimate is a well-constructed, thought-provoking storytelling of two civilizations that are dealing with decades of the effects of warring against each other.The telling surrounds Prince Bifalt’s pursuit to find the ultimate knowledge that will end the war. It is a tale of his personal discovery and preconceived prejudices toward his enemy. You, as the reader, get to see his travels first hand through his eyes and perspective. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a bigger, unmovable, b Seventh Decimate is a well-constructed, thought-provoking storytelling of two civilizations that are dealing with decades of the effects of warring against each other.The telling surrounds Prince Bifalt’s pursuit to find the ultimate knowledge that will end the war. It is a tale of his personal discovery and preconceived prejudices toward his enemy. You, as the reader, get to see his travels first hand through his eyes and perspective. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a bigger, unmovable, blockhead when it comes to seeing what is right in front of him, making Prince Bifalt, not very likable.Intriguing, compelling ethical truths about war, enemies, and inherited preconceptions are all wrapped up in a visually scripted tale. With a fast-paced well-constructed plot, I should have loved the story but I could not get past wanting to knock the main character, Prince Bifalt, over the head with a 2x4 and sadly this feeling hit often. Watching all that conspired around Prince Bifalt, I could not fathom that any individual would be that blind to personal growth, the ability to see beyond what one was told to true the reality that is presented. Because of that stagnate personality, Seventh Decimate was just an okay read for me. I received this ARC copy of Seventh Decimate from Berkley Publishing Group. This is my honest and voluntary review. Seventh Decimate is set for publication November 14, 2017.My Rating: 3 starsWritten by: Stephen R. DonaldsonSeries: The Great God's War (Book 1)Hardcover: 320 pagesPublisher: Berkley Publication Date: November 14, 2017ISBN-10: 039958613XISBN-13: 978-0399586132Genre: Dark FantasyItunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/seve...Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Seventh-Decima...Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/seve...Reviewed for: http://tometender.blogspot.com
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, what a disappointment after the great ending to the Thomas Covenant series.I really didn't like Prince Bifalt, who started out with a whiney, bad attitude that got progressively worse. I'm not entirely sure if he knew what he was doing or where he was going at any point in book. Not much of a leader, even if he was son of the king.I'll keep reading this series, because it is Stephen Donaldson, but I'm not sure if it can be salvaged. Potentially, it could be good as a grimdark fantasy. We'll Wow, what a disappointment after the great ending to the Thomas Covenant series.I really didn't like Prince Bifalt, who started out with a whiney, bad attitude that got progressively worse. I'm not entirely sure if he knew what he was doing or where he was going at any point in book. Not much of a leader, even if he was son of the king.I'll keep reading this series, because it is Stephen Donaldson, but I'm not sure if it can be salvaged. Potentially, it could be good as a grimdark fantasy. We'll see.
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  • Nick T. Borrelli
    January 1, 1970
    Click here for full review:https://outofthisworldrev.blogspot.co...
  • Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)
    January 1, 1970
    You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.Stephen R. Donaldson returns with a new trilogy that fails to break new grounds, but remains a typical and captivating adventure that will decide the fate of countless people. Seventh Decimate merely sets the table to a potentially exciting sequel as we follow Prince Bifalt and his arrogant self into treacherous grounds.The author of one of the most hated anti-heros in fantasy, Thomas Covenant, from his famous trilogy, The Chronicles of Thomas C You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.Stephen R. Donaldson returns with a new trilogy that fails to break new grounds, but remains a typical and captivating adventure that will decide the fate of countless people. Seventh Decimate merely sets the table to a potentially exciting sequel as we follow Prince Bifalt and his arrogant self into treacherous grounds.The author of one of the most hated anti-heros in fantasy, Thomas Covenant, from his famous trilogy, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, presents us with the first book in his latest trilogy, The Great God’s War. Seventh Decimate is in fact my first encounter with the author’s writing, and unfortunately I just wasn’t blown away by what was delivered. However, the story still manages to hold onto my gaze until the ending. That will have to be my one and only sign that this series can definitely get better if Stephen R. Donaldson plays his cards right.The story tosses you right in the middle of a war between the realms of Belleger and Amika. Magisters (sorcerers) are present in both camp and draw their powers from six different Decimates of sorcery. From fire to wind, they use their unique skills to wreak havoc on innocent lives. However, the Amikans have succeeded in using the seventh Decimate which strips away all lesser magic. Prince Bifalt, son of King Abbator of Belleger, however plans on reversing the circumstances by discovering a hidden repository where a book containing the seventh Decimate can be found. The fate of his people now lies in his hands, but the path to this repository is no walk in the park.Prince Bifalt was not a character that you could easily warm up too. He is hot-headed and incredibly arrogant. He is reckless and makes mistakes more often that you’d imagine. There’s honestly nothing about him that inspires love or respect from me, and I have the feeling that author wanted to portray him as such so that his development would feel dramatic. That however still didn’t redeem his character further along the line as he had grown into a disgrace too quickly. Burning with a red hot hate for sorcerers and anyone who comes from Amika, the only thing that really kept me going is my own desire to see how he’d change or what would happen to him.Where the story really failed for me is the world-building. Stephen R. Donaldson contents himself with the simplest of setting. Nothing in this story stimulates your imagination and everything is kept at a minimum. Fantasy stories that don’t attempt to put colour and life into their world can only go so far. With characters here and there who are quickly described and settings limited to places like deserts, mountains and woods, Seventh Decimate is not one that wants to transport you to magical places. In fact, this is merely a standard fantasy quest where a group of characters go from point A to point B and have a couple obstacles along the way. Then again, this kind of story has its upsides. After all, I was still curious enough to reach the ending.Another element of the world-building that sort of felt awkward was the fact that Belleger had guns and guns were their ultimate weapons against sorcerers. Guns are a new invention and the author introduced it as a weapon that was only at its first uses, so flaws to their prototypes were explored, as well as the many uses of gunpowder. It came off weird to see guns go up against sorcerers, but as the story progressed, you just couldn’t help but succumb to the idea and indulge it. Bellegers were also not used to mystical beings, making them seem like they lacked a lot of knowledge, but the story does slowly introduce these ideas and use the protagonist as a learner. It felt like there was a lot of development and ideas that could’ve been better fleshed out in this story, but Stephen R. Donaldson simply restrained himself.Seventh Decimate turned out to be a standard and typical fantasy story that stayed close a plot featuring a big quest and a protagonist who’ll learn a lot from this experience. His exceptional case also drives him forward into places where you just have to question if there’s anything that he does that is left to his own will or if he is simply a pawn in this whole war. Although Stephen R. Donaldson’s new trilogy kicked things off in an unspectacular fashion, I still have hope that its sequel might pick up all the right parts and make a great mosaic out of it.Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!Yours truly,Lashaan | Blogger and Book ReviewerOfficial blog: https://bookidote.com/
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  • Roy
    January 1, 1970
    Mr Donaldson is back with the start of a new trilogy. It begins with 2 cultures at war, with magic system involving Decimates. One group loses its magical ability as they begin to a realise a seventh decimate is discovered which has been used against them.The Prince begins a journey to The Library to obtain knowlege etc. So we begin with his POV for the entire story, which I felt had ups and downs. He wasnt thr most likeable character and wasnt the most logical person. The writing was great as u Mr Donaldson is back with the start of a new trilogy. It begins with 2 cultures at war, with magic system involving Decimates. One group loses its magical ability as they begin to a realise a seventh decimate is discovered which has been used against them.The Prince begins a journey to The Library to obtain knowlege etc. So we begin with his POV for the entire story, which I felt had ups and downs. He wasnt thr most likeable character and wasnt the most logical person. The writing was great as usual, and flowed really well. The action and plot, if not a little cliched or predictable was still very readable. My biggest flaw was the world building. I felt like the author took a short story piece, and extended it too far. I think at sometimes the story just didnt feel like it knew where it was going. A fantasy novel at 300 also doesnt give a great amount of space to create a world build of worthy size. Will look at reviews of book 2 to see if I continue.
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  • Nadine
    January 1, 1970
    Full spoiler-free review now on my blogWhen I saw this book available for request on Netgalley, I fell in love with the cover design! And after reading the premise, I was totally intrigued and was even lucky enough to get an eARC. But sadly, my expectations weren't met at all.In Seventh Decimate, we follow the story of two countries, Amika and Belleger, who are at war for ages and there is only a legend that tells why this war started in the first place. Both sides have mages with magical powers Full spoiler-free review now on my blogWhen I saw this book available for request on Netgalley, I fell in love with the cover design! And after reading the premise, I was totally intrigued and was even lucky enough to get an eARC. But sadly, my expectations weren't met at all.In Seventh Decimate, we follow the story of two countries, Amika and Belleger, who are at war for ages and there is only a legend that tells why this war started in the first place. Both sides have mages with magical powers, the so-called Decimates. But Amika has learned how to produce rifles and they are confident to finally have the advantage over Belleger. However, one day Amika's mages are suddenly unable to wield their power and now Prince Bifalt of Amika is send on a mission to find the mysterious Seventh Decimate that can possibly help his country survive.Sadly, there were some points that really bothered me. First of all, the world building is very limited due to the overall setup. We follow Prince Bifalt's perspective throughout the book and he and his country have a very limited view of the world. They are surrounded by mountains and a desert and the only other country they are aware of is Belleger. Of course there are many books that start with a rather limited world, which gets expanded gradually e.g. while the main character travels through the world in a classic fantasy story. And this happens here as well when Prince Bifalt and his companions go on their quest. However, even though I liked the world expansion and the new set of characters that are introduced in the second half of the book, it was just not enough to peak my interest. I just didn't understand how it is possible that Amika is such an isolated country when Prince Bifalt encounters other people on his first venture to the borders of Amika. The next thing that bothered me to no end was Prince Bifalt's point-of-view. He is so caught in his hypocritical view of the world and has so many prejudices against Belleger and his people only because the two nations have waged war against each other forever, so Belleger has to be full of evil and cruel people. He hates any kind of magic and the people that can wield it, but nonetheless gladly uses their power and abilities in the war against Belleger. And additionally, he has no clue how to deal properly with other dignitaries and is immune to character development. The ending of the book indicates that Donaldson intends to develop his main character in the following books, but that's just a bit late for my liking when keeping in mind that the book is only 300-odd pages long. In my opinion, the book could have profited a lot from more pages and thus more of the story overall. It just feels like that kind of publication plan where the story is divided into more books just to make more money out of it.Overall, the story and the characters are just not gripping and intriguing enough to make me pick up the next books in the series. There are so many fantasy books out there that have so much more to offer and sadly, Seventh Decimate simply wasn't outstanding enough.Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for providing me with an early copy of this book.
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  • Stewart Tame
    January 1, 1970
    I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. The book itself isn't due to be released for another couple of months yet. Of course that means that I have to wait even longer than the general public for Book 2 of The Great God's War ...I liked this more than I expected to. A long time ago--in high school, early 80's--I read Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books. I generally liked them, but was greatly annoyed by Covenant himself. He seemed to spend most of the books whining and complaining a I won a free ARC of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. The book itself isn't due to be released for another couple of months yet. Of course that means that I have to wait even longer than the general public for Book 2 of The Great God's War ...I liked this more than I expected to. A long time ago--in high school, early 80's--I read Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books. I generally liked them, but was greatly annoyed by Covenant himself. He seemed to spend most of the books whining and complaining and generally not doing the obviously heroic things he seemed destined to do. So I tended to avoid Donaldson over the years, as fantasy novels generally became more of a thing. While I'm still not inclined to reread them yet, my older--hopefully wiser--self might possibly enjoy the Thomas Covenant books more than High School Stewart did ...In Seventh Decimate, we have two kingdoms--Amika and Bellergin--at war. The war has lasted ages, with sorcery taking its toll on both sides. There are six Decimates: Fire, Wind, Pestilence, Earthquake, Drought, and Lightning. Neither side has a clear advantage. Amika possesses larger armies, but the Bellergin fighting spirit is unmatched ... until all Bellergin magic vanishes. Its sorcerers are powerless, and it's rumored that this disappearance is the result of a seventh Decimate. The Bellergin king's son, Prince Bifalt, is charged with leading an expedition to a legendary sorcerers' library in hopes of learning the secret of the seventh Decimate before Amika's forces seize the advantage ...There are some epic settings in this book. The library itself is truly spectacular. The sense of a complete fantasy world that is definitely not our own is almost palpable. Bifalt is a fascinating character. Yes, he has his flaws, but Donaldson is good at letting us see his motivations and thoughts. While there are some plot developments--particularly the final confrontation--that aren't too hard to spot coming, the payoffs are well worth it. This is an excellent beginning to what promises to be an amazing series. Recommended!
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  • Brenda Ayala
    January 1, 1970
    A spoiled, prejudiced brat is sent by his father to the library where the dude pouts some more.There, I just saved you like three hundred pages.
  • Glen
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book in a goodreads drawing.In a war between magical lands, one side has just unleashed The Seventh Decimate, for which the other side has no defense. Therefore, the other side sends a young prince to find the library of an ancient sorceress, to find a defense. Of course, other are also searching for the library.Not a bad YA fantasy.
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  • Quintin Zimmermann
    January 1, 1970
    The Seventh Decimate may seem like your typical traditional fantasy quest where a band of heroes travel the dangerous unknown in pursuit of an all-powerful item (in this case a book) that will ultimately save the day. However, Stephen R. Donaldson has intentionally subverted these traditional elements of the genre to create a dark world infested with both physical and spiritual desolation. Similarly, our main protagonist, the so-called "hero" of the story, is Prince Bifalt, a rancorous man blind The Seventh Decimate may seem like your typical traditional fantasy quest where a band of heroes travel the dangerous unknown in pursuit of an all-powerful item (in this case a book) that will ultimately save the day. However, Stephen R. Donaldson has intentionally subverted these traditional elements of the genre to create a dark world infested with both physical and spiritual desolation. Similarly, our main protagonist, the so-called "hero" of the story, is Prince Bifalt, a rancorous man blinded by hatred and pettiness. A man constantly chewing the inside of his cheek in order to prevent himself from spewing vile utterances to all and sundry. This is precisely the crux of the problem with this novel - a wholly unlikeable, if not hateful, main protagonist makes it extremely difficult to be invested in the story. The tension of the plot is further deflated by the fact that no matter how dire his situation seems, he is essentially unkillable. The Seventh Decimate had great potential to be a strong foundation for a promising new fantasy series by an acclaimed author, but it is irrevocably marred by its irredeemable main protagonist who inhabits a nihilistic world where, despite there being a patently clear path to peace, the majority of the characters (completely blinded by propaganda and prejudice) are hell-bent on annihilation.
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  • Doris
    January 1, 1970
    I love books and I am trying to write a book of my own and the genre is following along the same as those I review. Mr. Stephen R, Donaldson has fallen into one of my deepest pits know as "O.M.G." and he shall never leave it. I will be reading every one of his books that I can get my hands on.Does the prince become successful? Will the enemy be his traveling companion in the strictest terms that could ever be expected?Will the 2 kings be pacified with the terms of the agreement that their sons c I love books and I am trying to write a book of my own and the genre is following along the same as those I review. Mr. Stephen R, Donaldson has fallen into one of my deepest pits know as "O.M.G." and he shall never leave it. I will be reading every one of his books that I can get my hands on.Does the prince become successful? Will the enemy be his traveling companion in the strictest terms that could ever be expected?Will the 2 kings be pacified with the terms of the agreement that their sons come to?Will the royal and military come to an agreement?I need to get my hands on the next book!I just wish I could get my hands on the books for my own bookcases! OOPS, I need more bookcases! I have books piled and shelved 3 deep and have no more room.Love the book, read it in 1 1/2 days.
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  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book left me with mixed feelings. It has a very interesting premise, and I was really excited to read it. The first half of the story dragged a bit, but later the pace picked up. The writing style was very to the point and pretty non-descriptive for a fantasy novel, which was a something I had to get used to, but I also appreciated. The world the author created was interestin I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book left me with mixed feelings. It has a very interesting premise, and I was really excited to read it. The first half of the story dragged a bit, but later the pace picked up. The writing style was very to the point and pretty non-descriptive for a fantasy novel, which was a something I had to get used to, but I also appreciated. The world the author created was interesting. It was very diverse - geographically, racially, and culturally. There is also a lot we still have to learn about it, and part of that is due to the cluelessness of the protagonist. As we follow prince Bifalt around, we realize how sheltered his kingdom, and its inhabitants truly are. At points their ignorance about the world actually pulled me out of the story. While I can understand that they were not aware of the world around them, the world was familiar with their kingdom. So why was there no contact between the two? Perhaps this is something that will be explored in the sequel. The most problematic part of the book was the prince himself. He was not a likeable or relatable character for me. He was full of various prejudices and he was quite unwilling to see anyone else’s point of view. His stubbornness got him in trouble more than a few times, but he never learned anything from the lessons life through his way. The ending is not a cliffhanger, but it does set up nicely for the sequel.
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  • Benjamin Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Goodreads and the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, for a free ARC in return for an honest review.Stephen R. Donaldson long ago cemented his reputation in the fantasy genre. He was one of the first to break the mold of The Lord of the Rings style fantasy. I’ve enjoyed some of his stuff immensely (The Mirror of Her Dreams and A Man Rides Through) while struggling with others (Thomas Covenant series). This first book in his new trilogy, unfortunately was a bit of a struggle for me as Thanks to Goodreads and the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, for a free ARC in return for an honest review.Stephen R. Donaldson long ago cemented his reputation in the fantasy genre. He was one of the first to break the mold of The Lord of the Rings style fantasy. I’ve enjoyed some of his stuff immensely (The Mirror of Her Dreams and A Man Rides Through) while struggling with others (Thomas Covenant series). This first book in his new trilogy, unfortunately was a bit of a struggle for me as well, although it did have some fine moments.The setup seems filled with overused fantasy tropes. Two kingdoms in a long-lasting war. The use of sorcery is rare but powerful. The protagonist, Prince Bifalt, is strongly opposed to the evil sorcery that the other side uses. Oh…and his side has guns. He sets out on a nearly impossible quest to obtain knowledge of the “Seventh Decimate” which negates the power of sorcery in hopes his side will ultimately triumph. This all sounds like a typical assembly-line fantasy series from the 1980's and, indeed, it felt like that to me as I was reading most of it. Frankly, the book was headed towards a 2-star rating. Donaldson has, of course, written a protagonist before that is not particularly likable in Thomas Covenant and he has done that here once again. Prince Bifalt is singularly driven and does not listen much to others’ opinions. In fact, I didn’t find myself all that enthralled with any of the characters enough to care what happens to them and perhaps that is why I didn’t care for the story that much either.There were some good points that ultimately pulled my grade up to three stars, including the last portion of this first book, wherein a philosophical discussion of the current war occurred. I really like the Magisters in the second half of the book who provide a hefty amount of intrigue and a “what’s really going on here” perspective. From what we know so far about the magic system, it seems rather uninspired although I suspect when it gets more fleshed out in future volumes it could be very interesting. And being the first book in a series, not much is concluded and plenty of open questions remain. I’m not sure I will be up for further books in this trilogy, although this foundation can certainly be expanded upon and a good series might result. My track record with Donaldson, however, leads me to think I will likely pass.
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  • The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).
    January 1, 1970
    As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...Seventh Decimate is the first book in a brand new trilogy from Stephen Donaldson.War has been a raging between the Bellegerins and the Amikans and their respective kingdoms of Belleger and Amika for longer than anyone can remember.The book opens with a prologue set a couple of years before the actual story starts. The Bellegerins and Amikans are once again at war (this never-ending As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...Seventh Decimate is the first book in a brand new trilogy from Stephen Donaldson.War has been a raging between the Bellegerins and the Amikans and their respective kingdoms of Belleger and Amika for longer than anyone can remember.The book opens with a prologue set a couple of years before the actual story starts. The Bellegerins and Amikans are once again at war (this never-ending war is all consuming for Belleger and the nation of Amika is their mortal enemy).The Bellegerins have a new weapon, gunpowder and the gun (not a musket but a gun with cartridges that is capable of repeated firing). In the ensuing battle use a small team which includes Prince Bifalt (our protagonist and the eldest son of King Abbator the King of Belleger) to test out the weaponry against the sorcerers of Amika (if the guns can kill sorcerers then it would give Belleger the upper hand in the war and help to turn the tides against Amika). The test is a success and thus ends the prologue.After the prologue, we jump forward by a couple of years and things aren’t going well for Belleger. The gun trial while a success ultimately came to nothing as a year later magic mysteriously vanished from the land of Belleger (magic amongst its many other uses is needed to help produce the guns). Within the span of a day, magic disappeared. One moment it was there and the next it was gone.No-one knows what happened to the decimates (the name for the magic system) and why the sorcerers were suddenly unable to access them. There is, however, whisperings of a seventh decimate. According to rumour for the seventh decimate to be used it needs to have been invoked which means someone has spoken the incantation. An old magister mentions to the King of Belleger that generations ago there used to be a great library that housed powerful and sorcerous books and that the book that contains the seventh decimate and a way to reverse its effect could if it still exists reside in this fabled library.The location of the library, however, is unknown and the only clue to its whereabouts is that it is located across the desert to the east. So starts the adventure and quest as Prince Bifalt and his group go off in search of this legendary Refractory of books in search of the knowledge that they seek.The world and setting in Seventh Decimate are quite self-contained and compared to other fantasy works and their subsequent world-building I sadly found it to be both rather lacking and bland. On three out of its four borders, the land of Belleger is surrounded by the sea with an impassable coastline, a mountain range and a vast desert. The fourth border to the North leads to Amika which is separated from Belleger by a river dividing the two nations.Belleger doesn’t care about the wider world and what is beyond its borders as its main (only) focus is the war against Amika. The two nations will go to war, fight, kill and then regroup and for a while, there will be calm only for the cycle to repeat, again and again, generation after generation. Later in the book, there are some allusions to the wider world but that’s all they are, hints and mentions.There aren’t many female characters and Seventh Decimate contains a cast that is very male centred. With the newer breed of fantasy writers, there’s a preponderance of well-rounded and well-developed (not in the Brigitte Nielsen from Red Sonja twin WMD’s developed way) females generally included in most of their books as a given. In today’s day and age it shouldn’t be ‘oh look, a strong female character‘ as though it’s a huge thing, it shouldn’t be! It should just be a normal and natural way of writing for writers to include them in their work! Badass males AND badass females for the win!The lack of any well-developed females in Seventh Decimate was very noticeable. Sure, there’s a female assassin but other than her being an assassin she’s not well-realised or depicted. I do have to question why there weren’t any female sorcerers and why they were only male?! It just seemed weird, there isn’t many who can wield the decimates and surely they should have been able to have been wielded by BOTH men and women?! When the decimates manifested how did they manage to discriminate between the sexes?!While I’m lamenting the lack of well-developed female characters I might as well throw in the rest of the male cast too. Apart from Prince Bifalt, they are all sorely lacking in the development department with only very rudimentary characterisation taking place for any character. With Bifalt’s group, I might well have found myself able to care them and their fates had they been rendered as more than a basic cardboard outline.The main character, Prince Bifalt isn’t the most endearing and charismatic of people and it really is quite hard to like him. He is stubborn, obstinate, single-minded, has his own views and often comes across as arrogant, prejudiced and bigoted with some of them. He is blinded by his hatreds and absolutely abhors magic and sorcerers with the only thing he despises more being anyone and anything from the nation of Amika. On the plus side, he is loyal to his father, his people and the kingdom of Belleger.With the main character, I personally like to see growth, development and the ability to learn from their mistakes as the story progresses. This trait is something that Bifalt is seriously lacking and the quest is definitely not a journey of self-discovery for the Prince. Trials, tribulations, hardships and mistakes change people and you generally at least try to learn from them so that they don’t happen again. Yet Bifalt fails to learn anything from his experiences and comes across as a bit of a pig-headed dolt. Come to the final page Bifalt has shown some slight growth but it’s a case of too little too late and he really isn’t much different from the first page, unlikeable!As you can tell one of my main issues with the book was definitely Prince Bifalt and I truly feel that if Donaldson had written a more likeable main character that you could connect with then it would have greatly improved Seventh Decimate as a whole. Instead, you have a character that you don’t care about and who struggle to emphasise with. You can understand Belleger’s plight and get behind the quest but Bifalt himself, no, he isn’t endearing, grates on you and is frankly, quite annoying!I found Seventh Decimate to have an old school feel to it in tone. It’s a quest from point A to point B with some hurdles, complications and roadblocks along the way. When reading it occasionally felt dated and far more like older fantasy works than the newer and more imaginative modern fantasy books that I am accustomed to reading.At just over 300 pages in length, Seventh Decimate is short for a fantasy book and unfortunately, even at the short length it all just fell rather flat for me. I found myself losing interest and subsequently, I ended up skimming pages just to get to the end and finish.With so many other stellar fantasy trilogies and series out there waiting to be read ultimately, Seventh Decimate wasn’t a book for me and I won’t be continuing with the trilogy.
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  • N.W. Moors
    January 1, 1970
    Prince Bifalt of Belleger has long fought in the war his country has waged for many years against their neighbor Amika. Magisters use sorcery, waging fire, wind, pestilence, earthquake, drought, and lightning, the Six Decimates, from safe perches while men on either side die below them. The people are suffering from the long war, crops ruined and homes destroyed. Belleger's only advantage is the use of rifles which Amika doesn't have (though they need magic to forge the iron), but otherwise, the Prince Bifalt of Belleger has long fought in the war his country has waged for many years against their neighbor Amika. Magisters use sorcery, waging fire, wind, pestilence, earthquake, drought, and lightning, the Six Decimates, from safe perches while men on either side die below them. The people are suffering from the long war, crops ruined and homes destroyed. Belleger's only advantage is the use of rifles which Amika doesn't have (though they need magic to forge the iron), but otherwise, their army seems in the ascendant when suddenly, all magic disappears. The cause is the Seventh Decimate.Bifalt is sent with a company of men by his father the king to find a book that holds the secret of the Seventh Decimate. They hope to finally win the war or at least negate Amika's use of sorcery. Belleger is hemmed in on all sides by impassable boundaries, but Bifalt plans to cross an endless desert to find the Last Repository, the library that holds the book he needs.Donaldson has long been one of my very favorite fantasy authors; Mordant's Need is possibly my favorite fantasy series, and the Thomas Covenant books also have pride of place on my bookshelf. The Great God's War series looks to be another very enjoyable series, and I look forward to the next books.Prince Bifalt is an antihero without the sympathy the reader could dredge up for Thomas Covenant because of his leprosy. Bifalt is a warrior who hates magic without much understanding of it; he only knows what he sees of it in battle. He's stubborn, makes a lot of mistakes, and is focused only on destroying Amica and preserving his own country. His worldview is extremely limited at the beginning of the book, and as he proceeds on his quest, Bifalt finds it hard to expand his perspectives despite traveling and meeting new peoples. Most of the book I and many of the characters just want to shake him to wake him up, but he's mostly stubbornly stuck in his own views."Regardless of his stature, his significance or meaninglessness, he had to be who he was. He had no other choice. The scale of the world did not change what he had to do, or why he cared about it."Very slowly he starts to learn:"A man is not a man at all if he cannot enter and enjoy every chamber of himself."I love the way Donaldson writes. I always learn new words and I greatly admire how he uses them in his stories. The names of the two countries, Belleger and Amika, derive from Latin words for war and friendship for example. It makes me wonder about Bifalt's view of the two countries; he's wrong about so much, and I suspect this is a hint that his view here is flawed also. The three Magisters at the Last Repository are men, one who is dumb, one deaf, and one who is blind. The symbolism harks back to the old proverb "See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". The Six Decimates have both evil and good sides though Bifalt is slow to see any positive. I truly savor Donaldson's works, and there's a lot to think about in the Seventh Decimate. The various characters are interesting and the worldbuilding is excellent. War is brutal - the battles are called 'hells' - and there's always two sides to everything, much to Bifalt's dismay; he's determined to only see what benefits his father, the king, and his country. How can you not love a book with lines like this:"Words could not contain his vehemence. Instead, he uttered them like splashes of blood from the cut of a blade."
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  • Soo
    January 1, 1970
    4 Stars for Narration by Scott Brick, 3.5 Stars for StoryMostly Audiobook, Partially Read in Print:Long ago, the kingdoms of Belleger and Amika were one. Twin Princes inherited the realm and divided it so that each could rule. Thus Fastule became the ruler of the north and named it Amika. Brigin claimed the southern half and named it Belleger. The kings were in harmony in all but one. They both fell in love with the same woman and she claimed Brigin as her choice. Fastule attacked the couple at 4 Stars for Narration by Scott Brick, 3.5 Stars for StoryMostly Audiobook, Partially Read in Print:Long ago, the kingdoms of Belleger and Amika were one. Twin Princes inherited the realm and divided it so that each could rule. Thus Fastule became the ruler of the north and named it Amika. Brigin claimed the southern half and named it Belleger. The kings were in harmony in all but one. They both fell in love with the same woman and she claimed Brigin as her choice. Fastule attacked the couple at their wedding and began a war that did not end. Generations later, the war continued between the two kingdoms with no victor. Except Belleger is on the knife edge of defeat. The seventh Decimate was cast on the kingdom and cut off access to sorcery. Prince Bifalt was tasked to find a lost library and find a way to revive magic to their land. I have no idea how many times I started the audiobook for this story and decided against listening to it. It was a lot. I actually like Scott Brick as a narrator, but even he could not make the story truly engaging. The overall story is depressing. The parts that are not depressing are agonizing. The center of this tale is Prince Bifalt and he is stuck on duty and blind anger. That's the biggest impression of the story and that's a shame because there's great writing under the undesirable reactions. The little backstory about the conflict between the kingdom was great. I really liked it. I can't help but think about the extreme reactions I had to the story: caustic disengagement from the story, quirked interest to opening, growing dislike of Bifalt's animosity, etc. None of the responses I had to the story was light or simple. Each of them were fairly strong and extreme to what I would normally feel. Then the phonetics of the names in the story hit me and I was mentally slapping my head going, "How did I not see that in the beginning?" Review to Bifalt- By fault, Bi (Twice) faultBelleger - BelligerentAmika - Amenity? Forguile - For guileMajority of the story narrative is in a depressing, relentlessly short sighted voice that begs to be ignored. But the message it holds is totally thrust in your face, put right before your eyes and, in a way, is brilliant. I spent a lot of time mentally yelling at Bifalt. It's not like he is a bad person. He's just young, ignorant, passionate and too narrowly focused. The absolute certainty of youth. The disaster being created by blind rage. I don't love this story but it sure did incite a whole lot of thoughts and feelings from me. I can't help but think that's what the story was suppose to do. In that, this is a great setup for an epic tale of human failure and the hope of unplanned for triumphs.
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  • Lindsey
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of this book from a contest on Goodreads, it in no way swayed my opinion.  Seventh Decimate is set to release on 11/14/17.I am having a hard time coming up with the words to describe how I feel about reading this book. I know I enjoyed reading it, it is a good tale and the whole story is an excellent tribute to character development. When I first started to read Seventh Decimate I had a really hard time coming to terms with the main character Prince Bifalt. He is an extremely u I received a copy of this book from a contest on Goodreads, it in no way swayed my opinion.  Seventh Decimate is set to release on 11/14/17.I am having a hard time coming up with the words to describe how I feel about reading this book. I know I enjoyed reading it, it is a good tale and the whole story is an excellent tribute to character development. When I first started to read Seventh Decimate I had a really hard time coming to terms with the main character Prince Bifalt. He is an extremely unlikable character. He has one point of view and cannot hear any other persons point of view. He also thinks everyone is out to get him. When you take a step back you can understand why he is this way, but it doesn't make him anymore likeable. As the story progress you realize alongside the prince that his world is a whole lot smaller than you and he originally believes it to be. Donaldson is a great story-teller who is able to keeps the story moving and he reader engrossed. He is also able to give you a main character who is by no means perfect and keep you reading until his flaws are fixed. If you are into the fantasy genre this book is worth the read, if only to see how this character is developed. If there is another book to sequel this one, I would read it.https://linzbibliophile.wordpress.com...
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  • Stephen Collins
    January 1, 1970
    This came out in November 17 I got from my local library off the shelf no waiting list.But do hope it's sequal is not huge longer time in coming out.I rember few years ago reading a volume one & by time vol.2 came out I forgot the first.Hahaha
  • Vanessa
    January 1, 1970
    It’s probably been fifteen years since I last read any Stephen Donaldson. It started with LORD FOUL’S BANE then the two sequels in that trilogy (which ultimately became 10 books) and, honestly, they weren’t my favorite. The main character was more anti-hero than I’d encountered before, and any reader could see that Tolkien had an influence on Donaldson’s worldbuilding. But Donaldson has a following, so I thought I’d try again with his most recent offering, SEVENTH DECIMATE, which as far as I cou It’s probably been fifteen years since I last read any Stephen Donaldson. It started with LORD FOUL’S BANE then the two sequels in that trilogy (which ultimately became 10 books) and, honestly, they weren’t my favorite. The main character was more anti-hero than I’d encountered before, and any reader could see that Tolkien had an influence on Donaldson’s worldbuilding. But Donaldson has a following, so I thought I’d try again with his most recent offering, SEVENTH DECIMATE, which as far as I could tell would be different than the series that introduced me to the author.Turns out, my first impressions of Donaldson were only reinforced. Prince Bifalt’s homeland of Belleger has been at war with Amika for generations, but now that the Bellegerins have discovered the manufacture of rifles and their ammunition, they can finally stand a chance against Amika’s sorcerers in battle. And at first it looks like their attempts at curbing the Amikan advance would meet with success…until the Prince is knocked down in battle by obviously supernatural means with the phrase “Are you ready?” whispered into his mind. When he recovers he learns that all of Belleger’s sorcerers’ magic is gone and that the only way to get it back is by finding a book of sorcery in a library that no one knows how to find. So Bifalt and a group of warriors, a (former) sorcerer, and support staff head off on their quest to find said library and save Belleger.I admit, I was thinking to myself, “Donaldson [smh], Donaldson. You’ve been writing for 40 years and this is what you come up with? Sending a prince on a quest to find a mythological library? Really?”And that’s the story in a nutshell. The plot of SEVENTH DECIMATE is very straightforward, and unfortunately predictable because it’s stuff I’ve seen before. Even worse, is it’s a predictable story told soooooo sloowwwwlllly as they trek through Belleger and beyond, encountering resistance and trials along the way. Once I finished the novel and looked back, there were too many inconsistences that left me with questions. And if the next novel takes this long to reveal anything, I’m not sure I want to spend the time on it.Part of what slows the story down is Bifalt’s continual internal monologue. Way more navel gazing than this plot-oriented reader could put up with (seriously, all Bifalt’s thoughts could have been halved and it still might have been too much). Which is weird because despite all this interior monologue some of the actions he took still weren’t believable. When it comes down to it, the story revolves around Bifalt and his evolution; but despite all the energy to tell his story, I never got a concrete understanding of the main character. Donaldson’s known for psychological complexity in his characters, so maybe I’m just not that kind of reader because I had a hard time with the repetitiveness and Bifalt’s blind mental rigidity to be able to find the conclusion believable.The worldbuilding felt more original than the Thomas Covenant books (although the naming conventions continue to be awkward and hard to read). Bifalt is from a small, isolated country and he discovers how small and ignorant it really is, but we only get a taste of the wider world; and other than the Bellegerans themselves we learn almost nothing about Belleger. Learning about sorcerery was interesting, even though we don’t actually see any for 80% of the book, which made the magic side of worldbuilding painfully slow considering how integral its existence was to the plot as a whole.The prose is rather stiff and formal and I never really got used to it. Donaldson is known for his use of arcane vocabulary, so I guess he’s being consistent, but I’m not sure it’s going to attract new readers–namely millennials, whom I guess would be the target audience considering the novel’s issues of intolerance and self-awareness. The prose unfortunately made the main characters feel distant and unreal. The secondary characters were more understandable to me because they were less complexly drawn than Bifalt; but especially early on I was getting them mixed up despite the repetitive character descriptions.The end is disappointingly abrupt and falls flat. A straightforward plot and predictable events made it all feel contrived, like he had a point to make and by golly he was going to make it no matter what. I say this because it had something of a preachy tone, and I strongly suspect it has intentional correlation to modern countries and events. Perhaps your teenage or new adult son would enjoy this book because of the trials Bifalt goes through as he struggles to deal with his hatred of Amika. Alas, this book just wasn’t for the likes of me.Recommended Age: 14+Language: I don’t recall anything strongViolence: Fighting, battle scenes, death, and some blood, but ungraphicSex: Minor references***Find this and other reviews at ElitistBookReviews.com***
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  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book left me with mixed feelings. It has a very interesting premise, and I was really excited to read it. The first half of the story dragged a bit, but later the pace picked up. The writing style was very to the point and pretty non-descriptive for a fantasy novel, which was a something I had to get used to, but I also appreciated. The world the author created was interestin I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book left me with mixed feelings. It has a very interesting premise, and I was really excited to read it. The first half of the story dragged a bit, but later the pace picked up. The writing style was very to the point and pretty non-descriptive for a fantasy novel, which was a something I had to get used to, but I also appreciated. The world the author created was interesting. It was very diverse - geographically, racially, and culturally. There is also a lot we still have to learn about it, and part of that is due to the cluelessness of the protagonist. As we follow prince Bifalt around, we realize how sheltered his kingdom, and its inhabitants truly are. At points their ignorance about the world actually pulled me out of the story. While I can understand that they were not aware of the world around them, the world was familiar with their kingdom. So why was there no contact between the two? Perhaps this is something that will be explored in the sequel. The most problematic part of the book was the prince himself. He was not a likeable or relatable character for me. He was full of various prejudices and he was quite unwilling to see anyone else’s point of view. His stubbornness got him in trouble more than a few times, but he never learned anything from the lessons life through his way. The ending is not a cliffhanger, but it does set up nicely for the sequel.
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  • Bob Lee
    January 1, 1970
    I found this terrific for the first 2/3, then not so much.The first 200 pages of this novel had me so enthralled I could hardly put it down. It starts with an awesome medieval-style battle of the southern lands against the north, but with the addition of sorcerers on each side who can hurl destruction (6 types: fire, earthquakes, lightning, etc). The only thing that saves "normal" fighters is that the sorcers get exhausted quickly. But Prince Bifalt, the leader of the southern lands who have bee I found this terrific for the first 2/3, then not so much.The first 200 pages of this novel had me so enthralled I could hardly put it down. It starts with an awesome medieval-style battle of the southern lands against the north, but with the addition of sorcerers on each side who can hurl destruction (6 types: fire, earthquakes, lightning, etc). The only thing that saves "normal" fighters is that the sorcers get exhausted quickly. But Prince Bifalt, the leader of the southern lands who have been losing for ages, has a secret weapon to defeat the sorcerers.Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work out, and the Prince is sent on a quest to find the 7th sorcerous power, more powerful than the other 6. They get ambushed, then meet a caravan populated with the most outrageous characters.But the last 100 pages, where the Prince gets near his goal, really bogs down. He becomes really annoying, and seems to not be able to figure out what is going on (although it seemed somewhat obvious to me). The ending also felt too obvious, and sets up the sequels to come.I am a big fan of Donaldson's work, and was not disappointed that I read this and will read the follow-ons. I would give this novel 5 stars for the first 2/3 of it, and 3 stars for the last part. So 4 stars overall.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    Enjoyed this first book of the great God’s war.Some repetitiveness in places but not too much to spoil the book.Looking forward to continuing the journey.
  • Elizabeth Burton
    January 1, 1970
    I have a sort of love/hate relationship with Mr. Donaldson. I read the first Thomas Covenant books, and they grew on me; I still have to investigate the follow-up, but given my current TBR pile is such I’ll be reading twenty years after I’m dead, that may take a while. Then he did an SF series, that totally turned me off for reasons I won’t go into.However, I decided I’d renew our “acquaintance” when I had the chance to obtain an advance copy of the first book in his new series from the publishe I have a sort of love/hate relationship with Mr. Donaldson. I read the first Thomas Covenant books, and they grew on me; I still have to investigate the follow-up, but given my current TBR pile is such I’ll be reading twenty years after I’m dead, that may take a while. Then he did an SF series, that totally turned me off for reasons I won’t go into.However, I decided I’d renew our “acquaintance” when I had the chance to obtain an advance copy of the first book in his new series from the publisher, and I fear I’m going to be adding more to that TBR pile, willy-nilly.To compress the story into a nugget that doesn’t begin to do it justice, The Seventh Decimate is essentially a quest novel. Anyone familiar with Mr. Donaldson’s work will hear the unspoken “with multiple nuances.” Prince Bifalt is a man reared to be a warrior, the eldest son of the ruler of Belleger, which has been at war with its neighbor Amika so long no one really remembers what started it. There are stories, of course, and Bifalt has his preference as to which story is true, but that’s not the same as really knowing why your country is being destroyed.The most devastating weapon in this endless war has been magic. Theurgists able to control lightning and earth and pestilence from afar cut down soldiers in horrific ways, and Bifalt hates them even while he uses them.“Prince Bifalt believed all sorcery was dishonorable; worse than unfair or dishonest. A Magister could conceal himself in perfect safety while he killed…The plight of his people made nagging questions of honor meaningless."However, Belleger develops another powerful weapon: rifles. If they can be used to kill Amika’s mages, they may be what’s needed to finally end the slaughter. So, accompanied by the best shots in the Bellegeran army, Bifalt battles his way to within range of where the Amikan Magisters hide…and is killed by lightning.Except he doesn’t die, and as he falls into darkness a voice in his head demands Are you ready?Two years later, Belleger is in deep trouble. Manufacturing the rifles requires magic, and suddenly, for no discernible reason, all of its Magisters have lost theirs. Convinced the deed was done by the Amikans, Bifalt swallows his hatred of magic and undertakes a journey into the wilderness in search of a book that will allegedly allow the Bellegerans to do the same.Bifalt is a soldier. It’s all he’s ever known how to be and do. Defending his father’s kingdom and his people is his life’s work. And, like many people with specialized training, he is hard-pressed to deal with anything that can’t be addressed by force of arms. His view of what’s acceptable is narrow and full of suspicion; he is full of outrage that his people are dying and teeters on the brink of murder every moment. And, of course, he hates magic to the depths of his soul.So, then, not perhaps the ideal candidate to send on a quest for a book of magic, but doing his duty is a natural to Bifalt as breathing. And as he confronts not just new terrain but an entire world he really had no idea existed, given Belleger’s total isolation by geography and constant warfare, his concept of reality is, step by step, severely challenged.It isn’t often I enjoy a book so much I can hardly wait for the sequel. The Seventh Decimate is one such book, and I am praying Mr. Donaldson won’t take as long to provide that sequel as George R. R. Martin does. I’m no longer young, and I really, really want to know how this tale ends. As with the Covenant books, his protagonist isn’t all that likeable, and there are times when the reader has the desire to knock him upside the head for being altogether too dense for his own good.That, of course, it what makes this novel work. Even if one doesn’t like Bifalt, one has to admire him for what he is—devoted, honorable, dedicated to the welfare of his people and willing to do anything, including die, to achieve it. He’s not the least bit noble, which is refreshing given how tiresome noble people can be. He’s a man who does his job well when he can and to the best of his ability when he can’t. There is much to admire in that.
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  • Ross Thompson
    January 1, 1970
    *** Disclosure: I received a free copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***I haven't previously read any of Donaldson's work, though my Dad's unwieldy omnibus edition of the First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever has been in my pile for some time now. The storyline follows Prince Bifalt journeying to find the sorcery that can undo his country's current plight (they appear to have lost all magical abilities, key to staying in their generations old battle with ne *** Disclosure: I received a free copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ***I haven't previously read any of Donaldson's work, though my Dad's unwieldy omnibus edition of the First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever has been in my pile for some time now. The storyline follows Prince Bifalt journeying to find the sorcery that can undo his country's current plight (they appear to have lost all magical abilities, key to staying in their generations old battle with neighbours). It starts off in the moments before battle, with the prince teaching his comrades about the history of the battle in a very hard to believe section of "here's the backstory but isn't it good that I wove it into the dialogue". We are introduced to his brothers at arms and each of their quirks and peccadillos, which turns out to be a waste as they pretty much all die within the next 100 pages, whether they like horses or are womanisers or not.The opening action is very gripping and filled me with hope for the book to follow, as Bifalt and his companions lead a special mission to assassinate the enemy's sorcerers with their previously unreleased rifles.Thereafter the action pretty much dries up. What follows on Bifalt's quest is a nonsense 200 pages of journey through the back country with a thoroughly detestable character who suspects everyone except those who actually have a reason to be his enemy.After days in the desert, he meets a nonsensical caravan of misfits that he manages to ostracise himself from by being himself.What follows is a tedious nonsense of journey, discussion, treachery, intrigue and just general nonsense.Donaldson has an annoying habit of occasionally following a line of dialogue with "What he meant was" to show what the prince is actually trying to ask but didn't. This gets very annoying very quickly.The conclusion of the story can only be described as relief that it is over, no great revelations, no climactic sequence or discovery, just "that's that sorted then now send to publishers".Having recently read a number of fantasy books told from numerous viewpoints and covering really epic storylines, to come to such a linear, one dimensional tossed away story as this from someone who is supposed to be one of the greats of the genre, it really was an incredible disappointment.I shan't be reading the second or third books of the trilogy, and Thomas Covenant has just slipped down my pile a bit.
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  • Virginia
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come
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