The conclusion of Donaldson's two-volume fantasy epic, Mordant's Need, begun with Mirror of Her Dreams (1986). While not the swollen riot of style that marked his six-part Thomas Covenant series, Donaldson's new entry is nonetheless a woozy read for his massive following. In Vol. 1, set in the Middle Ages, Terisa Morgan, who lived in an apartment walled entirely with mirrors, was seduced into the fantasy land of Mordant (where mirrors are magical) by Geraden, an apprentice sorcerer who wanted her to champion the Congerie of Imagers against its enemies. In this volume, as in the last (and in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There), Terisa is always finding things reversed, with people disguised, in the wrong place, doing the wrong things. Everything must be translated by mirrors. However, enemies are also Imagers and have their own wondrous ability to "mirror-in" unexpected things out of nowhere. Amid Mordant's dashing armies, which endlessly fight each other with mirrors, Terisa never knows what will pop up next. In fact, Mordant seems to be the emotional landscape of a thwarted teenage narcissist. Naturally, when its battles at last are ended, Terisa must either leave (and rejoin her wealthy father back in the real) or remain and marry. Her choice: to remain, and the husband who rides through "a mirror made of the pure sand of dreams" is none other than Geraden, who first brought her to schizland. Mordant's Need resembles the thousands of three-decker idylls that once filled 19th-century home libraries—huge, purple entertainments whose breeziness and sweetness Filled a passing need but now lack the least murmur of life.
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