I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
The daughter of rich but neglectful parents, Terisa Morgan lives alone in a New York City apartment, a young woman who has grown to doubt her own existence. Surrounded by the flat reassurance of mirrors, she leads an unfulfilled life—until the night a strange man named Geraden comes crashing through one of her mirrors, on a quest to find a champion to save his kingdom of Mordant from a pervasive evil that threatens the land. Terisa is no champion. She wields neither magic nor power. And yet, much to her own surprise, when Geraden begs her to come back with him, she agrees.
Now, in a culture where women are little more than the playthings of powerful men, in a castle honeycombed with secret passages and clever traps, in a kingdom threatened from without and within by enemies able to appear and vanish out of thin air, Terisa must become more than the pale reflection of a person. For the way back to Earth is closed to her. And the enemies of Mordant will stop at nothing to see her dead.
Stephen Donaldson is a decent writer—he writes plots that make me want to keep on reading. But he creates characters that I just hate! I couldn’t stomach any more of Thomas Covenant after reading two books. Now, I’m confronted with Terisa Morgan, possibly the dullest, most slow witted, whiniest protagonist that I have ever encountered in science fiction and fantasy. Hand her over to the Castellan, she could benefit from a bit of torture, just to make her realize that life could be a whole helluva lot worse.
The excuse that she is presented with: her parents were abusive narcissists, who mostly ignored her. But when she came to their attention, she was apparently punished by being locked in closets and ignored some more. Eventually, when she is old enough, she begins work in a city mission, secretary to the clergyman who is assisting the down and out. In this environment, how do you continue to be so incredibly naïve? Once you’re free of the restrictive home environment, how do you restrain your curiosity about what the world is really like? How do you remain so utterly passive? How did she actually summon the energy to step through the mirror into the world of Mordant?
Despite supposedly being the lynchpin on which the future of Mordant rests, she continues to whine and lollygag around, denying that she could possibly be of any importance and rarely using her brain to think about things. And when she finally does get around to thinking, it’s like she’s moving heavy furniture! Everything is slow and ponderous.
In short, she drives me nuts. But I want to know who done what, so I will read the second book and thank my lucky stars that there are only two of them, unlike the seemingly endless Thomas Covenant series.
Book 219 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy reading project.