Have you been locked in an emotion or a feeling for weeks while ignoring events around you? Have you looked up to find that it is a fresh spring day, the birds are chirping, and the air is crisp against your skin, then wonder how you missed it? That is what reading The One Tree is like. It is a deep dive into the character of Linden Avery, a character who never sees the spring day, or understands the events around her because the bitterness of her past consumes her.
The One Tree—more so than the books that went before it—shows the flaw in Stephen R. Donaldson's writing. Here, at last, I can agree with those that say there is never anything good about Donaldson's characters. Seen primarily through the eyes of Linden Avery, her miserable past, her inability to experience joy, weighs down this epic tale.
The One Tree is not a bad book. I celebrated with the giant crew of Starfare's Gem as they set sail on a quest to find the legendary tree of the Staff of Law. I devoured the description the Elohim's island and thrilled to every gut churning event at Bhrathairain Harbor. But The One Tree—and much of White Gold Wielder that follows—is like grinding through a video game before the next boss challenge. Every page is laden with the dark moods of either Linden Avery or Thomas Covenant—who happens to be absent for most of the story.