(In any case, Donaldson's feeble attempts are crushed by the lame-naming behemoth that is Steven Erikson. Anomander Rake! Nom nom nom... rake... dirt... hang on, maybe they're collaborating.)
All snark aside, Donaldson is -- I swear -- telling a solid story here. He's got imagery, he's got theme, he's got terrifying moments and exalted ones. He does a good job of balancing the vivid elements called back from his earlier trilogies with new discoveries and revelations. His stylistic quirks are... well, I can't say they're under control, but they're adequately curbed. And the plot feels like it's going somewhere -- maybe forcedly, but that's way better than the aimless mud-slog that was the Second Chronicles. I say this is respectable fantasy.