on 1 March 2005
It's not that this is a bad book. Far from it, in fact. It was a real page-turner, and I ran through it at a brisk pace. It just left me feeling somehow unsatisfied.
The book takes the form of a mystery. Right from the start, we are presented with the problem: that Kahlan has vanished and nobody other than Richard remembers her existence. We then follow Richard's attempts to try to find the cause of the problem, in the face of doubt and occasionally open hostility from his friends.
While a fairly decent story, it lacks the urgency and sense of wonder that characterised the earlier books in the series. It seems as if Goodkind wrote it simply for the sake of writing something, rather than because he felt he had to tell this particular tale.
There's also more of the moralising that has become a common occurrence in the series, with Richard seeming to act as a mouthpiece for Goodkind's own political and moral ideologies. If you've enjoyed those elements of the preceding books in the series, then you get to enjoy more of the same. If, like me, you find them preachy, then you have to sit through more of the same.
That said, this is a definite step up from the last couple of books of the series. The author has indicated his intentions to end the series within a couple more books, and there is an indication here, especially with the cliffhanger ending, that the last two books may see him back on form.
Overall, if you've managed to get this far through the series, then this book is definitely worth reading. On the other hand, if you gave up earlier on in the series, and want to know if Goodkind ever gets back to his brilliant best, then the answer is sadly "not yet".
And if you're new to the series, don't even think of starting here. Instead, go and check out the superb "Wizard's First Rule".
on 24 April 2005
Firstly if you are trying to decide whether this book is worth buying, then it really depends on who you are.
If you are a new reader to the series then it will be hugely disappointing.
If you are a strong fan of the series then you will be glad that this book sees Goodkind return to some sort of form after the stagnant Pillars of Creation and Naked Empire where you felt cheated after the books hardly included the main characters and didnot move the story along.
But this book is nowhere never the peak of Goodkind; this is still disappointing compared to the first 6 books.
The basic problem is that even though the book is around 650 pages, the actual story could have easily been fitted into 300 pages. Goodkind though go overs the same points of Richard convincing people and his injurys and despair again and agian and again.
The action only picks up in the last 100 pages and you find that after 650 pages you are only given half a story with no subplots at all!
The story of Kahlan being kidnapped is so unoriginal that it really killed the book no matter what was written.
Mr Goodkind, just put Richard and Kahlan together, let the chemistry work naturally and let the story progress and have something for the readers to really get excited about. Simple. And stop trying to drag the story out, you are only killing it. You could have made this a classic series that would be remembered for generations but you are doing it no justice with your last three books. Shame.
on 16 February 2005
Hmmm.... what can I say? Well having read the majority of the series twice now I'm left with the feeling that I'm going slightly mad.
When I read the first books of these series I felt that their length was never too much, granted they were huge in sheer volume,but they had epic plots where simply so much happened. Goodkind managed to keep the story racing along for up to 1000 pages with the speed of an athlete. Now we seem to have reached somewhat of a slow period.
Having just completed this last book I'm kind of left with the impression.. " Right... well i've just read another 700 pages of Goodkind musing ". And the strangest thing is that despite pace (which now resembles our athlete trying to drag himself along on his arse) I find I still quite enjoyed it. Weird. Despite the anti-communist ravings and American cultist 'your life is your own' slogans I just can't help reading on and enjoying myself.
Hmm I think what I must say is, One For The Fans. If you love Goodkind and the Sword of Truth World then great, I'm sure you'll love the is book. However if you were ever unsure(WHY?)then to be honest this book will not rock your world.
Perhaps I sound unsure? Thats prob cause I am, now I'm kind of left wondering will Richard ever actually defeat Jagang? Or will Goodkind or myself die before this day? (Which at the rate good old Mr. Rahls going isn't out of the question)
Having been disappointed with the previous two books in the Sword of Truth series (The Pillars of Creation and the Naked Empire) I approached this latest book in the series with some trepidation. However, it has to be said that this book is simply stunning. Goodkind's writing has returned to the quality it has shown in the past and his evocotive use of language has you the living the storing line and once more caring about the characters involved. The plot twists are superb and at points have you truly wondering which way the storyline is going to go and the ending and revealment of what is truly happening is well placed in the book and is truly unpredictable. If you are collecting this series then this is a definite buy, and if you are new to this series then it is well worth collecting.
on 18 October 2005
This book really wasn't as bad as some people have been making out. I understand the repititions and long speeches by Richard are frustrating, but if you ignore all of that, the actual story was quite fun. I think mainly because Kahlan was not in it, thank God!
Am I the only one who finds the Richard/Kahlan partnership a bit too lovey-dovey and sometimes just too much to stomach? One reviewer earlier on said Kahlan and Richard should be kept together to let the chemistry carry on, but my question is WHAT CHEMISTRY? They are like an old married couple, how boring!
I love this new dimension to the story which is Nicci's obvious love for Richard, it's great because she is perfect for him and I'm hoping at some point in the next book Richard will start to return those feeling. Mr. Goodking please keep Kahlan lost till the very end so that Richard can be available for other characters.
I know in the end Richard and Kahlan have to get together or the fans will revolt against you, but please, I love the delicious ache you've created in Nicci for Richard which they both will only be able to act on if Kahlan remains out of the picture.
My final question is when is Richard going to learn how to use his powers? I mean he is apparently this amazing war wizard but what good does it ever do him? Nicci is the one who is always doing the fighting with magic. With the final battle looming, our hero needs to brush up on his "abra-cadabra"
The Sword of Truth series takes an turn for the better in this book - but given the dire nature and feeble politics of the last few installments of what began as a good bog-standard fantasy this would not be hard.
As Richard chases across a strangely empty world (where has everyone gone) for the woman no-one else can remember he ignores the (apparently) massive armies wandering around looking for something to do or attack. Hopefully they will manage to do this in the next installment.
Just as it looked as though Mr Goodkind might finish a novel without an editorialising sermon on (a) the badness of communism (b) the evils of democracy or (c) the danger of pacifism, in the final few pages we are treated to a nice lesson on how torture is fine. If the good guys do it, obviously. If the bad guys do it, it is wrong.
I put down the book and had to wash my hands, as this left me feeling soiled. I just hope no impressionable youngsters are reading this stuff...
It gets two (rather than one) stars for the pace and the plotting.
on 22 August 2005
Honestly, I have to say that after waiting a long year for the next book after Naked Empire, I was dissapointed upon reading Chainfire. It seems that in this novel Terry Goodkind simply wanted to fill up an entire book with useless and repetative summaries of what happened in earlier novels. I honestly don't know how his editors could have allowed such mindless and boring repetition! For God's sake, I've read the other books! I know what they're about! I literely had to skip about three pages at a time of summary of previous books in order to get to something that was actually new. Futhermore, the plot itself is so similar to the first book.. (SPOILER!)..again with the boxes of orden and releasing the keeper.. been there! done that! However, bad things aside, it is worth reading, espicially for die hard Terry Goodkind fans such as myself. Chainfire marks the beginning of the Final Battle, and the battle is not what you might think.. Jagang is actually the least of Richard's worries at this point! Another annoying thing about the novel is that unlike the others it finishes in the middle of the excitement, leaving the reader practically gasping with anticipation and exasperation, not knowing what happens next. Finally, the absence of Kahlan is another problem. She is barely mensioned in this novel, and the absence of her strong, fearless charecter takes away a bit from the enjoyment of the novel. However, this is necessary for the plot and thus understandable. Richard, himself, is not very well charecterized in Chainfire, either. He does not display the usual strength and intelligence, but instead seems to come off as a sappy kind of charecter. All in all, a bit of a dissapointment. I, certainly, expected better of Goodkind, and hope his next novel, Phantom, is better.
Richard Rahl awakes to find that his beloved wife Kahlan is missing. What's worse is that no one but him remembers she even exists. As he is pursued by a beast of random talents and hounded by the friends that think he's delusional, Richard attempts to find the clues that will prove he isn't losing his mind.
Goodkind is a very good storyteller and no matter my issues with the plot (I'll elaborate in a moment), it remains that the author creates characters who are endearing and interesting, writes dramatic action sequences and doesn't dance around the real issues of adult life (*ahem* Robert Jordan). This book sees Richard return to the Midlands and D'Hara, which is great because his adventures in the Old World were starting to drag. It also revisits several major characters from earlier in the series (such as Shota, Berdine and others), giving the feeling that the author has come back from the disturbing sidetrack of the last two books. Perhaps this book's best element is that it picks up the pace of the overall story, leaving the reader in no doubt that the final battle for which Richard was born is just around the corner (or two years away, at the rate Goodkind publishes).
The plot in which everyone but the main character forgets the truth is so cliche for SF/fantasy. I've seen it done on TV, in movies, comics, novels and I'm sick of it. All it does is serve to frustrate the reader; we all know Richard's right, so what's the point in belabouring the issue? And don't even get me started on the fact that Kahlan's been kidnapped for the umpteenth time. Aside from these issues with the overall premise, the only other thing that bothered me (and always has done really) is Samuel's transparent Gollum-ness. Goodkind could have at least made the effort to disguise his character theft!
on 5 July 2006
I have read all of Terry Goodkind's books, the first few were amazing, and I have read them and re-read them, but somewhere along the line Terry has fallen into the same hole as Robert Jordan, who has the other epic series going on at the time. Writing for the sake of filling up pages to sell! somewhere along the line Terry went into the full time preaching mode, whereas Jordan went into the nit picking describing details, Jordan takes about 10 pages to describe every button on every woman's dress who happens to be passing the street at the time, Terry has taken to sermonizing and repeating over and over how important Kahlan is to Richard, to the extent that Richard is willing to throw away the world to find Kahlan, whereas I find the idea very romantic and speaking of an eternal love, the logic escapes the hero, that if the world is destroyed, there will be nothing left for Kahlan to come back to!!
Please please Terry go back to what you are good at, writing adventure stories, leave the preaching and preaching, or at least confine it to a few pages at a time.
the story only takes off in the last few chapters, after reading about 3/4 of the book where nothing much happens, apart from Richard pining and trying to convince everyone on each page that there is a Kahlan.
The last 2 or 3 chapters are what the whole book is about, I might as well have read those chapters and saved myself time and anguish
on 18 October 2007
Picking up this book after giving the series a break, I read the first few pages and found what seemed to be another annoying, patronising drone of a novel from this author. We start off with the author's greatest skill - getting one event (Richard, having been wounded by an arrow, trying to ask about Kahlan) and dragging it out to an entire chapter! Again and again he goes over how much pain Richard is in, oh there's so much blood, it's so painful, where is Kahlan? If only he could speak - but the pain, the terrible pain! It doesn't serve to aid the suspense, but merely prevents anything interesting actually happening!
And that's right, Kahlan is in trouble. Again. Will this particular kidnapping be any more interesting than the previous times? Surprisingly, yes. See, quite a few things have happened between the previous book and this one, the result being is that the reader doesn't know exactly what's happened to her. I myself was guessing throughout the course of the book, and my guesses were each shot down as more clues to the puzzle were revealed. I actually found myself wondering if Kahlan, and as such, the previous eight novels, could actually have all been a delusion of Richard's mind...?
But what about this horrible, repetitive writing style? Well, for the first half of the book it didn't read any different to "Naked Empire", a book that really got bogged down with preaching, oversimplifying and dragging out scenes much like the first one of Chainfire. Terry seems to particularly devote himself to the Wizard's First Rule that people are stupid, the result being that his characters explain things to a eight year old level simply for the sake of the reader. Who, I should imagine, should be able to grasp what Terry's babbling on about during the first couple of sentences of his patronising (I am of course referring to the chapter-long explanation of "The Beast" about half way through the book).
But then a change occurs. Right after the aforementioned chapter, the book takes a change for the better. The characters become interesting, Nicci especially shines in this novel. Richard's grief is actually shown in such a way that I sympathise with the guy - something I've not found myself doing for any of the characters recently! Aspects long ignored from the earlier books start creeping back into the story, and I really felt like it was building up to something sinister. There's even a couple of very well written scenes, which I find frustrating because I now *know* Terry *can* write worth the reputation to his name when he really wants to. From the middle of the book, right up until the end, I found myself waiting to be let down as I began, gasp!, enjoying what I was reading!
There's still life in this series, and this book proves it. The question is, will Terry manage to keep this pace up to the finale? Time to read Phantom before the soon to be release Confessor, and find out.