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4.2 out of 5 stars165
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 22 August 2013
I'll start by saying that I was pleasantly surprised by The Third Kingdom. I enjoyed it more than I expected I would, and thought that it expanded on the occult theme in novel and interesting ways. These new items are what give the plot its vinegar, despite being sandwiched behind a wall of exposition and dialogue that seemed to last a hundred pages. I doubt Mr. Goodkind has the sense of irony to draw comparisons between this wall he sets for his readership and the one in the story for the Shun-tuk, and it is only once you pass both of these that the story gets interesting. And on that note, I have a bone to pick (pun intended) with the concept of the North Wall. It was an imposing, exciting concept, to be sure, but haven't we seen this somewhere before?

Let's recount just how many areas segregated ancient magic there are in the SoT world:

1) The Boundary in Wizard's First Rule
2) The Towers of Perdition in Stone of Tears.
3) The Temple of the Winds which is found to be in the underworld in Temple of the Winds.
4) The Dominie Dirtch (I think they count) in Soul of the Fire.
5) The barrier holding back those evil pacifists in Naked Empire.
6) The North Wall in The Third Kingdom

The SoT world seems to have an awful lot of these evil playpens lying around waiting for the good guys to discover somewhat conveniently late that the gates to Hell have been opened, leaving me with the impression that the ancient wizards and co. of the New World were a grossly irresponsible and incompetent bunch. Anyway, back to the book.

Prose has never been TG's strong suit, and this book started out well enough but later on it really begins to suffer. There are many poorly constructed sentences with broken punctuation that should have been corrected by his editor long before this hit the printing press. Many words or phrases were repeated in the following sentence, which isn't a literary crime by any means, but the repetition quickly becomes too frequent and too flagrant to ignore. Excessive strings of adjectives and adverbs also crop up quite a lot. Colloquialisms and anachronisms unseen in his previous books began to populate it like weeds, jarring me out of the flow on many occasions.

Certain words will always be up for debate as to whether they're appropriate for fantasy, but 'computational' is not one that should appear in the SoT universe. There were several other examples that only served to detract from instead of build on the world, which brings me to a general criticism of the style and tone of this book. Like the Omen Machine, its subtitle is 'A Richard and Kahlan Novel', and I couldn't help but feel that these new adventures are 'Sword of Truth: Lite', lacking the intensity, verve and direction of the original series.

The objectivist dogma is thankfully kept on the down-low, reserved to a few choice cuts that, although ham-fisted as any of Rand's cultist tosh, don't really intrude too heavily on the story. I actually found other bits more irritating because they sounded conversational, as if I wasn't reading a story but hearing him give his opinions about life in an interview. Yes it's true that young people have a limited world view because of their lack of experience, but their youth excuses them. At his age, he should know better than he thinks he does. As the old adage goes "there's no fool like an old fool".

Goodkind seems to have become reluctant to really explore new territory in the main cast's relationships, which is why they all seemed like cardboard cut-outs in the Omen Machine. As with the Omen Machine there's precious little character development, with one major exception hashed in right at the very end. Maybe he intends to play the consequences of it out in the next book, but a lot of redundant text could have been cleared in favour of covering new ground between Team Rahl and the consequences of this event.

At this point it would be a novel concept for him to keep his main cast together for more than a quarter of a book, and to actually have Richard learn how to use his gift from his peers instead of imagining how useful they'll be once he finds them again. Zedd might not be able to help him with his gift but Nathan and Nicci almost certainly can. After thirteen books he really should know more than how to translate a couple of dead languages, and it really makes me wonder why Terry is so afraid to play this trump card. What are you waiting for Terry? We're already past the actual SoT series, why can't you let Richard develop his birthright? We've been waiting to see it for over a decade since the teaser scene in the Temple of the Winds - another immense power source that Richard doesn't bother to make use of even though HE deliberately brought it back to the world of life.

The antagonists, while not as uniquely chilling as Darken Rahl or as maniacally loathsome as Jagang and the Sisters of the Dark, still held up well enough to be believable. I still think TG needs to come up with a way to make his bad guys threatening without having to nerf Richard's gift, which has also happened more times than I can recall. In his muddled, denial-stricken and occasionally abusive relationship with the fantasy genre, Terry has been whaling on magic in various ways for the last nine books while still relying on it to carry his multi-million dollar boat along. This time the entire cast was rendered powerless, and wizards that can't use magic are just ordinary people, making them immediately less interesting to read about. If this was compensated for by character development then maybe it would have worked, but it isn't - so it doesn't.

So what actually earns this book its stars? It's an easy and mostly compelling read with a few new surprises, even if the prose is pockmarked with amateurism and the overall framework follows a familiar formula. I'd say that it actually ranks somewhere between three and four stars for being better than the Omen Machine but still vastly inferior to his earliest works. The new characters are interesting enough that I didn't walk away feeling unsatisfied, but neither were they especially stirring or thought-provoking. A lot of the book focuses on mundane precursive activities like talking and travelling, but there's some good stuff that bends the established rules of the SoT universe further in. Still, I don't regret reading it and can't deny the man's work has a place in my heart. I just wish he'd re-evaluate his approach and hit the mark again like he did with Wizard's First Rule.
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on 21 December 2014
Picked this up as I've read all the previous Sword of Truth books, and wanted to keep up with the full story. I've got to say I was seriously disappointed. The far, far, far too many chapters based around Richard and Samantha's conversations, with her every other question being "what do you mean?" or some other variant of the same question nearly finished me off. I was all set to say screw it, I no longer care what happens but somehow found the will to carry on. It does improve slightly after that epic conversation (literally 30+ chapters) but by then you just want it to be over and out of the way. Goodkind has gone downhill fast, used to love his books but this, like The Omen Machine before it, reads like something a teenager at school might write. "What do you mean?" I hear you ask, or is it just the echo of Samantha etched into my mind? It's simple language, without much description, just the author droning on and on and on, bit like me in this review. Quite sad to see a fantastic series being flogged to death and characters I once loved leaving me feeling somewhat apathetic about now.
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on 23 August 2013
Warning. Readers may find this book to be anti-social. Like all of the other Sword of Truth and Richard and Kahlan books, once I pick it up I find it difficult to put it down. Fortunately my wife is very understanding about this. I would most definitely give this book my full recommendation to science fantasy lovers. The only thing that frustrates me is that I now have to wait for the next book, but I know that Mr Goodkind is hard at work writing it.
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on 2 September 2013
This is another great book by Terry and if you loved his sword of truth series then you will love this. Read the Omen Machine first as this is the second part. I alos suggest reading the SOT series as well before hand so you get to know the character's and really see there struggle.
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on 3 September 2013
As an avid fan of Richard and Khalan I was excited to download my first Kindle edition of the new novel. A usual I was straight back into their world with the excellent character writing but was both disappointed and frustrated at the repetitiveness and lengthy descriptions of the areas being travelled. I liked the introduction of Samantha and hope this character is developed in further novels. I missed the interaction of the 2 main characters but still look forward to the next novel as Third Kingdom is a prequel to the inevitable next volume.
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on 2 September 2013
Sadly Terry Goodkind is suffering from the same problem as J K Rowling. An established author, a guarantee that the book will be published and an already established fan base who will buy the next book in the series (myself included)!
This is the second book in a new story line for these characters. Unfortunatley he tends to ramble a little and the stories do not progress very quickly in some parts (The Omen Machine was guilty of the same). The story could have moved on quicker and been condensed into shorter books; perhaps 2 to finish the story not 3.
Having said that he introduces new characters for our hero's to contend with and some imaginitive ideas thrown in for good measure. Won't spoil the plot!
Not sure how long we will have to wait for the next in this new series; but I will buy it anyway! Need to see how things work out for everyone. Hope that this time at the end he will let our main characters settle down to a life of peace and tranquility.
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on 23 July 2014
I don't normally post reviews, but I feel that I need to give fair warning to prevent you wasting your time by reading this drivel! Enough is enough, the SoT series is over, write something original please. This is just a repeat of stories that we've all read already. The book isn't even very long, I read it in a day while in hospital. I thought the law of nines was different enough, can't we have more of that?
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on 23 July 2014
The underlying story is good (if a little repetitive) but the 40-odd chapters of drudgery between Richard and Samantha definitely have to be worked through.
It picks up around chapter 53 when Kahlan wakes up, and pretty soon after we're back in the fast-paced TG style that earned him his reputation.

The formula reminded me of the Pillars of Creation where the main story focussed tightly on one or two people, but there a lot of things were happening in the background and the dramatic irony sold it. Here the reader is as confused as the characters, so it's dull.
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on 7 September 2013
A much more interesting and exciting story than its predecessor, almost back to the kind of form we saw in the earlier books albeit in the context of a middle-of-trilogy episode that sets us up for more to come. Unfortunately it's badly marred for me by the constant and patronising repetition of Richard's inner feelings and motivation. A lot of the story seems to go like this:
"Richard stood up and worried about Kahlan. He opened the door and looked back as he worried about Kahlan. Richard's thoughts were of his worry for Kahlan as he closed the door behind him. He sighed... he was so worried about Kahlan. As he let his mind wander to Kahlan and his worry for her he slowly walked across the floor...". It shows how little Goodkind thinks of his readers' ability to follow the plot or possibly it's just filler to try and pull the wool over the eyes of the critics who complained about the Omen Machine's page count.
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on 20 October 2013
I used to think that fiction writers were somehow immune from the problems faced by many bands when they produce a few really good albums then slowly but surely churn out album after album with diminishing returns. Sorry to say that Terry Goodkind is also a victim. The sword of truth books started well but just went on perhaps two books too far then seemed to die off quietly. Alas Richard and Kahlan are back and this time the zombies are coming. Yes that's right I said zombies.
Mind-numbingly dull, Goodkind dusts off all the old cliches and padding for a B grade zombie movie/video game set in the D'Haran empire.
Like Laurell K Hamilton's Meredith Gentry stories it just leaves the reader with a sense of being conned by an author who just can't think of any new metaphors or simile. The book is almost entirely made up of dialogue which is tedious. Basically it's a cut and paste job from previous books with a helpful dose of right click select synonym.
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