Top critical review
17 people found this helpful
Bittersweet (mixed emotions)
on 28 December 2007
Well, from an overall perspective this series really has taken a long and winding route. What started with a spellbinding Wizard's First Rule has at last wound its way to the end. The reason I'm on here reviewing Confessor is because I picked up WFR some 8 years ago - was utterly enchanted from the off and that's how my love affair with the story started. The first 3 books were almost virtually flawless, creating such a wonderful range of vivid characters and settings. Very unfortunately, for some reason books 5(Soul of the Fire) through to 11(Confessor) seem to have gone on a gradual decline.
Although I agree with what Goodkind preaches as it were; nobility, rationality of mind, love, etc, he has taken it too far in as much as he seems to keep reiterating the same things over and over. On reflection perhaps Goodkind will realise that at the least he should have focused on Richard and Kahlan et all acting out their wholesome and inspiring lives as the demonstration of their (and Goodkind's) decent values. Just trotting them out at every chance eventually left me a little worn out.
In particular reference to this final installment, these are my feelings;
Part of Goodkind's style is to present good and bad in their extremes. Any guy would want to be Richard and any woman would want to be married to him. Vice versa for Kahlan (or Nicci, since her conversion). Goodkind positively showers these characters with divine attributes to the extent that I have been inspired by them. In exactly the opposite way, Jagang, the Order, Six and the rest are shown to be the most savage, perverse brutes imaginable. What really did get to me in this last book is that for what seemed like the first half of the book (about 300 pages) the topic seemed to be entirely on sex/rape/debauchery. Jagang's twisted desire to rape Kahlan, his postponement to inflict maximum pain on Richard, his disgusting and crude nature, the tents, then it's Nicci, and so on and so on. I felt that this was really overdone and unnecessary, and to a degree actually contradicts the essence of Goodkind's message about the need for reason, love, compassion. The second disappointment is the way this entire epic story seems to have been wrapped up in about 100 pages - almost scandalous considering the length and magnitude of the series. At one point Kahlan, Jillian, Nicci, Jensen and Richard are captives of the Order. Jagang has all three boxes and the Book of Counted Shadow. Six is on the Order's side causing mayhem on a red dragon. Richard has been robbed of his gift. The People's Palace is completely surrounded by millions of the Order. The Keep has had to be abandoned, the Prelate, Ann, is dead. The Chainfire spell is rampaging unchecked oblitering memories. The Beast is alive and well and on Richard's case.
Yes, that's right. All of the above is resolved within mere pages. Now I know it's a bit hypocritical to moan about the drawn out nature of the past five books but then whinge the ending is too short, but surely Goodkind could have gone out with more of a bang.
I will remember this series fondly, and whatever else I got from it I definitely have been heartened by the plight of Richard and definitely have a good role model there to aim for. The second half of books seemed to be misdirected, almost spouting about good and righteousness etc for the sake of it, rather than doing it the right way which is through the natural integrity of the story.
So mixed emotions at the end - I'm pleased I read this series, and overall the good points outweigh the bad, and I think Goodkind has his intentions right and his writing can be really exciting and uplifting. An era to look back on and some memories.