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Phantom Hardcover – Jul 18 2006

3.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1 edition (July 18 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765305240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765305244
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 862 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #303,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In the eagerly awaited second volume of bestseller Goodkind's Chainfire trilogy, which will wrap up his long-running Sword of Truth series, star-crossed Richard Cypher (aka Lord Richard Rahl) searches for his beautiful "phantom" wife, Kahlan Amnell, who lost her memory in 2005's Chainfire after the Sisters of the Dark cast a spell on her. Meanwhile, Richard has memorized a magical instruction book, The Book of Counted Shadows, which will help open the three boxes of the Orden, though the consequences could be dire for the Old World: "Open the correct box, and one gains the power of Orden-the essence of life itself, power over all things living and dead... Open the wrong box... and every living thing in existence is incinerated into nothingness. It would be the end of all life." Despite the simplistic good vs. evil conflict and bland prose, the author expertly juggles many complex plot lines and brings to life a host of colorful characters. Goodkind has recently made a deal with Sam Raimi of the Spiderman franchise to translate the series into film.
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“Wonderfully creative, seamless, and stirring.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Wizard's First Rule

“Wonderful.” ―Kliatt on Stone of Tears

“Each volume of the Sword of Truth... proves more difficult to review than the last. There are only so many ways of heaping praise on a series that gets better and better.” ―SFX on Blood of the Fold

“...outstanding work...adrenaline and characters who actually behave like adults. Highly recommended.” ―San Diego Union Tribune on Temple of the Winds

“...thoroughly enjoyable.” ―VOYA on Soul of the Fire

“Mr. Goodkind's compelling prose weaves a magic spell over readers.” ―Romantic Times Bookclub on Faith of the Fallen

“Near-perfect pacing, well-realized settings, and superior descriptive narrative.” ―VOYA on The Pillars of Creation

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you have gotten all the way to this book, then you are either a masochist (like me) or you consider Ayn Rand to be your personal saviour. Either way, no restatement of the main thrust of the series is needed here. Suffice it to say that this book continues the same frustrating themes. Here are a few: 1) Richard desperately missing Kahlan and randomly experiencing searing mental anguish over her absence. 2) Nicci being incredibly hot with very blue eyes and thinking she would just die if Richard ever looked at her with anything less than euphoria. 3) Lots of descriptions of violence and rape. 4) Richard and Shota routinely pulling solutions to complex problems out of thin air. 5) Richard being unable to use his magic 6) More rape 7) Tedious descriptions of things which do not need to be described. 8) Really feeble humour.

The main problem with this series is that Goodkind does not consider it to be fantasy but rather some sort of inspirational tract meant to enlighten us drudges about freedom and the colossal beacon of blinding light that is the thought of Ayn Rand. This invariably creates problems. Goodkind is far more interested in proselytizing than in writing a good yarn. Thus, much of the dialogue is stilted and embarassingly awkward. At one point the seer Jebra shows up to tell Richard all about her experience as a captive of the Imperial Order (as he if he didn't know what they were like already). Despite having lived through grotesque horrors, her narrative (which goes on for pages) is absurdly dry and sounds like she's reading from a textbook or maybe from the diary of someone who had only polite interest in what was going on. The same goes for the bad guys. The Imperial Order soldiers, described as the most brutish and nasty people alive, don't even swear.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked up Wizard's First Rule when it was first published and found it to be an enjoyable fantasy novel. I have stuck with the series far longer than I should have, but by now I have too much time invested in it to stop. The story as it was has now devolved into little more than a political manifesto, a propaganda piece extolling a vile philosophy. If Faith of the Fallen had been the worst offender for characters endlessly prattling on about their love of life and liberty that would have been fine, if boring. But it has altered course in a significant way. Where once the only absurdities in these books were (to name a few) a wise-cracking dragon, a heroic talking wolf, and a chuckling chicken that is evil manifest, Mr. Goodkind has sunk to new depths. His main characters - Richard and Kahlan - are held up as paragons of virtue, and great champions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But one sees as the story progresses that they repeatedly betray such virtues and participate enthusiastically in the very atrocities that they so boldly (and endlessly) claim to be fighting against.

What Mr. Goodkind has done in his latest installment of the Sword of Truth series is a new low. Facing insurmountable odds, our hero Richard decides that the only path to victory lies in visiting the same atrocities upon the enemy citizenry, as have been committed upon Richard's own people. Whereas some might say the plotline (such as it is) in Phantom is particularly relevant to current world events, the fact is that what the heroes in this story are engaging in on behalf of all that is good, is exactly what would be universally condemned here in real life.

The prose in Phantom is long-winded enough to destroy the New Orleans levees all over again.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
To start things off, I think Terry Goodkind is a talented writer (as evidenced by his earlier works). But this book is SO wordy. I am on page 174 and it feels like 80%+ is nothing but talking and no action. Man, is this boring!!! I have started to gloss over the discussions of the brutalities of the Order because it's the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and ... (I think you get the drift). Earlier, he had Richard talk about the "emblamatic" nature of a spell that Nikki was in. While it takes quite a bit of creativity to write with such conviction, Terry Goodkind just went too far with it.

I will finish this book, though it is now becoming a chore rather than a pleasure. I always finish the novel I started (with one boring exception with a book by Ed Greenwood; I cannot remember the title). It is very possible that this may be the last Terry Goodkind book I will ever read, unless things significantly improve. But with the threat of a third book with Kahlan under the Chainfire spell, can I really do it?

Before I picked this one, I had just finished (re-)reading the first 11 books of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. That storyline did not always move too quickly, but there were many engaging (sub-)plots.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Terry Goodkind is not a terrible author, but his story lost its way books ago. The first three novels were wonderful and I have reread them each several times. Then he ran out of steam and floundered for a couple of books until he decided to teach us all about life and love. Now he is simply preaching his philosophy through his characters: Richard is the mouthpiece and the rest of the characters (regardless of their supposed age and wisdom) are the rabble who must be educated. It feels insulting to read through these meaningless discourses.

As for the actual plot, it is mostly a rehash of elements from the previous books; some I enjoyed and some I did not. There is very little new material here to expand his world and inspire the imagination. I get the distinct impression that Goodkind simply wants to finish this off so that he can move on to his next project. At this point his intriguing characters are boring, his magic is unmagical, and his creative setting is empty and bland.

I will only be reading the final book, Confessor, to bring a little closure to my 10 year relationship with this series. I believe it would have been better if Terry Goodkind had simply written the Chainfire trilogy as a single book.
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