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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on July 26, 2006
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. Goodkind has one character spend twenty pages in a row describing what she saw in the camp of the Imperial Order, and another character follows immediately with a ten page explanation of how they got that way. If the characters in these books spoke like normal people do then it would be the size of a pamphlet one could read while waiting for a bus. The action that one could previously depend on is almost non-existent in Phantom, as the characters do very little other than talk each other (and the reader) to death. The twenty page description of life with the Order could have been done much easier, for example: "Jebra spoke of the horrors she had seen in the camp during the months she had labored there. The squalor, the endless rapes of screaming women, the torture and brutality. Richard's mind reeled at what he was hearing." I make no claim to be a great writer, but I don't need twenty pages to explain that the "bad guys" are evil. Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. Mr. Goodkind has fallen into the bad habit of treating his audience like dimwitted children who must have an idea repeatedly pounded into their heads for them to grasp it. I found myself on several occasions wishing I had simply skipped an entire chapter, if only because the entire time I was reading it I kept muttering to myself "yes, I know life is good. Yes, I know the Order is evil. Get on with it." Mr. Goodkind's prose acts as a bulldozer, piling tons of rubble on top of you, distracting you from realizing that almost nothing is happening to move the plot along.

Soon this series will come to an end, and that is for the best since anything worthwhile in the story came to an end for me long ago. All I look forward to in the final installment is to see whether Richard finally realizes that he has become something no better than the evil he claims to fight against, and falls on his magic sword. Or if he will be found at the end of the story with his shiny Sword of Truth held high while standing upon a mountain of the corpses of his innocent victims.
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on January 31, 2008
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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on July 31, 2007
Goodkind's first few books we're quite impressive, his characters felt human, mortals. In the last few books, I feel I'm losing interest with these peons. I'm sick of Kahlan being constantly threatened just to be saved at the last second. She's all powerfull, everyone is afraid of the mother confessor, damnit, send 5 guy's to kill her, she might get one with her power but once she's drained, beat her to death. Not going to happen, thats obvious. The characters talk too much and fail to really evolve. Goodkind should learn from authors like Steven Erikson and George R.R. Martin, you get to love someone just so you find out they die a book later, it keeps you on the edge of your seat and you never know what will actually happen.
I hoped this last issue would re-ignite my interest into the serie, but just like the 3 previous novels, its just the same old, with a slightly different plot. You want to know how this will end? Richard will slay all the bad guys and go hunting with kahlan the next day, just laffing and laffing like silly gooses they are, Carla will raise a family with lots and lots of children. By now, any other ending would satisfy me, hell, abduct them all by aliens, giraffes could take over the world, D-hara could invade the whole continent claiming weapons of mass destruction... anything
My advice, if you're tired of the serie, don't waste your cash on this, it won't rekindle the flames. An epic storyline gone sour.
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