101 of 114 people found the following review helpful
on August 22, 2013
Warning: plot spoilers abound here, move along if you don't want to know any details of the book.
I see from the reviews here already that some people liked the new, shorter style of this novel. I didn't mind that so much, rather what was left vs discarded. It feels like half a book. The pluses: some new characters and places were set up nicely, and the bad guys were fleshed out a bit as separate identities. The ties in to the old war / previous wars were interesting, although the rehash of life vs underworld is beginning to wear thin. Cant we do better than green veils? The really annoying part is the complete unevenness that has come to be between the two main characters, Richard and Kahlan. The original series was wonderful because they had two equally powerful and interesting characters that held their own. Richard's story was always dominant, but Kahlan raised armies, attacked problems, and solved them herself. It was an even partnership. Starting with the last book in the old series, Confessor, Kahlan may as well be an after note - she was tormented by Jagang for an entire book, but not instrumental at all in the resolution, she just got saved by Richard. The Omen machine had the same issue - it started fine, but then Kahlan runs off into danger, gets captured, gets saved, no involvement on her part. Half the time she isn't even conscious. This one was even worse - she didnt even appear until over half way through the book, and then when she woke from unconsciousness (again) she immediately got captured, and spent the (short) remainder of the book hanging from a ceiling. One conversation with the bad guy, serving to reveal a key plot point about his goals and methods, then nothing. Richard on the other hand, spends a lot of the book finding out whats happening, interacting with a major new character, interacting with all the main players, saving everyone. Only he can read the crucial message and clues from the past (even the confessors' side of the story arc now belongs to Richard). In the old series, this might have been true, but the second half of the book would have an equivalent journey for Kahlan (and Cara, or Zedd, or Nikki - they didnt fare any better). I would assume Goodkind had just cut the book off at the half way point, if it wasn't a pattern now. Kahlan being captured was fine - when Richard was captured by Mord Sith he suffered, but managed to gather an understanding of them that allowed him to escape and ultimately save them all. There was character and plot development happening all over the place. The passivity is the issue. Old Kahlan defeats an entire army with nothing but a few recruits, and deftly maneuvers leaders and kingdoms alike. She inspires entire kingdoms to follow her. Now, apparently Richard is in charge of everything: leading, discovering, deciding, exploring, etc. Kahlan in this book interacts with almost no one, discovers (almost) nothing, influences literally nothing, is not changed at all. Her "big escape" at the end , when she manages to get out of her cell, involves a convenient diversion and her jumping out a window ... straight into the arms of Richard. The irony is that these new books are billed as the "Richard and Kahlan" stories, yet they are a pale imitation of what that used to mean. Goodkind has exactly one book to turn it around or I'm done.
57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2013
I LOVED the Sword of Truth series so it pains me to say it, but stay away from this hot mess of a book. I quit at 177 pages in, 170 of which were exposition. As a bonus, the exposition included a ridiculous amount of repetition from card board characters whose voice had nothing to do with their POV but rather with whatever the author needed communicated in yet another expository scene.
Let me sum it up this way. If the new Terry Goodkind (man, I miss the old one) had written the Avengers movie it would have taken place entirely in the Shawarma restaurant with Director Fury debriefing the heroes. The conversation would have gone something like this;
Fury - So, what happened?
Hulk - I created some epic destruction in an effort to save NY.
Fury - I see.
Hulk - The widespread destruction I caused saved mankind and now I'm eating shawarma.
Fury - Does shawarma taste better after causing so much havoc?
Hulk - It does. Why do you think I decided to cause so much destruction and help to save mankind. It was so I could exercise my free will to eat more shawarma.
Fury - You seem unusually eloquent today for a big green monster.
Hulk - I need to describe to you how epic my destruction was and I can't do that by just saying, "Hulk smash!". By the way, did I mention how evil the aliens were that I destroyed so majestically?
Fury - Please, tell me more.
Hulk - Well, there were these really evil aliens that I had to destroy...
*Ugh* Just terrible. It makes me want to cry.
62 of 69 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2013
I have been a long-time fan of Terry Goodkind and this series with Richard and Kahlan. But this book is a huge disappointment. The writing is childish, repetitive (he frequently says the very same thing only one paragraph later) and awkward. I thought that perhaps an elementary school kid wrote this book. The story is interesting but the writing is as bad as it gets. No character development, weak sentences, and nonsensical sequences of events. We even have to wonder how Zed and Nicci were able to destroy so many of the bad guys with Wizard's Fire at the end when in the beginning they could only push air at them. Somehow they got their power back. A huge disappointment!
70 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2013
Okay, I'm hooked again. Goodkind has created such strong characters in Richard, Kahlan, Cara, Zedd, and Nicci, that I really want to see what happens to them. He's created some strong new villains and heroines, as well. He's great at that. He's extended his well-imagined world into "The Dark Lands" and tied R & K's story into his story of Magda Searus, The First Confessor, which was nice. I just wish he wouldn't spend quite so much time on filler, Richard thinking and lecturing Samantha, and sometimes saying in 10 pages what he could have expressed in a sentence, like, instead of [minor Spoiler Alert] extending Samantha's regret at not being able to do as he asked, after doing exactly that and saving their lives, with Richard enabling her meandering, how about just "hey, you got there when it mattered and we're here"? Or pages and pages and pages of traversing forests and, then, pages and pages and pages of climbing around rocks while avoiding sheets of green phosphorescence. I feel as if some of this extended description, rumination, monologuing, etc., is just a way to fill hundreds of pages for what is really 2 or 3 key developments that could have been handled in 2 or 3 chapters.
But, as I've learned with other good writers, you take their foibles with their strengths when the story is good enough and the characters compelling enough. Overall, Goodkind is still a great storyteller. I'm still a fan.
44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2013
Just for a brief mental exercise think back to The Stone of Tears book. Second book in the SoT series. Try and think over what plot points you remember from that book.
Mudpeople, shooting arrows curing the headaches, Kahlan's dilemna and 'betrayal', taking him south to the Old World, crossing the whatever and killing the sister only to find he hadn't, the struggle getting with the people that wanted him to sacrifice a young girl, learning how to properly use his sword, getting to the temple and scaring everyone, and that is just a meager big of his story. Kahlan is meanwhile up North raging through a war and fighting like a possessed woman. There is so MUCH that happens in just that one book. So many ideas, philosophies, world-views, worries, fears, collisions of perspective, etc. This book lacks it all.
SPOILERS AHEAD. Don't read on if you care about the story. You shouldn't, but that's beside the point.
Now. This story... my list of issues with it:
1. Hamstrung again. No powers for Richard. In fact lets take their unique abilities and hit <Delete>. No confessor power for Kahlan, no magic for Richard. Leave his sword power though, so he can hack people up. The silly ways in which the author constantly finds silly reasons to weaken his characters is getting much too boring. "Oh, your sword can't go through this portal, leave it here." "The chimes are loose" "If you use your power I'll hurt Kahlan" and so on and so on.
2. NOTHING HAPPENS for about half of the book. Sitting in a cave with a child reading symbols on the wall while your wife is knocked out is not a story.
3. The stupid wall and zombies? I just spend 30 hours powering through the Game of Thrones series and I have to say I see 'inspiration' here. A great, vast wall to the north? Check. Two types of 'zombies'? Check. An obsidian blade that can kill the undead? Check. Come up with your own ideas, while little you used here aren't interesting.
4. A new land? Boring. I feel like he is taking the World of Warcraft expansion philosophy. Just invent a new place and fill it with some characters and call it good. I'm sick of hearing about this hidden or undiscovered land being found and suddenly causing an issue.
5. Talking, talking talking talking. I could just look at the page and skip to the next dialogue and not miss anything. You could condense this whole story down to: Richard and Kahlan are injured. Richard is the only one consious. He finds a cave with symbols he can read after fighting off a few zombies. He leaves and gets captured in a new land beyond a newly discovered barrier. Kahlan wakes up and gets captured immediately. Richard is used to bring an old king back to life and then escapes to go rescue Kahlan. That's the whole book.
6. Torture porn. Why? I am still reeling from Game of Thrones and how callous the Mr. Martin is with the execution of my favorite characters, but we don't LIKE having our favorite characters rendered nearly-dead all the time. Let them be strong. Quit explaining the pain of an Agiel. I read that a few billion times in the last books.
7. Deus ex machina. Oh look, saved in the last second. Happens way too often in this book and the most recent ones.
8. Half people. Screw these as a 'people'. Zombies is what they are and quit explaining it away as them wanting a 'soul'. I never got overt Christian tones from the previous books and I hate that that got tagged on to change them from run-of-the-mill zombies into a new 'people'. Just say they created zombies and sealed them away.
9. Quit telling me about what happened, and tell me as it happens. The story Henrik told for one. The 3000 year old First Confessor and Merrit for another. Quit letting me hear about a cool sounding story and let me be there. You think I would have the memory of how Kahlan rode into battle naked painted white and came back with the soldier dying with her on a horse if Richard had read about it on the wall of a cave somewhere? Screw that.
10. Quit dragging the story out for more books. There just isn't enough here to justify a book. Nothing happens for HALF OF THE BOOK. The other half is just gore-porn.
I don't know. I loved the first books. 1-4 and Faith of the Fallen are the ones I liked. If that helps judge my preferences. These latest books just seem so lazy and useless. I don't want the professor Richard. I want the boy in over his head, confused at his power and sudden authority, scraping by Richard.
I want his gar back too. Make that happen.
I guess that ends my rant. It's my first review and it's because I finished this book and couldn't believe it made it to my hands like that. Take it for what you will.
80 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2013
Im a fan of Goodkind's work and I absolutely loved the Sword of Truth series but as of the Omen Machine and The Third Kingdom I must ask what the heck happened?
It pains me to write this review because I wanted so badly for this to be an awesome book just like I wanted the Omen Machine to be an awesome book but unfortunately it wasn't. Both books just dont have that same richness as the other eleven. There is a huge change in quality and the characters sometimes feel like cardboard cut outs of themselves. One of my biggest peeves about Goodkind's work is that it can be wordy and really repetitive. A sentence is written 5 to 10 times, in 5 to 10 different ways. He really needs a new editor.
As for the story, it didn't really get good until about halfway in. And I found myself being absolutely irritated most of the time. Especially with one particular scene where Henrik is explaining to Richard what happened while he and Kahlan were unconscious. That had to be the most stupidest cringe worthy scene I have ever read because first of all Henrik was highly detailed in his description to the point where it doesn't sound natural. This is a perfect example of show don't tell. Instead of writing this epic and horrific scene Goodkind instead has Henrik explain with such thorough and unbelievable detail the events that unfolded before Richard woke up. This just comes off as lazy writing. The second thing wrong with this is Henrik is supposed to be a child. The majority of the stuff that he says doesn't sound like anything that a child would say and you completely forget this. The same thing can be said for the other new character Sammie, I believe she's supposed to be 15 or something yet sometimes it feels like she's more like 7 or 8.
Now moving along to the title of this review. Why was this called a Richard and Kahlan novel? It took 3/4 of the book before Kahlan even enters into the picture.She spends the majority of it unconscious. This is just disappointing because what the heck happened to Kahlan the warlord, commanding armies and devising battle strategies and just being fricken awesome? This woman has proved time and time again that she is more than capable of handling herself and the situations that she gets into. So its highly disappointing to see such an amazing character reduced to the damsel in distress type. She has become almost overshadowed by Richard. We're stuck with the formula of Kahlan gets captured and Richard rescues her.
Overall once I got to the second half I did enjoy it a little better. I didnt hate it I just feel like saying "Goodkind you know better" and then giving him a slap on the wrist. Im expecting a lot more in the sequel hopefully he delivers.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2013
I've been reading about Richard and Kahlan from the first - way back in high school when I was much more impressionable. Now, as a 34 year old woman, here's what I want to say about this book:
Terry Goodkind's Richard & Kahlan novels are what Jo Rowling's worst case nightmare would be if she kept writing Harry Potter novels. Mr. Goodkind, please put them out of their misery. What's the point? There is so much repetition in these chapters that I feel like I kept getting lost and re-reading the same passages.
At this point, I'd rather read well done fan fiction of Richard & Kahlan. Anyone have some they can point me to?
Mr. Goodkind, I've loved these characters for so long, but I think I'm going to have to ride them off into the sunset in my own mind.
29 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2013
This series of books is one of the best series every written. Sadly, this book fails on multiple levels. It comes across as if Terry really needed to get a book published to meet some kind of quota. He definitely did not have enough material to fill all these pages and instead drags things out to a painful level. Some examples include, you will be over one hundred pages into the book and what has Richard done for over a hundred pages? He has read text on a wall. Seriously, he just translates text for an excruciatingly long time. How else can he fill all these pages? Well when he finally goes back to Khalan and there is a situation that she needs to know what happens, does Terry state, so and so filled Kahlan in on the details of the events from the past few days? NO! He has this person spend pages actually telling Khalan what you just read so you, as the reader, have to re-read what you already know just happened. Just some really bad writing choices. Terry also appears to of really wanted to get on the bandwagon from the success of all the Zombie novels, movies, and TV shows (e.g. The Walking Dead) because this novel is filled with the dead re-animated but to add a twist, gasp, there are non-dead people that act just like the walking dead and crave human flesh. Wow, what a twist in writing. Not!
Poor writing, long, and I mean, dozens of pages of recapping what happened in the other books, lame story lines, hundreds of pages of thrilling moments of translating text (sarcasm), adds up to a horrible entry into the series. This whole book could easily be recapped in one easy sentence: Richard has to face a new menace from behind yet another magician made wall no one knew existed or could see, yet the wall is so large it stretches into the clouds and boggles Richard's mind in its size.
42 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2013
Wow, what a HUGE letdown! Did he even write this book? This can't possibly have been written by the same author who penned earlier novels in the series (which I loved).
This book is 528 pages of repetition. By the end, I was getting so sick of reading the same paragraph over and over that I was ready to toss the Kindle against the wall (I guess books were good for something!).
Was this book even edited?! There are THREE possibilities on how this book came to be:
1. Terry Goodkind knew he was writing crap and didn't care, because he knew how much money he'd make from this poor excuse for a book regardless. Look at the countless sheep who gave this book 4-5 stars. Maybe they all have very short short-term memory and didn't realize that they were reading a similar sentence to one that they had just read 4-5 sentences earlier. For 528 pages.
2. Terry Goodkind thought this book was great and his editor's were either too scared to tell him the truth, or didn't care because they knew how much money they'd make from this poor excuse for a book regardless. Look at the countless sheep who gave this book 4-5 stars. Maybe they all have very short short-term memory and didn't realize that they were reading a similar sentence to one that they had just read 4-5 sentences earlier. For 528 pages.
3. Both Terry Goodkind and the editors were so drunk with making money that they didn't realize that they were publishing garbage. All they could think about was how much money they'd make off of this poor excuse for a book regardless....
Oh wait. I just pulled a Terry Goodkind.
27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2013
I have no idea where to start with describing just how bad this book really is. I've read every Richard and Kahlan novel, most of them several times. Terry Goodkind has a bad habit of becoming preachy and repetitive about the virtues of Life and Truth, and his concept of the World of Life being separate from the World of Death, but the first ONE-THIRD of this novel repeats over and over and over... first Richard to another character, then that character repeats to Richard, ad nauseum, for OVER ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY PAGES!
As usual, Richard is without his power (no spoiler, as the book begins this way), and Kahlan doesn't speak a word for at least the first 60% of the novel. In fact, she's an active character for less than 5% of this novel (in terms of pages with her doing... anything).
There really isn't anything new here, story-wise. Spoiler alert: the Enemy has something to do with the War fromthree millenia ago - yes, the same one Richard ended several novels ago. New characters? Two or three, but even they are not much different in terms of personality and behavior from villains seen earlier in the series.
The ONLY new concept in this book is that even the editors at Tor seem to have given up trying to make sense of this mess!
For starters, nobody notices that the ten-year-old (or so) Henrik is more articulate than any of the adults, able to fill in long conversations he overheard during a battle to give all necessary backstory to Richard (as the story opens in media res with Richard just regaining consciousness after said battle). For that matter, Henrik's voice is remarkably... narrative.
The editing really is poor. Are the Dark Lands singular or plural? Goodkind never decides.
This book reminds me more of, say, the eighth and ninth of the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series, seemingly written to sell yet another book with the same characters fans love but without any more plot advancement than necessary. At least Richard and Kahlan's epic was brought to a natural conclusion BEFORE Goodkind started with this drek! While I'd love to read more of them and their world, THIS book could have been a chapter or two instead of some 500 pages of redundancy with perhaps twenty-five pages of story and action.