Friday, December 28, 2012

Reviews From an HBN (Temple of the Winds - Terry Goodkind)

Book four of the Sword of Truth series.

On the red moon will come the firestorm...

Wielding the Sword of Truth, Richard Rahl has battled death itself and come to the defense of the D'Haran people. But now the power-mad Emperor Jagang confronts Richard with a swift and inexorable foe: a mystical plague cutting a deadly swath across the land and slaying thousands of innocent victims.

To quench the inferno, he must seek remedy in the wind...

To fight it Richard and his beloved Kahlan Amnell will risk everything to uncover the source of the terrible plague-the magic sealed away for three millennia in the Temple of the Winds.

Lightning will find him on that path...

But when prophecy throws the shadow of betrayal across their mission and threatens to destroy them, Richard must accept the Truth and find a way to pay the price the winds demand...or he and his world will perish.


The review:


I think I'll tackle this one with a few main points of discussion.
- I despise Terry Goodkind as a person.
- Either I'm a prophet, or this series has just gotten that predictable.
- I no longer care that much for Richard.

I think that will work for the time being. Here we go:
I despise Terry Goodkind as a person.
I've never met the man, and I'm not sure I want to. As others have pointed out before me, these books are all filled with the same graphic, horrendous acts of violence, namely rape and torture. I mean it, if the shock of it hadn't worn off clear back in Stone of Tears, then this would have made me physically sick just to read about how eight out of ten female characters were treated. As I've seen it put elsewhere, when the men are killed, they're cut in half and they die. When the women are killed, they're raped, mutilated, raped after being mutilated, mutilated and raped some more, then they die. I'll say it again, plot elements such as these are best used in moderation, and with good reason. For one, they wear out with use and lose whatever shock and horror value they possess. For another, if you repeatedly fill your books with this kind of misogyny and torture porn (hey, I'm just calling it like I see it), it's in disgusting taste and really makes your audience start to wonder about you...I'm just this point, though, it hardly registers as it should with me. I'm not so much outraged on behalf of the characters as I am annoyed that it's popped up AGAIN. It's like mildew, really.

And I just realized that I said I viewed the whole thing as an annoyance as opposed to the horror that it is. Now I really despise Terry Goodkind as a person. I hope he's gotten himself a better editor since this was published, as he still tends to ramble off on tangents that have little to nothing to do with whatever happens to be going on in the story and he manages his characters better this time around, but the best ones get even less screen time than ever. That's the REAL annoyance.

Either I'm a prophet, or this series has just gotten that predictable.
All right, now I'll admit that there were a few things that took me by surprise, but they were few and far between. I was surprised, for instance, that the big conflict was something as mundane as a plague instead of yet another bad guy intent on conquering the free world (but maybe that's because Richard hasn't offed Emperor Jagang yet). But from that point on, I could just about see everything coming, from who was going to get the plague to what was really going on with Shota to the identity of the Jack the Ripper-esque serial killer that sliced up half the prostitutes in Aydindril (did I spell it right this time?), you get the picture. Where are the surprises lurking in this mess of almost-bombshells? I can't see them! I can't see them!

I no longer care that much for Richard.
I liked him better when he was Richard Cypher the Seeker, the stereotypical young hero that still had a lot to learn and had something endearing about him. Now who is he? He's Richard Rahl, lord and master of the D'Haran empire! What he says, goes! He doesn't know everything there is to know about everything, but he's the final word on everything anyway! Obey or die! *raspberry* Really, he's not terribly likeable anymore. Kahlan hasn't slipped that bad, but she's getting less and less interesting. The best characters are the ones who don't get enough focus, such as Zedd, Ann, Verna, and the Mord-Sith. Granted, Cara, Berdine and Raina had a much bigger part to play here, but I fail to see why Goodkind even bothered including Zedd, Ann and Verna this time around, they did so little. Now, don't get me wrong, the little they did was important, and I wouldn't have missed Zedd and Ann acting like lunatics to avoid being sacrificed for the world, but so much more could have been done with them! Yet they go to waste! Travesty!

My closing statement after venting a lot of spleen...if there was so much for me to complain about while reading this book, why, then, will I bother with the series any longer? Because the good stuff was just that good, gosh darn it! When it's bad, it's bloody awful, but when it's good, it's pretty freaking great! For the sake of the great stuff, I'm willing to endure the other unpalatable stuff! Curse you, Terry Goodkind!

Your humble book nerd,


  1. I'll certainly avoid these series, like the plague!

  2. Hence the dilemma I faced with the series. It may have contributed to my cynicism about humanity considerably (if he's imagining these things, someone else has done them). It does get boringly predictable. The awkwardly inserted essays on morals and philosophy stay long-winded and superfluous to the story. On the other hand, there is a larger tale unfolding, and through every horrible page there is always that sneaking suspicion I may strike gold. I ultimately dropped the series a few books later and looked elsewhere for epic fantasy fixes.

    1. I hear you on the cynicism! It's been said to me on countless occasions that if someone has written it, then it's happened somewhere, which almost makes me want to stay at home and board up the doors and windows. The essays and sermons seem to be taking up even more time as the series goes along, too, or am I imagining things?

    2. I seem to recall them getting longer and going down more rabbit holes with each book, as well as some of the premises and conclusions becoming increasingly dubious and even irrelevant to the story or life itself. Honestly, though, I think at some point I started skimming or skipping those soliloquies, in part because they seemed to start running together in my mind.


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