After a week of solid reading, I finally finished the first massive tome of the Sword of Truth series. It has been years since I’ve picked up a fantasy book that was this heavy both literally and conceptually. This was my introduction to Terry Goodkind’s writing style.
Goodkind does not hold back, his writing is gritty and intense. Every dozen pages or so finds the characters fighting for their lives against a new threat; the reader hardly gets a chance to catch their breath. This emotional rollercoaster never slows down.
When not locked in epic life struggles, a good part of the writing ensures that the reader understands why all the locations are relevant to the story and its characters. While this makes a rich and complex setting, it also makes the book that much longer.
Goodkind has populated his world with a small army of characters. Each have very specific sets of morals and personality traits. The reader gets to explore the motivations of each character in-depth; Goodkind provides mountains of information about each throughout.
Overall this book is a solid piece of fantasy. The story has been well crafted and the characters well-rounded. My most pointed critique is the length, it could have been trimmed down by half and still been a fantastic story. Being the first book in a series, there is the necessary explanation of how all the different elements in the world work. But Goodkind has a tendency to belabor the point, often repeating the same idea dozens of ways. If he could streamline those ideas and theme elements the writing would be that much cleaner.