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.
Jodi, glad you’re into this series now.
Personally, I like long books, and even more like long books in a long series. I feel it is a wonderful way to visit the writer’s mind, to really get into the charcters, and particularly to “live” the story.
I hope you enjoy the rest of the series, although there are a couple of really “draggy” places coming up way down the line. Sigh.
When I first started I was intimidated by the length – I worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish before having to return it! Thankfully it was a compelling enough read that I kept diving in for more. I’ve got #2 here and ready to go!
I’ll see. I haven’t made my mind up about this series just yet. It’s taken me over a decade to get around to reading The Dark Tower. I’m running out of years 🙂
Between the two I’m enjoying Sword of Truth more than Dark Tower- more my thing.
I’ve read all the goodkind novels, and I’m glad you ploughed through the whole thing without giving up!
The series gets better and better until ‘Pillars of Creation’ – after that novel, it’s just terrible, political, uninteresting. I’ve never known a fantasy series to begin so promisingly, and end so poorly.
Bummer to hear that the ending, but I’ve been warned about that before – most likely by you. It encouraging that thing will continue to get better for a while, for a first book in a series I was hoping it to be better.
I am just short of finishing Stephen King’s “Under the Dome,” another of his long novels – but WOW has it been worth the read! Haven’t been this sucked into one of his (although I have liked them all) since “The Stand.” Highly recommended!
I need to start reading his other works after I finish the Dark Tower series. I read Carrie years ago and really liked how he told the story.
Jo ~ This is an awesome, balanced review.
One that allows potential readers to evaluate for themselves whether to dive into this series, or reach for something else on their shelves.
Thanks! I wasn’t too thrilled with my review, it was too cut and dry for my tastes but I didn’t have time or energy to spend trying to jazz it up a bit.
I haven’t been a fan of fantasy fiction, but your reviews are whetting my appetite.