Sword of Shanara

     Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind
1   Wizard's First Rule 
2   Stone of Tears 
3   Blood of the Fold 
4   Temple of the Winds 
5   Soul of the Fire 
6   Faith of the Fallen 
7   Pillars of Creation 
8   Naked Empire
9   Chainfire
10   Phantom
11   Confessor
1   Debt of Bones (prequel)
 
     

Amazon Spotlight Review:  

(Reviewer: lyle_j from Celina, TX United States )

Loved it..... Very refreshing!

This is the most original and refreshing fantasy work I have picked up in a long time - since I discovered Thomas Covenant in the 1980's, in fact. At its most basic, this is your fairly standard "small company goes on a dangerous quest to stop the bad guy and save the world" story that is fairly common in the Fantasy genre. But, Terry Goodkind stands out in two major respects: (1) his excellent characterizations, and (2) his unique take on the nature of magic.

Goodkind has drawn a number of rich, powerful characters: Richard Cypher, the book's hero, who suddenly finds himself drawn into the battle to stop the evil Darken Rahl and his minions from taking over the world; Kahlan, a young woman at the heart of the struggle, but is a LOT more than she seems at first; and Richard's old friend Zedd, a likable old man who is also more than he seems, though his role in the story is fairly obvious from the start.

The antagonists are also well drawn out. The main villan, Darken Rahl, is a unique take on fantasy villans. Although none of the story is told directly from his point of view, he spends enough time talking about his thoughts and feelings to make him very interesting. Most fantasy villans (even a master like Tolkein is guilty of this) are simply mysterious presences, with no insight into their characters. Goodkind breaks with this tradition, and his work is richer for it. Another very interesting antagonist is the Mord Sith Denna, though she does not show up until fairly late in the book. Denna at first seems to be nothing more than a sadistic witch who lives for causing pain, but again, Goodkind does such a great job of drawing her that I almost cried along with Richard when Denna met her fate.

There are many other characters, both good and evil, that populate this 820 page novel. While there are a few "cutout" types, most notably Demmin Nass and Princess Violet, most of the characters are effective and believeable.

Now for the warning: this book is NOT for children. There is one chapter where Rahl brainwashes and uses an innocent child that will make your blood run cold, and yet have you turning pages one after another, eager for the resolution. The scenes between Prnicess Violet and her "playmate", Rachel, are also very disturbing for a child to read, but they will make you appreciate it more when Violet meets up with Richard. There is also a long bit late in the novel that is concerned chiefly with graphic descriptions of torture and mental cruelty. Finally, the book is liberally sprinkled with sexual and romantic tension between Richard and Kahlan. This tension is obvious from almost the moment they meet.

I thought that, overall, this is a GREAT novel, and I am eager to read the next one in the series. Although this novel leaves quite a few plot threads hanging out there for the next book to pick up, this book has a definite resolution and can be read as a stand-alone work. The first part of the book is very fast-paced, then the book slows down quite a bit through the mid-section, especially the part with the Mud People. However, the last three hundred pages or so of the book will go by almost in a blur. The climax and final confrontation with Rahl will keep you guessing until the very end. We know that the heroes will outfox Rahl, but it's unclear until almost the past page of the book as to exactly how they are going to do it.

I've tried to reveal as little of the plot of this book as I can. I could say a lot more about the complex characters of Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd, but you'll appreciate them a lot more if you pick up a copy and read it for yourself. Happy reading!

Lee's Review: 

This is one of my favorite series. Goodkind is able to write about his characters in a way that invokes a number of emotional responses from you. He creates characters that you really care about and then an enemy will come along and capture and torture them leaving you feeling hopelessly trapped like that character. He takes the time to really develop the enemy characters in his books and you come away really hating some of them and finding that others arenít so bad after all. There are also a couple of characters that provide a nice bit of humor to the series. This is one of the most violent series I have ever read in fact the scenes of sex, violence, and torture in his books are quite descriptive so people that get offended by that sort of thing should be aware. I think itís the characters that make this series, you either really like a character or hate them and canít wait to see what happens when those characters collide in the books. I really enjoyed this series.

Veronica's Review: 

I liked how the author allowed the dominant female character to posses an inner strength, sense of independence, and a responsibility of keeping all safe in the kingdom.  She was looked upon with reverence.  For all her strengths, she still wept, empathized and understood vengeance.  She possesses strong magic.  Her ability goes beyond hypnotic suggestion.  One touch from her commands unconditional obedience to her forever.  The authorís writing style makes you become attached to the characters.  I think itís clear which character Iíve become attached to.

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