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Out of a couple of dozens books Terry Goodkind manufactured in the Sword of Truth series, I am currently on the eighth one. You see, I finally decided to fill the gap in my education and cover that New York Times bestseller. If you want the summary, it’s the first words of the Wizard’s First Rule: “People Are Stupid.” You will find there personages, you can feel for, but you won’t find any, you would like and who are not stupid. And I feel you have to comply with the rule to read it as far as I did.
Anyway, let me start with the praise. The world, which positive personages are fighting for, is a kind of a Western democracy. At least, in the first two books. And Terry knows Western democracies well. He also does not hold back. For the first two books you are almost feeling on the side of the tyrannical antagonists who want to stop all that disgusting democratic… stuff. Almost. Terry has good ways to convince you against switching your loyalties. But let’s speak later about it,
How Terry keeps the tension? Easy. If a bad guy wants to do something bad, even if he is a complete oaf and the idea is stupid beyond reason, he or she will succeed. If a “good” guy or gal tries something, he or she, most certainly, will fail. And not just because he or she is stupid, which he certainly is, but also for the continuous streak of the bad luck called Terry Goodkind. That’s, unless in the book’s climax scene, of course.
How Terry keeps you from switching the sides? By making every bad guy (or gal) a maniacal sex pervert and an unreasonable bloody murderer beyond your imagination in one bottle. Sex of the bad guys inevitably ends with the guts of a poor girl used as a decoration of the room, where it all happens, not to mention the content of those entrails, which clearly don’t let the author sleep well from the Book One. I’d restrain myself from more gory details and language used by the author.
How Terry pretends he is smart? You will dive into the darkest corners of the Oxford and Webster dictionaries, even those hold by the Keeper of the Underworld (Terry’s equivalent of the devil) himself and never used in the world of living anymore. You will learn the words, you never knew or needed in your life, and which you will never need again.
In the third and following books, after sequentially defeating a tyrannical murderous sex-perverted magician and the keeper (the devil) himself, the hero faces his REAL enemy: the Communism. Not mere Das Kommunizm, something even more horrifying and disgusting. Which makes sense, since the good guys preach laissez-faire capitalism of Ayn Rand. Unfortunately, Terry’s knowledge of communism comes from the Washington Post comics, and therefore even North Korea (the real one) looks nice compared to his depiction of it. No wonder, his kind of communism (The Order) can be overthrown with such an immaterial thing, the main hero used (I won’t spoil you the surprize, telling what it was).
Now, to the tough parts. How did Terry produced so many books? Ugh… If a person comes to a dinner, you will know the full menu, how it was served, and each byte in sequence taken by the main personage and everyone worth mentioning at the table. You will also know the intricate details of the interior, servants dresses, lighting of the event, and how that particular wine was selected to be served at such an event. When you meet a new person, even if it was just to tell it dies the next minutes, you will have a full report of how this person was dressed, down to the material of buttons on his or her pants. And if anyone observes sunrise or sunset… or, mine… Washington Irving will be happily quiet in his grave by seeing someone exceeding him so much at showing, not telling the reader, tons of excessive irrelevant stuff.
Did I mentioned which parts of Oxford dictionary will be used for that? Brocade! Baldachin! Fascination! Sultry! Nautical! The purplish red autumn leaves of a small nannyberry tree! The squire placing! I am not saying, you don’t know these words, but when did you use them last time in the real life? And names of the places are also made to make your tongue twist: Aydindril! Anderith! Dominie Durtch! The Emperor Jagang! In several audiobooks productions I’ve heard the name Kahlan pronounced as k’elin, k’ilən, h’elən, and of course, in Klingonese, kah’lan!
On a plus side, don’t worry about starting reading it from, say, book 3 or book 7… Terry laboriously sums up the content of all previous books nearly every chapter. You’ll have no problems on getting into the wonderful world of the Sword of Truth… short of being annoyed as hell by those repetitive summaries after all. You hit them again, and again, and again... That’s, apparently, another secret of producing so many books with so little content.
I would end up here, but there is one more thing, which is almost painful. I already wrote about it, the people in the series are stupid. No, you don’t get it yet. They are STUPID. REALLY STUPID. What’s worse, even the positive ones are stubborn, arrogant, stupid donkey orifices, who withheld information, when needed, who pursue their sick and completely wrong visions, who are sure they know the best, and who never hear the voice of reason, unless in a climax scene. You face them, and seeing their world plunging into the embrace of the keeper of the underworld, does not look that bad.
May be, don’t waste your time?
PS Did I mention, the author seems to be sick?