I should have known better than to buy a book based on the eye-candy in a TV show. So I’m going to cop to that straight-up: I did this to myself.
This is a long, long, long fantasy novel. About 3/4 of the way through I started to get the literary equivalent of Stockholm syndrome, but I fortunately shook that off before parting company with money for the first of nine sequels.
This is one of the most convoluted, contrived, hackneyed and lacklustre fantasy novels I’ve ever read, populated by banal stereotypes who all score highly on the “Mary Sue” scale. There is not a single original thought, situation or story element, and as a consequence I felt not one solitary moment of empathy, concern or surprise. Go tell your friends: this is the pinnacle of high fantasy writing in the modern age.
Very little in the novel stands up to close inspection. Almost every plot and story element contradicts some other element, and absolutely everything is over-thought and over-wrought: the simplest answer is just never sufficient for Mr Goodkind.
That this novel even got published is astonishing. The editing staff must really never have heard of another fantasy writer – they must have believed they were on to the Hot Newness that would blow peoples’ mind with its zany disregard for the real world. To be fair, it is substantially better than early Terry Brooks, or my other recent brush with a first-time author The Hickory Staff. I suppose that’s probably why this book was published – you’ve got to start somewhere.
I think the worst thing about this novel is that given a free reign to create any kind of wondrous and bizarre world, the freedom to re-write the very rules of the universe, that this derivative work is the best he could manage.
Sadly, and perhaps for the only time in my life, I’m going back to the TV show. At least it’s easy on the eyes.