THE SWORD OF TRUTH (books 1-10) by Terry Goodkind
Terry Goodkind’s first book, Wizard’s First Rule, was entertaining many years ago when I was a relatively new adult epic fantasy reader. Except for the actual First Rule (“People are Stupid”), which was… stupid. The story had some fascinating characters (mostly the secondary ones — I could never muster up much care for Kahlan) and Richard started out as a pretty good hero. The next couple of books of The Sword of Truth were also fun for someone who is not particularly demanding (which I wasn’t at the time).
Then, Terry Goodkind totally lost it when Richard started preaching his Ayn Rand-ish humanistic philosophy — constant rants about the nobility of the human spirit. It’s not that I didn’t agree with Richard, but that I didn’t need to be continually hit over the head with it to understand his point. I kept going because I was invested, but each time I bought one of his $25 hardback books, I found myself rolling my eyes at every passive sentence and starting to fall asleep during the sermons (when did Richard hire a speech writer?).
At the same time, the plot really slowed down, to give Richard time for more speeches I suppose. Just look at the book covers for Chainfire, Phantom, and Confessor — you can tell we’re not going anywhere. (I hope they got a 3-for-1 deal on that cover art.) I kept hoping things would get better, but they did not. They got worse. Goodkind is the preachiest fantasy writer I’ve ever read.
I must give Terry Goodkind some credit, though. It was he who taught me that life’s too short to read bad books. Thanks to Mr. Goodkind, I can now put down a book, even near the end of a series, and not feel guilt or even too much loss. It was a major breakthrough for me and I’m now a different, more demanding reader. Thank you, Terry Goodkind!
According to Goodkind, those of us who have bailed out are ignorant and uneducated. Wow. That is something I have never been called before. I should have realized right from the start (“Wizard’s First Rule: People are stupid”) what kind of fellow Terry Goodkind is. Here is a quote from a chat session conducted with Goodkind (this used to be on his website, but has now been removed. It is well-documented on the internet, however.):
Why would they continue to read books they claim are bad? Because they hate that my novels exists. Values arouse hatred in these people. Their goal is not to enjoy life, but to destroy that which is good — much like a school child who does not wish to study for a test and instead beats up a classmate who does well. These people hate what is good because it is good. Their lives are limited to loathing and indifference. It isn’t that they want to read a good book, what they want is to make sure that you do not. Ignore them.
I say Terry Goodkind is the one acting like a school child having a tantrum. I regret that he got so much of my money. I hope you won’t give him any of yours.
If you really want to try a Goodkind book, I would recommend that you go to the library and check out the first few, and then trust me that you don’t need to read any further. I will not read the last book. I’m not even tempted. What an ass.