Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Sword of Truth Series

Stardate 12-14-2009

After dedicating 295 hours and 15 minutes of my life to listening to The Sword of Truth series on my iPod, it is finally done.  The Sword of Truth series is one of the more commercially successful Epic Fantasy Book series out right now.

Written by the extremely handsome Terry Goodkind, The Sword of Truth series follows the story of  common wood guides-man, Richard Sypher, as he is pulled out of his non-magical world, and is forced into a world where magic exists.  Richard is soon named the Seeker of Truth and is entrusted with the Sword of Truth, an ever powerful sword which draws its power from its wielders wrath.

This is an 11 book series.  Except for the last three novels in the series, each novel is a stand alone novel and each comes to a conclusion.  Though each novel does stand alone, there are themes and elements that carry over from book to book.  Books 1 and 2 in the series really are awesome and then books 3-8 are just such a huge let down.  Goodkind redeems himself a bit in books 9-11, but its just nowhere compared to where he started.  I listened to 10 of these 11 books on mp3 and though I'm glad I was able to finish the series, I am definitely not recommending the series to my literally thousands of readers and here is why:

1. The characters have no depth and are one dimensional.  They are completely black and white and good or evil. There is no in between.  The views and actions of the good guys are always correct or justified, whereas, the bad guys are always wrong. 

2. Though I have to give him credit for his creativity, I don't believe that Terry Goodkind is a talented author.  Except for the last three books, Goodkind is never able to weave multiple story lines together.  The following is literally the plot outline for the first 8 books in the series: Richard gets separated from the other main characters.  Because of his love of life and living, Richard will do everything humanly possible to make it back to those he loves. After listening to nothing but this for 20-30+ hours, we finally make it to the end of the novel where Richard slays the bad guy and is reunited with those he loves.  What killed me in every novel was how incredibly long it took to get to the end and then once they do get to the end, the problem is resolved literally in seconds.  The ending of every novel is more anticlimactic than anything I have experienced in my life.

3. Goodkind floods books 3-11 with Ayn Randian philosophies/opinions about life and individualism.  I've heard Uncle Chris say, "Ayn Rand is a bitch," and now I understand why he feels the way he does. 

4. In every novel, Goodkind helps the story move along by reviewing events that took place in the previous novels.  A little back-story and a reminder of key details is helpful now and again, but what Goodkind does is overkill.  For example, the customer reviews of book 7 in the series are so terrible that I decided to skip it completely.  I was hesitant to do this at first because I was worried that I would be lost when I started book 8, but because of the amount of reviewing that Goodkind did in book 8, I was able to listen to book 8 without any problems or confusion.

What I did like about the book:
1. I have to give Terry Goodkind credit for the other worldly monsters that he creates.  They are imaginative and creative and always extremely violent. 

2. The overall level of violence and gore in the books is top notch.  I most definitely grew to love the phrase, "..his warm viscera bathed the ground," which can be found in just about all the books.  Perhaps one of the better endings was in book three when Richard is found without his sword, and has to improvise.  In a flash, he uses his speed and strength to jab his hand into the bad guys stomach, rip threw skin and organs, grab on to the base of the bad guys spine, and in Mortal Combat fashion, rip his spine out of his stomach.

3.  Sitting down at the Dogfather for lunch and discussing the series with Papa Suite, who recommended this book series to me.  Even though it didn't turn out to be my favorite series, it was still fun to listen to and discuss the story with the man who has read more Epic Fantasy and Science Fiction than anyone else that I know.   


Anna said...

I admire your dedication.

4655 said...

I disagree and do not admire your dedication. You should have listened to your iPod on double speed and re-dedicated 150 hours to a good cause. Like movie watching or swimming.

I would also like to add a fourth positive for the book series.

4) Romance. Of any Genre I've read, including actual romance novels, Science Fiction and Fantasy novels are leaps and bounds better in their description of lips touching and hearts desires. I don't know what it is, but they are the best and The Sword of Truth Series does not let you down.

Spencer Davis said...

Genre writers are able to come up with the the best romantic descriptions because they spend their entire adolescence imagining what romance is like, but never actually experiencing it.

And you are right. The romance in Sword of Truth is top notch, though it does go down hill as Kahlan becomes more and more annoying throughout the series.

Allison said...

Hearing how many hours you have put into this makes me wanna give you a lot more anti-climatic experiences.

4655 said...

So allison isn't going to read you books anymore?

mel or kel said...

You should be watching the show (Legend of the Seeker) Richard is hot!! and there are plenty of boobs to go around. I imagine it is far more entertaining than the books

Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................