I think this series gave me Stockholm Syndrome. Because I know all the flaws, I see all the problems, I know all the ways it's bad, so bad, but as sooI think this series gave me Stockholm Syndrome. Because I know all the flaws, I see all the problems, I know all the ways it's bad, so bad, but as soon as I finished one book I ordered the next, and read fanatically through to the end.
(Note: I know this is the not the end, or doesn't have to be, and there are four more books after this, but this is the intended, original ending. It's also the happy ending, and after all the suffering I've been through, I'm stopping at the happy ending, dammit.)
I literally have almost no idea happened at the denouement of this book. Something about all the rules were wrong, and everything we'd been going by for the page 10 books and who knows how many thousands of pages was incorrect, but Richard figured it out, and poof, literally poof!, all was well. I'm trying not to dwell too much on how everything we knew was wrong, because if I think about all those wasted hours, I might lose my mind.
Instead, I'm focusing how everything was tied up neatly--yes, too neatly and perfectly, lala I can't hear you--in the biggest and pretty bow ever. The bad guys got theirs, the good guys are happy, for some reason (view spoiler)[Rachel has royal blood even though this was never mentioned ever before and she's going to rule Tamarang someday what? (hide spoiler)], and a Mord-Sith is wearing a ribbon in her hair. Sometimes, you just take the wins and roll on. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
There's an "I'm the goddam Batman" meme that I deploy when I feel like an author has read so much of hI just...I just don't even know anymore, y'all.
There's an "I'm the goddam Batman" meme that I deploy when I feel like an author has read so much of his own press that he stops listening to what anyone, including his editors and his publishers, tell him. Stephen King became Stephen Goddam King after his car accident (did you know he was in a car accident? Because if you've read any single one his books after said accident, you know about it in excruciating detail). Somewhere in here, maybe it was The Pillars of Creation, maybe it was Naked Empire, Terry Goodkind started becoming Terry Goddam Goodkind. What was good, even excellent in his earlier works starting getting overshadowed by the tediousness that a good editors would have forced him to trim away. The endless repetition, the scenes that take 5 pages when they should take 2 paragraphs, the proselytizing at the expense of the plot...and did Richard used to be a woods guide? DID HE USED TO BE A WOODS GUIDE, REALLY, DID HE??
I still devour these books like they're the last thing I'll ever read. I struggle through the parts where Richard goes from knowing nothing about his own gift (a problem I thought we had previously solved?) to schooling the masters like he's got his PHD in theoretic magic, to Goodkind's endless need to almost-rape Kahlan. Really, his need for sexual violence should probably be discussed with a psychologist. But while I see the flaws, I acknowledge the flaws, sometimes the flaws drive me nuts, I can't stop reading the books. As soon as I finish one, I order or buy the next. I rush through hundreds of pages in a matter of days, stealing a few minutes every chance I get. So I guess in some way, the magic is still there, isn't it?...more
Well, at least it's a switch. Instead of Richard explaining how he's right to everyone else, at least 80% of this book was everyone else telling RichaWell, at least it's a switch. Instead of Richard explaining how he's right to everyone else, at least 80% of this book was everyone else telling Richard that he's wrong. Yay for variety...? But now, with Kahlan missing, Richard & Co. abandoned action and, largely, plot to rehash the events of the previous 8 books and argue about how Richard remembers history versus how everyone else remembers it. I ended up being able to skim large sections because I didn't need the rehash. That made it seem like there were a lot of filler pages. Maybe it was added to help late comers to the series, but seriously, who joins a work already in progress at book nine? In my opinion, if that's where you come in, you deserve to be confused.
Although, apparently Chainfire starts a mini-trilogy within the Sword of Truth series, so that could be the reason for the book-long recap. It's just...dear God.
Also, it seemed to me like Richard ignored a lot obvious solutions to his problems. For example, (view spoiler)[he never checked with Jennsen, which seemed like the obvious first choice, (hide spoiler)] and he never attempted (view spoiler)[using the sliph (hide spoiler)] until the very end. I thought that, of all the people to seek help from, (view spoiler)[Shota (hide spoiler)] would have been near to dead last on my list, although I guess that worked out in the end--I just couldn't follow his line of reasoning.
The one major stand out was that I was so happy to see Berndine again, even if it was just for one scene. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
After the long, hard slog that was The Pillars of Creation, I started enjoying the series again with this one. I am torn because what Go(Really a 3.5)
After the long, hard slog that was The Pillars of Creation, I started enjoying the series again with this one. I am torn because what Goodkind does well, he does very, very well--romance, action, and (usually) plot. But then he falls into the proselytizing hole, and we endure pages upon pages of Richard explaining the right to life and freedom (over...and over...and over again), just as he did in Faith of the Fallen, but to a different false ideology this time. First it was collectivism, now it's pacifism, but no matter where in the Old or New World you go, Richard Rahl will bring the truth to the false believers. I get that that's part of being the Seeker, but the endless blah-blah-blah just...drags. Apparently when Goodkind gets on his soapbox, he forgets to show and not tell, and it's consistently where his books fail the hardest.
On the other hand, when the action wasn't overshadowed by talking heads, the book moved along at a brisk pace, and there were times when I was literally on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out what was coming next. At one point, when I thought there was no way out and there was a sudden revelation, I literally yelled (view spoiler)["Nathan!" so loud that my husband, also named Nathan, came running to see what was wrong. (hide spoiler)]
On the other hand, after all the tension and panic, and wondering how Richard was going to survive both poison and his gift going awry, I feel somewhat let down that the solution was (view spoiler)[believing in himself, and then his gift could create its own poison antidote. (hide spoiler)] It felt like while I was going "I have no idea how they're getting out this," Goodkind was wondering the same thing, and so when he had painted Richard into a corner, he just decided to walk back over the paint and say "War wizard, deal with it." I feel like he's better than that, and there could have been a better, more creative solution.
So, in the final analysis, better than the last two books? You bet. As good as the first books? Not really. But definitely still a devotee of the series and going to keep reading. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I'm a series completionist, so I would have read this even if I'd seen the dark warnings in the other reviews firstWell, that was....rather pointless.
I'm a series completionist, so I would have read this even if I'd seen the dark warnings in the other reviews first, that the blurb on the back of the jacket is a lie and that I would be seeing nothing of my favorite characters until the last bit of a 700+ page book. I am hoping that what seems like a bunch of wasted pages now will mean something in future installments, and I will see enough of Jennsen to justify her having an entire book (an....entire...book....) to herself.
I think there were some valuable points to what otherwise feels like a wasted volume, like establishing how someone who is naive and/or sheltered, like Jennsen, who comes across the Order and nothing else, could easily fall for their propaganda. Also, it gives us a point of view on Richard as the Lord Rahl that we haven't seen, since we've largely followed Richard's point of view for 6 books and however many thousands of pages. The few times we have been given a different point of view on the Lord Rahl, it's been from a character who was obviously meant to be evil or distrusted, so it had no impact. Oba's turns as a POV character were somewhat pointless, because obviously we weren't getting anything form him--Jennsen was at least somewhat more sympathetic. And while there were times I felt that she was not that bright for not catching on to what was so obviously happening, I had to remind myself that she didn't have the benefit of the knowledge the rest of us have had for the last 6 books. Removing that context makes her decisions a little less idiotic, at least sometimes.
And I have never felt so bad for a goat.
But, as is becoming the norm, there was a lot of talking and philosophy, some of it interspersed at some rather strange points--like, I don't think we're all going to stop and talk about the nature of evil and the purpose of the soul and individuality v. collectivism in the middle of a life or death battle. It just hit me as very strange and clunky. We all know, at this point, what all the different players stand for, and the endless rehashing is just dragging on and getting old. ...more
There is no reason for it to take me so long to read a book that only had 225 pages of actual text, but it was just...so....bad.
I don't know why thatThere is no reason for it to take me so long to read a book that only had 225 pages of actual text, but it was just...so....bad.
I don't know why that was. Grant is know as a good writer and an excellent historian, and he certainly had an interesting subject, but I guess everyone's going to be off their game at some time or another. I struggled to even finish it. For the first hundred pages, every ten pages I kept thinking I was going to give up and put it down, because the writing was choppy and difficult, but I told myself I wasn't going to be defeated by a measly 200 page book. As I went along I got more used to the writing style and more interested in the information, so I made it through, but it was not a pleasant experience. Definitely not going to repeat....more
I devoured this over the holiday weekend; I kept picking it up just to read "a chapter or two," and then getting lost for fifty or a hundred pages. II devoured this over the holiday weekend; I kept picking it up just to read "a chapter or two," and then getting lost for fifty or a hundred pages. I simply couldn't put it down, and toted it every where I went to snatch a few more paragraphs in wherever I could. It was good to see some old faces again and to tie up some loose ends that I'd thought had just been left lying; I should have known better with Goodkind. Even the tiniest detail always ends up mattering somewhere in the end, even if it's not for another 2,000 pages.
I am getting a little tired of his habit of introducing an entire new host of characters in each book, as if they're going to be permanent, and then wiping out all or almost all of those characters by the end. I don't think that the detailed time I spent in Anderith really added anything to the story or gave me any special insight that I couldn't have gotten with a couple of condensed chapters, rather than spending half the book getting invested in a land that I don't anticipate ever seeing again--at least, not in that form. Maybe I'm wrong and all of that will matter later, other than to justify Richard's decisions and to provide a prolonged trip to the department of backstory for a couple of minor characters, but mostly it felt like pages padding. And it's not like the Sword of Truth books aren't long enough on their own without help.
Still, this was a good, solid installment, and one of the ones I've enjoyed, minor annoyances aside. Can't wait to pick up the next one. ...more
Oh...my....God....somebody get me a paper bag that I can breathe into, and give me a minute.
I am a hard core horror fan, always on the hunt for the bOh...my....God....somebody get me a paper bag that I can breathe into, and give me a minute.
I am a hard core horror fan, always on the hunt for the book or movie that's going to genuinely freak me out, but they are few and far between. Mostly because the vast majority just recycle the same tropes over and over, or characters do things for no discernible reason. While some of the characters here were a little flat, and sometimes still did stupid things, they at least acknowledged when they were doing something stupid and knew why they were doing it.
This is an old-fashioned, gothic horror, taking the haunted house to a new level. Instead of the typical restless spirit that just needs to be moved on or laid to rest, here they are dealing with something on a cataclysmic level. Believers, skeptics and those in between will all be brought to their knees by the "truth" of Gethsemane Hall. A more detailed description of the plot is almost impossible without spoilers, and I don't agree with the ultimate direction the book took--I'm not sure I even fully grasped the ending. But I can say this: take your faith in one end and your paper bag in the other, and dive in, if you're ready to be rocked to your foundations. ...more
Do not take how long it took me to read this book as indication of its quality. It is a massive tome, but I am also working my way through The Sword oDo not take how long it took me to read this book as indication of its quality. It is a massive tome, but I am also working my way through The Sword of Truth series at the same time, so every two hundred pages or so I would break to read one of Terry Goodkind's also 600-700 page novels. It was the only way I could keep my book count up for this year's reading challenge.
But don't take my pauses as anything other than my competitive side not wanting to get behind on the challenge; I didn't need to get away from this for any other reason. Masterfully written, The Romanovs flies by at a pace that work like this simply should not be able to accomplish. I felt like I was there, along side each tsar and tsarina, grand duke and duchess, peasant that rose the ranks and lord that fell to ruin. Montefiore takes great care to be as evenhanded as the persons in question will allow him to be, showing the good with the bad (assuming the people had both qualities to write about!). He shows that it was possible to be a good ruler without being a good person, or vice verse, and does so without casting judgment. He reports history through as many first hand sources as possible, so that we can review the events and draw as many of our own conclusions about the key players as possible, without pushing us to take any particular view.
If more history books were written this way, maybe we wouldn't have such a ruinously ignorant population, forever "doomed to repeat" the past, as Santayana so presciently warned. Too many modern students probably would confuse him with the other great sage Santana and inquire about his guitar riffs.
I look forward to collecting and reading all of the author's other works as soon as possible--although they'll have to be spread out, or they'll just ruin my challenge numbers. ...more
King Edward VIII/the Duke of Windsor (the Abdicating King), his great "love affair" with Wallis Simpson, and Prince Albert/George VI's reluctant ascenKing Edward VIII/the Duke of Windsor (the Abdicating King), his great "love affair" with Wallis Simpson, and Prince Albert/George VI's reluctant ascent to the throne were first introduced to the general public in The King's Speech. The film took some historical liberties, although the soul of the first part of the story was intact. If, of course, you leave out the fact that there were two more brothers witnessing this unprecedented break in the monarchy--the Princes Henry and George, who seemed no more suited for their sudden rise in status than Prince Albert had been.
(I will pause here to note that, for all its historical side-steps and personages left on the cutting room floor, The King's Speech is a fantastic movie and one of my favorites. And, aside from the fact that Logue maintains that he never called the Prince/Duke of York/King "Bertie," it captures the relationship and that aspect of the King's life very well. Nothing's perfect.)
Just as King George VI tends to be overshadowed in studies of the war by his Prime Minsters, first Chamberlain and then Churchill, so do both the scandal of the Duke of Windsor and King George's later ascent to greatness overreach both the younger brothers. Prince Henry became the Duke of Gloucester and Prince George the Duke of Kent more out of the King's hope that it would do them good than the believe they merited the titles--and lo', they rose to the occasion! The book is a fascinating character study of three of the four royal brothers, and their equally (or even more) stalwart wives, taking on the scourge of war and doing all that could have been asked of them and more. The strength of character of 3/4 of the royal family is contrasted with the worthless, increasingly traitorous Duke of Windsor, bouncing about Europe with his social-climbing wife Wallis, consorting with the enemy and constantly pestering the king for a title for Wallis to make her the equal of the other brother's wives. An HRH (Her Royal Highness) for Wallis, or bust!
It was bust, as it turned out.
This is a side of the war that is rarely talked about, other than a glossing over (The king stammered! Wallis was a divorced American! Scandal! On to D-day.), but in reading it, I was throughly engrossed with a human story of strength and sacrifice that I had never really dug into. I'm thoroughly impressed with the writer, who kept a massive cast of characters straight to the reader with ease, and who treated all the subjects and their various flaws fairly. Well researched, beautifully written, this deserves a place of honor both on the serious historian and the pleasure reader's book shelf. ...more