Stephen's Reviews > Naked Empire

Naked Empire by Terry Goodkind
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's review
Sep 02, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: audiobook, fantasy, 2000-2005, shame-on-you, ebooks
Read from August 29 to September 02, 2011

Anatomy of a Break-up:

Going through a break-up or a divorce is never easy. The best of them are tinged with sadness and regret while the worst feel like a grenade going off in your chest. Worse still is the ending of a relationship that has lasted for many years and survived through adversity.

Well after almost 15 years, my relationship with the Sword of Truth series is over.

Given that these situations are already emotionally charged, I know the “right” thing to do is just to walk away and say nothing. If I were a bigger man, I could do that. If the Sword of Truth was less of a mind-numbingly stupid, mega-pretentious BITCH, I could do that. I’m not and it’s not. My anger…my soul-crushing humiliation at sticking this long with such a vacuous, repetitive chunk of IQ-draining smegma needs to vent, and so that’s what I’m gonna do.

I’ve done enough for this series…this is for me.

I first met SoT in 1996, two years after it had burst onto the scene and taken the Fantasy world by storm. I should have known by the author photo…I fucking should have known by how the author was standing with arms folded trying to come across all menacing when he really looked like Paul Mitchell with a ponyFAIl. Hey, I told you I was bitter.

Unfortunately, I was doing very little pleasure reading at the time and was inexperienced when it came to fantasy and got sucked in. Wizard’s First Rule swept me off my feet and I was immediately smitten. It was this series that brought me back to casual reading in general and fantasy reading in particular. I guess I at least should be grateful to the series for that. Maybe someday when I can look myself in the eye again…but right now the series can just fuck off and die.

Time went on and problems popped up in the series. The shitty prose, the repetitiveness, the rambling, simple-minded monologues paraphrasing Ayn Rand. However, loyalty is something that’s always been important to me so I discounted these things and continued to read through rose-colored blinders glasses. I ignored the “grade school” melodramatic prose and the ear-grating phrases like “bags.” I ignored the poorly executed plot in Temple of the Winds and the stupiFUCKINGidiotic Chimes in book 5. I ignored the condescending windbaggery that increasingly showed up in the stories.

My delusional loyalty reached its zenith with book 6, Faith of the Fallen. Goodkindian douchetard that I was, I defended the author’s clunky, over-wrought ramble-preaching as something admirable. ADMIRABLE!! I don’t think I could pour enough whiskey and prozac down my gullet to fill the gaping hole this has left inside me. Believe me, I’m gonna try.

Pillars of Creation blew like a hurricane and that was when the scales began to fall from my eyes. The stench of this experience led to a separation between me and the series. However, since Pillars didn’t really focus on the main characters of Richard and Kahlan, I decided to give it one more try. We’d been together a long time and I thought it was the right thing to do.

MISTAAAAAAAAKE!

Well, my optimism ended up getting me coldcocked, pissed on and left shattered on the ground. As bad as Pillars was, Naked Empire is even worse. This book was a cheese pizza loaded with tripe sporting ball-aching suckness of biblical proportions. As I read/listened to this, I began to doubt my very existence.

Well, I’d had enough. It was time to leave…for good this time.

Since finishing this over the weekend, I’ve taken a few days to get my thoughts together and think I can finally describe the series without having it go all angry. The Sword of Truth has some very interesting magical elements and world-building (see below). It also has a story arc that is, or more accurately, COULD BE very interesting. It also has some characters who “on paper” are somewhat compelling.

The problem is that all of the above “potential” is absolutely butchered through:

**shitty, long-winded, repetitive writing;
**clunky, simplistic wince-inducing prose with zero flow to it;
**monotonous, clunky philosophizing that grates the nerves and ruins the narrative;
**serious lack of editing;
**poor development of potentially good characters; and
**painful, “ear-bleeding” dialogue that saps the will the live


It took me a while, but I have seen the light.

Now, hopefully, the hard part is over and I’ve left a bad situation. I don’t plan on thinking about this series anymore. I just want to move on and leave it be. There’s plenty of good fantasy out there and I plan on picking up the pieces and reconnecting.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 66) (66 new)


message 1: by Mark (new)

Mark i am sure there is a therapy that could help. Or maybe an ointment


message 2: by Matt (new)

Matt I feel exactly the same way about this series. I thought it had potential but the negative aspects greatly outweighed the positives. Luckily for me i only had to read about 3/4s of the first novel to realize it was a waste of my time.


message 3: by Lea (new)

Lea Am I a bad person if one of your most scathing reviews is my favourite?


message 4: by Karla (new)

Karla Ditto what Matt said. About halfway through Wizard's First Rule - and having suffered through a 50+ page torture scene with a cattle prod - I wondered what the big whoop was about with this series. From what I've read about the later books (evil chickens and whatnot), I didn't miss much.


message 5: by Lanica (new)

Lanica I was lucky enough to have an intervention early on. I liked the first book, then was disappointed by the second, but almost continued on anyway. A friend of mine said...nope, that's it. You're read the best, now just walk away. After having read this review I am even more thankful that I was not trapped in a bad relationship. I mourn for your loss, Stephen, but hopefully you will save someone else from making the same horrible mistake.


Stephen Mark wrote: "i am sure there is a therapy that could help. Or maybe an ointment"

Anything you can recommend would be appreciated.


Stephen Lea wrote: "Am I a bad person if one of your most scathing reviews is my favourite?"

No, Lea. I'm the bad person, you are just enabling my unhealthy behavior.


Stephen Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) wrote: "Ditto what Matt said. About halfway through Wizard's First Rule - and having suffered through a 50+ page torture scene with a cattle prod - I wondered what the big whoop was about with this series...."

No, you didn't miss much except a lot of painful regret.


Stephen Lanica wrote: "I was lucky enough to have an intervention early on. I liked the first book, then was disappointed by the second, but almost continued on anyway. A friend of mine said...nope, that's it. You're rea..."

Thanks, Lanica. I'm hoping that by talking about my experience, I can at least save someone else.


message 10: by An Odd1 (new)

An Odd1 Do you really listen to so many audio editions, or do you slip and press the lookalike picture. (I have. Likewise I have no patience for ebooks, prefer paper, but system goofs)


Stephen BibbleBabble wrote: "Do you really listen to so many audio editions, or do you slip and press the lookalike picture. (I have. Likewise I have no patience for ebooks, prefer paper, but system goofs)"

No, those are all audio editions. I usually have one print book and one audio book going at all times.


Cassy Oh man, I love this review, Stephen! PonyFAIL - haha!

I am embarrassed to admit that I finished the entire series. The concluding trilogy books were an improvement, but I should probably have stopped after Faith of the Fallen.


message 13: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Awesome review!


message 14: by Trudi (new)

Trudi Love this review Stephen!! Thank god I dodged the Goodkind bullet, but your rant reminds me how I felt about M. Night Shyamalan after The Happening ... in which nothing fucking happened!!!

unless you count Mark Wahlberg running around looking confused and constipated for 90 mins. After getting my hopes up to only have them ruthlessly crushed too many times, I took an oath and I have sworn off Shyamalan for good. It was a toxic relationship to begin with. I deserve better :)


Stephen Trudi wrote: " I deserve better :)."

You sure do, Trudi. Stay strong.


message 16: by Becky (last edited Sep 02, 2011 04:59PM) (new)

Becky Condolences on the recent split. But you're in a better place now. A healthier place, where you can heal. Do you need a hug? O_o

This review was fucking fantastic. I've never read Goodkind, but I own Wizard's First Rule. (I now have the strangest urge to dump it in a dark box and ship it far, far away. Huh. Weird.) Anyway, I didn't know what Goodkind looked like, so when I read about the ponyFAIL, I had to google. And oh my. I LOL'ed. I LOL'ed so hard my boyfriend demanded explanation.

That's good stuff, my friend. Thank you.


Stephen Thanks, Becky. I am glad you enjoyed it. Reactions like yours almost make the pain of having to through this worthwhile.


message 18: by Duffy (new) - rated it 1 star

Duffy Pratt Naked Empire was the breaking point for me as well. On top of all your criticisms, I could no longer endure the stubborn stupidity of the characters. And I never understood why he would take cool characters and relationships and then just throw them away. (e.g. Gratsch) Yet he does this sort of thing time and again, while persisting in clinging to the dullest characters imaginable.


Stephen Duffy wrote: " On top of all your criticisms, I could no longer endure the stubborn stupidity of the characters..."

Good point. It just got to be way too much.


message 20: by Nat (new)

Nat Wow you're a brave person...I only got to the middle of Pillars of Creation before I just went "Yeah can't read this anymore." Love the review by the way. :D


Stephen Natalie wrote: "Wow you're a brave person...I only got to the middle of Pillars of Creation before I just went "Yeah can't read this anymore." Love the review by the way. :D"

Thanks, Natalie. Not sure whether it was bravery on my part or just pig-headed stupidity stubbornness, but at least it's over now.


message 22: by Jamie (new)

Jamie Haha, good review. I really loved Wizard’s First Rule, and that totally drew me in. However, when I got to the book about the Chimes (fourth or fifth book), I just couldn't read it anymore. The first book is gold and then the series totally plummets after that. I have totally sworn off the series, lol.

What did you think of the tv show? I thought it was ok, but could have done with less cheesiness at times. :P


Stephen Jamie, I didn't care for the show. I tried to watch the first few episodes but it just didn't work for me.


message 24: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Great review!


Stephen Amanda wrote: "Great review!"

Thanks, Amanda.


Roshio LMAO excellent! Good for you! I stuck around until the end (even though I had to force myself at Naked Empire) and like an idiot, I bought the last four books in hardback. It actually still hurts when I think of all the money I spent on those books. What's worse is I am currently eyeing The Omen Machine, something is obviously wrong with me.


message 27: by Matthew (new)

Matthew This is a great review. I actually really the Sword of Truth series until the author devolved in Ayn Randian book length screeds rather than just writing a good story.


message 28: by Todd (new)

Todd Newton Well said. You have filled my day with laughter. I've only read Wizard's First Rule, and that was last year, and never planned to continue. The TV show was bad enough.

And yes, the ponytail, the trite description of how he spends his time... the About the Author was immediately hilarious and continues to be the only part of WFR that I recommend people read.


message 29: by Michael (new)

Michael Cummings You're a better man than I - I couldn't finish the Naked Empire. Not having caught up at the time, I defended the series when the show came out as just a cheap rip off, not being true to the material, the books were so much better - then I tried to catch up on the books.

Spot on review!


Stephen Roshio wrote: "LMAO excellent! Good for you! I stuck around until the end (even though I had to force myself at Naked Empire) and like an idiot, I bought the last four books in hardback. It actually still hurts when I think of all the money I spent on those books. What's worse is I am currently eyeing The Omen Machine, something is obviously wrong with me."

Thanks, Roshio. I feel your pain on the Hardback purchases. Been there way too often. We might need to put together a support group for this.


Stephen Matthew wrote: "This is a great review. I actually really the Sword of Truth series until the author devolved in Ayn Randian book length screeds rather than just writing a good story."

Thanks, Matthew.


Stephen Todd wrote: "Well said. You have filled my day with laughter..."

Nice to hear. I'm glad you liked it.

Todd wrote: "...And yes, the ponytail, the trite description of how he spends his time... the About the Author was immediately hilarious and continues to be the only part of WFR that I recommend people read."

That always makes me chuckle.


Stephen Michael wrote: "You're a better man than I - I couldn't finish the Naked Empire. Not having caught up at the time, I defended the series when the show came out as just a cheap rip off, not being true to the material, the books were so much better - then I tried to catch up on the books.

Spot on review!"


Not a better man, Michael...I'm just too dumb to know when to quit. Thanks for the kind words on the review.


message 34: by Terence (new)

Terence I was fortunate - When I found out what the wizard's first rule was in Wizard's First Rule I threw up my hands in disgust, uttered several expletives and never looked back.

Excellent review, as always.


message 35: by Tyson (new) - rated it 1 star

Tyson This is also the book where I left the series. I don't know about you, but I didn't even finish Naked Empire. The series was barely tolerable up until this novel, but it just fell off a cliff.


Stephen Terence wrote: "I was fortunate - When I found out what the wizard's first rule was in Wizard's First Rule I threw up my hands in disgust, uttered several expletives and never looked back."

No need to rub your superior intelligence in my face, Terence. I'm a slow learner.

Terence wrote: "Excellent review, as always."

Thank you.


Stephen Tyson wrote: "This is also the book where I left the series. I don't know about you, but I didn't even finish Naked Empire. The series was barely tolerable up until this novel, but it just fell off a cliff."

I wish I could have put it down but it is just a rule/obsession I have to finish a book if I pick it up. However, I was listening to the audiobook and proceeded to watch football while listening to it...so that helped.


message 38: by Terence (new)

Terence Stephen wrote: "No need to rub your superior intelligence in my face, Terence. I'm a slow learner...."

I make no claims to intelligence. I stuck with the Sword of Shannara long past the expiration date :-)


Stephen That makes me feel a little better...not much, but a little. :)


message 40: by Peter (new) - rated it 1 star

Peter The sad thing, is I LIKE Ayn Rand, and this series bothered the crap out of me. I wish I was as smart as you and gave up. It actually gets worse from here. Stay strong, and don't bother finishing the series. It's not worth the time or the paper it's printed on.


message 41: by Kerrie (new)

Kerrie Your review is an excellent cautionary tale, about just giving up when series begin to blow HARD. I'm sorry that you had to learn the hard way, but we'll learn from your mistakes.

But you're too good for Goodkind's bloated oeurve. It doesn't deserve you! :D


Stephen Peter wrote: "It actually gets worse from here. Stay strong, and don't bother finishing the series. It's not worth the time or the paper it's printed on..."

Worse from here and you made it through? You sir, have an iron constitution. I'm impressed.


Stephen Kerrie wrote: "But you're too good for Goodkind's bloated oeurve. It doesn't deserve you! :D"

Thanks, Kerrie. You give me strength.


message 44: by edifanob (new) - added it

edifanob I own the whole series in German. So far I finished the first book. Then I stopped reading and forgot about it. The books are somewhere hidden in the back row of my shelf. Didn't like the TV series at all. And now I read your excellent - written from the deep of the heart - review. I think there will be a lot more space on my shelf after moving off eleven books.
Your review "robbed" my any enthusiasm to read the ten remaining books. The only thing I regret is the money I spent for the books.
Let me close this comment with the slightly changed title of a song performed by THEM:

It's all over now, Sword of Truth!


Stephen Jamie wrote: "Pure genius."

Thanks, Jamie. I'm glad you liked it.

Jamie wrote: "The scary thing is, your account of your whirlwind affair with Sword of Truth is identical to my own, right up to defending Faith of the Fallen despite ALL evidence to the contrary."

It's nice not to be alone in this. :)


message 46: by Kerrie (new)

Kerrie Todd wrote: "the About the Author was immediately hilarious and continues to be the only part of WFR that I recommend people read.

I couldn't find any copies here at the library to know what this is. Now I'm curious!!! Can you quote it here?


message 47: by Eric (new)

Eric You are a more patient person than I am. I bailed on the series in the middle of the fourth book.


Stephen Eric wrote: "You are a more patient person than I am. I bailed on the series in the middle of the fourth book."

That would have been the wiser course for me to follow.


message 49: by An Odd1 (new)

An Odd1 You're too hard on yourself. How about re-shelving under (when we were) "Young & Foolish"?


Stephen BibbleBabble wrote: "You're too hard on yourself. How about re-shelving under (when we were) "Young & Foolish"?"

Great shelf name...I may need to steal borrow that.


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