The Sword of Truth: This is a mean number of stars. I mean a statistical mean.

book review Terry Goodkind Sword of TruthTHE SWORD OF TRUTH (books 1-10) by Terry Goodkind

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsTerry 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.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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  1. Wow. Quite a quotation.

    I appreciate the review, Kat.

    • You’re welcome, Brad. If you’ve decided not to read TG because of my review, I probably saved you about 100 hours of life. What is your time worth? You should pay me a commission on that. 5% would be reasonable, I think.

      • In order to make a fair and legally binding contract, I’ll gladly pay you any percentage of the pay I earn per book review I write for this site. Seriously. Don’t say another word. Consider it done.

  2. Lára /

    He´s even rating (with 5 stars, of course), reviewing and voting for his books, as well – on Goodreads. He has himself as his fav writer.

    I´ve seen the 1st-2nd episode of tv series and thought about reading the book. I´m not sure I´ll anymore.

  3. Sarah /

    I couldn’t make it through the first book. The absolutely unnecessary, lovingly described violent deaths of two children made me sick. I just couldn’t see spending any more time or money in his world.

  4. I tried to read the first book years ago and didn’t get very far. I found it boring and not particularly well written. Glad to know I didn’t waste any more time and money on the series!

  5. Richard /

    I just discovered this review. If I had read it years ago maybe I wouldn’t fallen into the same trap you did. I did not wise up until after The Omen Machine Gah!

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