I was on the fence about actually writing my thoughts on this book, because they aren’t very kind. The story is fine, though it is the middle part of a trilogy, so it feels unfinished. That’s not a bad thing, it’s to be expected. Terry Goodkind has written a lot of books in this world, and I can deal with a storyline that spans multiple novels.
I really had three big problems with this book. The first is the most minor because it has to do with the audiobook reader. I don’t like Sam Tsoutsouvas. His voice is fine, but his reading is flat. There are almost no changes in tone, rhythm, or inflection for the different characters, so it’s difficult to get a sense of who’s speaking without dialogue markers. This is the reason why I originally stopped listening to the audiobook versions of the confessor trilogy and The Omen Machine. Tsoutsouvas just didn’t bring the world to life the same way that the previous reader did.
The second issue I have with this book is the repetition. Goodkind repeats himself constantly throughout the book. He did the same thing in The Omen Machine. A new piece of information is presented, then the next six plus paragraphs are the characters reiterating that same piece of information over and over again…
“Richard, you have death in you.”
“What do you mean I have death in me?”
“There’s some death, and it’s in you.”
“So you’re saying that I’m part dead?”
“No, I’m saying that a piece of death is in you.”
“What does it mean, ‘I have death in me?'”
“It means that there’s death in you, and if it stays in you, you’ll die.”
“So I’m going to die because there’s death in me?”
“Unless we get it out of you.”
“Are you sure there’s death in me, maybe it’s something else.”
“I’m sure. There’s death in you.”
“And the death that’s in me is going to kill me?”
“Yes, it’s going to kill you.”
“The death in me?”
“Yes, the death in you.”
“So there’s some death in me?”
“What does that mean exactly?
… and so on for another page or so. (Not an actual excerpt, by the way.)
What makes it even worse is that this same conversation can happen two or three times in the book. Every time a new character needs to be informed about the same information it seems like this plays out again, but this time there are two characters trying to explain the situation instead of just one.
Lastly, I have a problem with Richard. Richard is too perfect. This is a problem with the entire series, not just this installment. Richard always makes the right decision, and always for the right reason. He never makes any mistakes, other people just get in the way of his right decision. He always has just enough strength to perform his task, he’s always just in time to save the day, and he always converts just the right people to his side. Not to mention the fact that he can learn entire languages in a matter of days and he there’s a problem, he can guess the solution before those with decades more experience even realize there is a problem. I’m fine with this happening occasionally, but with Richard it happens constantly.
Sorry for the rant. What’s really sad is that the story is good. Good enough that I’ll probably read the sequel, Severed Souls. I just may wait a couple of months so I can forget about all the issues I mentioned above.