I Recently Finished Reading: Warheart

warheartI have to say that I’m really glad that this series is over. Goodkind is a decent storyteller, which is what’s kept me reading the series, but his writing has gotten progressively worse over the last few books. When Warheart came out, I knew I was going to read it because I wanted to see how the story ended, but I dreaded actually reading the book because I knew it would be a chore to get through.

Let me focus on the good parts of the book for a bit. The action scenes are solid. Not great, but the pace is quick and they’re engaging. The ending to the book is also decent. All the major plots are resolved and the feeling of completion is present. Unfortunately, that’s about it for positives.

There are two main issues I have with this book. The first is how much exposition there is in the book. I’ve talked about it before, but Goodkind feels the need to explain certain things multiple times, not just two or three times, but sometimes a full dozen times before all his characters understand. That leads to long passages of characters explaining ideas rather than having those ideas manifest through actions or as subtext. It gets old really quick. This book could have easily dropped half the text and the story would have remained the same.

The second is Richard’s character. Richard is a terribly written character. Not only is he perfect, but he’s obviously a complete jerk and nobody notices. Let me start with his perfection. Richard always makes the right decision. Always. Even when what he does is completely moronic, it works out for him and everyone ultimately agrees that no other decision could possibly have worked better. That by itself would be frustrating, but it goes deeper than that. What really drives me nuts about the character is how he just guesses everything. By the time this book reaches it’s climax, Richard has successfully guessed how to solve every problem he’s had. Not once is it mentioned where this knowledge comes from, he doesn’t read the information anywhere, no other being gives him hints or clues about what he could do, and occasionally Richard even admits that he’s just taking a stab in the dark about how to resolve these problems, but his ideas always work. Always!

As for Richard being a jerk, I say that because he obviously doesn’t trust anyone, and is incredibly narcissistic. When he tries to talk to Samantha about why her mother died, he keeps using the phrase “You have to listen to me.” He ignores the pain she’s feeling and keeps the focus on how he’s right. When he decides to abandon his companions to do something stupid and dangerous, he doesn’t tell anyone what he’s doing, he just does it and assumes that they’ll forgive him if he survives. When he’s explaining the reasoning behind his actions, he’s annoyingly obtuse, and laughs at the people who don’t understand. Worst of all, as he’s doing all of this, all the other characters keep fawning over him and about how he’s the greatest person ever.

Whew… thanks for letting me vent a bit. I hope you can tell that I didn’t particularly enjoy the book. I’m glad I read the series, as a whole it’s worthwhile. I doubt I’ll ever go through the series again, and if I did, then I’d probably stop before the Confessor trilogy. As it stands now, I don’t think I’ll read any more of Goodkind’s books.

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