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Book Review: Warheart by Terry Goodkind
Long-awaited Review... Maybe
OK so many of you know that I have invested a huge amount of time into the books and TV series related to the Sword of Truth novels by Terry Goodkind. I’ve done book reviews, television episode reviews, even comparison hubs between the two that many of you have read and commented on. This book came out in November 2015 and I have waited essentially 6 months to allow my anger to dissipate over how awful this story has ended.
A Little Background
Let me begin by saying I fully loved the first set of books right through Confessor, where the story supposedly ended. I reviewed that book and had a great time reading and re-reading it (especially the Ja-La game Richard owned).
Let me continue by saying I truly enjoyed the interpretation on television, even if it wasn’t really done the way we would have wanted it (no Mud People or Gratch really lessens the impact of the show). The show was not a straight interpretation of the books and that angered many fans, but taken on it's own, it was fun to watch.
Everything after Confessor I’ve been very disgusted with. The First Confessor, as a stand alone book and prequel to this story arc wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great either. The ensuing books, the Omen Machine, The Third Kingdom, Severed Souls and now Warheart have really taken my view of Mr. Goodkind’s writing ability to it’s lowest levels ever. After re-reading my previous reviews and thoughts on these books I can conclude a few things:
Continuity doesn’t exist in this new arc – Richard beats Jagang and is immediately questioned about prophecy by people who just trusted him with their lives!! The timing makes almost no sense and it never did.
Logic also doesn’t exist in this new arc – notice that events in The Omen machine have no bearing on the storylines going forward. Hannis Arc has a Mord-Sith, something only the Lord Rahl is supposed to have because the Rahl family created the bond...
Kahlahn became a mindless automaton for most of this arc and it absolutely sucked the life out of these books. She’s previously been an amazing character and now she’s just a damsel in distress and virtually powerless all of the time. He took a badass female character and essentially laid her on the railroad tracks a dozen times to be saved by Richard - it was awful.
Richard, our hero, became a lying hypocrite in front of our eyes, destroying this awesome heroic character for all of us. I truly wish I hadn’t even read these last few books. His later interactions with Samantha and her mother were truly character-killing.
Terry’s ability to create characters who mattered seems to have completely run away without him. We need to see these characters doing things that matter. Even the new villains don’t really do anything, we’re just told that that they do, it’s frustrating to say the least. Hannis Arc, Lord Drier and Sulechan didn't affect the story as much as the assassin that killed Warren and he existed for only a few pages.
Terry doesn’t respect his readers enough to give beloved characters endings that make sense. Maybe not even deserve, but Zedd and Cara’s death’s make absolutely no sense and after following these characters for years we all deserved better. Cara returning with no explanation whatsoever and then dying was unsettling at best.
The ending of Warheart is so absolutely convoluted, I had to read it twice to understand where he was going with it – and I didn’t like reading it one. And then, he had to explain it again because he doesn't believe we'll get it when we read it the first time. That's when you know you did something wrong.
Are there any Positives??
That said, I bought this book the moment it came out, read it quickly, since Terry’s books have become very easy to read with childlike exposition and repetitive text on every page, and then I did something I’ve never done before.
I returned it to the bookstore.
That’s right, I returned it two days later. I was so disgusted with what had been done to Richard (the character) that I didn’t even want to keep the book to re-read (I have all of the others, along with all of the Belgariad/Malloreon books, the Harry Potter books, all the Percy Jackson books, Xanth books, Dancing Gods books and several other series).
If there is a positive in all of this, it is that this appears to be the end. Another positive to be had is that we can, as readers, decide that Confessor was the last book and essentially only re-read those books. Confessor had an ending that was well-thought out, made sense and left everyone feeling happy with Cara and Ben's wedding.
We can give this effort a few stars for finally completing the series, good or bad, but not for any part of the writing being done. All of the books after Confessor were written quickly, not edited all that well, defied the world building Terry had previously done and the logic he built it with. Almost nothing made any amount of sense and I, for one, was never happy about turning this series into a horror/occult story which we didn't need with World War Z, Walking Dead and other movies/shows covering that genre.
If you're looking for a great series to read, might I suggest the Belgariad from David and Leigh Eddings. Not exactly the same type of brutality level as in Sword of Truth but really well done all the same.