Literary Disappointments (was: The LKH thing)

Mon Feb 17 13:05:49 PST 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "Natarajan Krishnaswami" <nxk3 at po.cwru.edu>
To: <dragaera at dragaera.info>
Sent: Monday, February 17, 2003 8:07 AM
Subject: Re: Literary Disappointments (was: The LKH thing)

> > > I tend to get disappointed by authors rather than specific
> > > books.  For one thing, I keep giving them extra chances....
> It's probably a bad habit, but I do that too.  :-P
> E.g., Terry Goodkind.
> You'd think I'd've figured out that that series wasn't worth reading
> when the bad guys in the first book tried to ban *fire*!
> N., de-lurking

(First time poster here... just had to throw in my two cents on this guy)

In middle school I read as much Piers Anthony as I could. I'd started Wheel
of Time, and ever since I've bought the book the first day out and read it
that night. I just can't help myself. These authors have captured my
attention, and even though people across the world think of them as utter
crap, I can't stop. Not Anthony so much (though when I see his Incarnations
of Immortality series on the shelves I have to hold back) but definitely
Jordan. I really enjoy his work. So his latest books haven't been as good as
the first ones. People still go see Star Trek movies right? One word.

But Terry Goodkind makes me foam at the mouth. Nowhere is my love/hate
relationship with fantasy novels more pronounced. I buy these books in
hardback on first sight, and I utterly loathe them. Yet I cannot keep myself
>from buying them. And no amount of ranting nor raving will convince people
that they are, in fact, pure drivel. And so, I shall try some more here.

The phrase "nothing is new under the sun" could have been spoken by
Goodkind's editor. Can any of his ideas be original? Random ranting and
raving isn't going to work, so I'll go book by book.

Oh, and if anyone here KNOWS Terry Goodkind, this is meant to be humorous.
And a scathing denunciation of his terribly awful books.

We start with "Wizard's First Rule," and this is actually a good book. It
was interesting, it had some novel concepts, and was generally a fun romp
through Goodkind's world. If only he had left it at that. A-

"Stone of Tears" is the sequel. It is slightly less good. It takes a new
world and adds on to it a lot of the same factors that fill up all the other
fantasy novels. RJ fans will notice the "witches" who live longer lifespans
than anyone else. Many of these appear, yet it is also still a good book. I
would rate it third in terms of decentness in the series. B

"Blood of the Fold" continues to follow the trend, and continues to raise
the suck factor even more. Not much else to say about it, except that it's a
bad book. C-

"Temple of the Winds" becomes a softcore porn novel. Imagine! Your favorite
characters in the thoughts of dirty men and then reading about the acts
themselves. Hey, that's good copy, right? No. Not really. Reading this was
painful. And pointless. F

"Soul of the Fire" had a page and a half from the point of view of a horse.
It began with the mystery of the chicken. For the love of God. I wanted to
maim someone because I read this book. It also sucked worse than the 4
before, AND had a page and a half POV from a HORSE. And not even an
intelligent horse. F+

"Faith of the Fallen" was beautiful. It's like Goodkind went "Yeah, the
whole point of the series has been to write THIS BOOK." Outstanding piece of
writing, with a good moral and message and interesting characters. I loved
it, and it was easily the best book in the series. It CAN also be read
without knowledge of the other books, which is something I would recommend
if possible. A

"The Pillars of Creation" It was dung. When you write a series of books
around a few select characters, and then you introduce a new book in the
same series, you expect your characters. But in a blaze of... brilliance?
foolishness? I don't know. But the normal characters from the series do not
appear until page 500. Just so you don't have to look yourself. So, the
latest book in the series has so little to do with the rest of the books,
that you could easily leave it out, and you wouldn't really care. The book
did have one of the minor/major characters in it, but that person doesn't
appear until around page 300. I don't recall exactly. This book falls
squarely into WTF status. C+... it doesn't entirely suck, but it is annoying
not to have our heroes.

If you want to 'read' the Sword of Truth series, here's what you should do.
Read "Wizard's First Rule" and if you feel like it, read "Stone of Tears."
Then skip the rest and imagine Richard as someone who becomes really
powerful and then gets depressed. Then move on to "Faith of the Fallen,"
since that transition makes some sense. The rest of them, just leave on
their pretty little shelves, and never touch them. Imagine them as contact
poison which screws your brain up, which is fairly accurate.

There are many people in this world who enjoy this series. I am not one of
them, nor will I EVER be convinced of their worth. I pray that his contract
with the publisher is NOT for every book seperately. I hope he sent in First
Rule and then asked for a contract for x number of books in the series.
Because if someone read Soul of the Fire and thought "This is a great book!"
then they should be beaten. Then again, there is an amazing amount of bad
writing that comes out each year, and I guess someone has to write it.

(The last response to a rant like this was "But I liked Shannara!" Terry
Brooks wrote Shannara, and he is still a good man.)

And whew... I'm spent. Hopefully this provokes a laugh or two and makes your
day a little brighter. I think I may have to start posting a bit more.