I must admit I wasn’t very impressed when I started reading the 1st book of the series. In Wizard’s First Rule, Goodkind’s writing just didn’t seem to possess a certain sophistication and polish, and at times it had such a wooden quality that I found myself squirming. Now after having read through the 5th book of the series, I’m glad I’ve stuck around! As the tale progresses, so does the author’s mastery of his craft. Now I find myself swallowing up every word. This book is my favorite of the series. It has all the adventures and mysteries of the previous volumes, at the same time has a surprising emotional edge, not only between the main characters but between some secondary characters as well. Richard and Kahlan will have to face their most severe trial thus far, and it wasn’t a result of them doing something annoyingly stupid like running off alone into unknown danger. All the twists and turns building up to the climax will glue your eyes to the pages. The last 100 pages or so are as masterfully executed as any. Even if the previous volumes have taught you to expect the unexpected, the unmasking of the villain may yet surprise some. Goodkind’s handling and manipulating of story threads are perhaps his greatest asset. Nevertheless, I’m somewhat dismayed at his penchant for killing off characters, even those he had painstakingly portrayed, by the end of the story.
This book is perhaps the pinnacle of the series; the subsequent volumes just don’t come close to matching its thrills and excitement. Expect many a sleepless night once you pick this one up.
Originally posted December 8, 2002 on Amazon.com