Nothing happened for 70% of this book and then everything happened at once. I’m still not sure how I feel about this ending even though I finished it back in October, but it feels good to be done! I started reading the Sword of Truth in the summer of 2009, and have now finished it in fall 2020. That is a long-ass time.
I’m sad to say for the corner of the internet that has looked forward to my reviews of these books, I will not be continuing on with this series (the only books I might possibly be tempted by are the Nicci books, and that would be a loooooong way down the road). Also, this review might be a bit of disappointment compared to past Sword of Truth reviews. Not only did I finish Confessor months ago so my memory is fuzzy of details, even though I didn’t really like this book, I didn’t really find anything particularly outrageous or objectionable in it either, not more than I’m used to or was expecting to find from Goodkind, anyway. I think I’m just numb to him and his shtick at this point.
(Part of me also has to admit that I feel much worse about ragging on Goodkind’s writing now that he’s just recently died. I started the book pretty soon after he died, actually, and that also may have affected my reading of it.)
The things that have always bugged me about Goodkind’s writing also bugged me here, so you can go back to previous reviews if you want elaboration on that. I don’t want to bother with it right now. Mostly, this book was meh and unmemorable in terms of plot and story structure, and it deus ex machina-ed and cliched-up the ending as much as possible. I had to go to Wikipedia to refresh my memory before I wrote this review and then I rolled my eyes all over again about how it all turned out. It was all pretty empty, in the end. I would honestly have preferred an ending where Richard goes full Ayn Rand to what happens here, which is that he creates a new world to banish all the followers of the Order to so he doesn’t have to deal with them and so that Goodkind doesn’t have to deal with resolving the conflict between the two ideologies in any other way than “Richard is 100% right and shouldn’t have to deal with this shit”. They take out Emperor Jagang in the most anti-climactic way possible. Nothing is learned by any of our main characters, no changes or evolutions in their characters are made. They are exactly the same as when this whole thing started.
Of course Kahlan and Richard, tragically separated, are reunited again. Goodkind pairs up several characters romantically that we have no stake in just because he probably thinks that’s what’s supposed to happen at the end of stories (Adie and Friedrich, really?) The only reason I cared about Cara and Benjamin is because I like both of them from the TV show. The books have done almost nothing to make me care about them as a couple. It was just all very predictable and pointless. I mean, seriously, what was the point of this series? What was it all about? I don’t even know and I read all eleven books!
(I’m fully aware the books that follow this basically fall into all the same patterns as the original series, and undo all the work done by this ending.)
At its height, for me, this series was something so batshit and out there it was entertaining, and there was something basically appealing about it. But these last few books have really just kind of let the series go out with more of a whimper than a bang, despite the promise I found in Chainfire, which was the best book in the series following Faith of the Fallen. None of that promise was really built upon or realized.
I wish had quippier or more damning things to say about this book and series, and in the end I’m not unhappy I read it. But I don’t think it’s really going to stand the test of time, unlike it’s contemporary, Wheel of Time. In the last ten years, fantasy has really boomed in terms of creativity and output, and you can find much better fantasy books and series to spend your time with than this one.