Saturday, May 16, 2009 By: Suzanne

Confessor: Terry Goodkind

Confessor is the last book in the Sword of Truth Series as well as the Chainfire Trilogy. Maybe it doesn't seem to make sense that one book would be the end of two series', but they are not different. What Goodkind has done was actually kind of genius. Most fantasy series' are one long story that you have to read from beginning to end to get the full story and to appreciate the end. For the first eight books of the Sword of Turth, each contained it's own story with the overall story taking a back seat for the time being. Each book came to a logical conclusion so you didn't feel unfulfilled at the end. The last three books are one long story dealing with Kahlan, therefore the term "Trilogy" to refer to them.

The Sword of Truth series tells us about Richard and Kahlan. When we meet Richard, he is a simple man, living the life as woods guide and knowing very little of the world outside his village. He is not a "simple man" in the way a person would mean mentally disabled, I should clarify, but simple in his living. He doesn't know much about the outside world because he is happy where he is and has no real desire to leave. He knows nothing of magic, wizards, sorceresses, witch women, or dragons. That outside world crashes in on him one day when Kahlan comes to his village for help. Kahlan is the Mother Confessor. She is also the last Confessor as they have all been hunted and killed by the evil Darken Rahl. She is looking for the First Wizard. Richard calls him Zedd (or grandpa). Eventually, for reasons I will not get into because it simply would be way too long, Richard leaves to stop the plan of the Lord Rahl and to help Kahlan. Along the way, Richard learns he is a wizard but because of his unique type of gift, he doesn't know how to control it. This is the basic story of the first book. From here, Richard and Kahlan's story get ever so much more complicated, involving Richard going to the underworld to rescue Kahlan, Richard being kidnapped by sorceresses who believe it is their duty to teach wizards how to use their gift (by putting a magic collar on them that limits their ability), an evil Emperor, Jagang, who wants to eradicate magic from the world, and eventually Kahlan being wiped from the memory of everyone (including herself) except for Richard. This is the story of the Chainfire Trilogy. At first, all of Richard's friends think he is crazy for believing in this woman that no one remembers. When he finally is able to convince them, he gets captured by the Emperor's Army. With the help of all those he has helped along his journey and those he has changed through his influence, Richard seeks to defeat Jagang and the Imperial Order while at the same time returning Kahlan to who she once was.

To say that I have invested a lot of time in this series is an understatement. There are 11 books, all of them at about 5-600 pages or more. There were times when I just got irritated with the path that Goodkind was taking was but I never once thought of quitting. It seemed to meander through story lines that just were unnecessary and kind of boring in some of the middle books. Except for one major exception though, he has wrapped up EVERYTHING in this last book. I was quite surprised at how he did that. About half way through the book I found myself thinking, "ok, but what about this" and then he'd mention it. The only thing he didn't mention (and this may be a **SPOILER** not sure, guess that depends on how you take it. Skip a couple paragraphs if you don't want to know.) was whether Richard and Kahlan could ever have a child. There were several times in the series when they were told that a wizard and a Confessor could not have a child because of the type of child it would create. This was actually pretty important for awhile. I thought at the end when everything was being wrapped up, it would be mentioned but it never was. It was like he completely forgot about it.

Speaking of the end, I was a little disappointed. Here's this epic story with the most complicated twists and turns and the solution felt like a cop out. I wish I could solve all my problems by **SPOILER** sending everyone that disagrees with me to another world. Please! We all get to live happily ever after because all those that oppose us are gone? Great. Where do I sign up for that solution?


Overall I enjoyed this series. I am also a major fan of the Wheel of Time series. I know that a lot of Robert Jordan fans feel that Terry Goodkind stole some ideas and didn't even do as a good a job with it. Maybe that's true, I'm really not going to argue that, but for the most part all modern fantasy is a rip off of Tolkein anyway. There were not any major epic fantasy trilogies before him (if you know of any, please let me know). The idea of going on a long journey to save the world from unspeakable evil is in some ways one of the oldest stories in the world, but the way in which Tolkein did it was inventive and beautiful. Many authors have been creative in taking these ideas from Tolkein (they have pretty much become a part of our collective storytelling) and using them in unique ways. In the Wheel of Time series, Jordan found an ordinary boy who was prophesied to save the world, placed him somewhere that no one would know that about him and he could grow up without that burden of knowing. Then when he comes of age, something major happens to thrust him into the prophecy. He travels the world, learning about different cultures, changing as he goes, learning about his gift, and changing the people he comes into contact with in the process (mostly for the better). These ideas, yes Goodkind stole. This is also the overall story of the Sword of Truth series. But they are done in such different ways that unless you're just an ogre, you should be able to enjoy both. And I have. To say that you shouldn't read Goodkind's series because he stole ideas is to say you shouldn't read certain vampires novels because they stole the ideas from Bram Stoker. I highly recommend that anyone that loves fantasy check out The Sword of Truth series. You will enjoy it. I also recommend that you look for the Wheel of Time series. I will admit that it is better but it is not yet finished and Jordan died. Someone else is finishing the last book. I've been waiting for that book for a LONG time, so let's just say he has some very large shoes to fill!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations for finishing the series! That is a big time committment. I've read science fiction, but not so much fantasy and never a series (well, I read the first few of Hitchhiker's guide and loved them). When I am ready to start a series I'll come to you for recommendations :)