Book Review: The First Confessor

So, I just finished The First Confessor, and much sooner than I expected.  I read nearly half of the book yesterday.  It was just so good, I couldn’t put it down!

Like the rest of the books in this series, I loved it!  It was a prequel, about 3000 years in the past.  Much of this story we already know from what Richard has managed to learn in the present books.  However, even knowing that Magda would end up being the first confessor at the end, even knowing that she would end up marrying Merritt, I enjoyed every step of the journey.  And again, even though I knew about the dream walkers, and the bond, and the towers that would eventually be built, I still didn’t know everything that was going to happen in the story.

I knew that Lothain would be the antagonist in this story, the traitor in the keep, but I didn’t know how evil he was, or just how close he got to making the keep fall.

I didn’t know that the council was made up of wizards at the time, or that they convened at the keep.  It makes sense, since the confessor’s palace hadn’t been built yet, but it was still new information.  I didn’t know about the walking dead or the half-people, or what a Maker was.  He introduced characters that weren’t important enough to be mentioned in the history books, so I hadn’t learned about them in the other books, but they were still fully developed, fascinating characters that helped the story along.

I loved that he made Magda such a strong character, and not just a guinnea pig to be used to test the Confessor magic.  He also started this story in a huge point of turmoil, not just in Magda’s life, but during the war.  I had learned about Baraccus’s death, and had some idea of what that would lead to, but seeing it all first hand, and so personally, was phenomenal.

Now, I have done nothing but praise Terry Goodkind’s series so far, but in my attempts to be a more critical reader, I feel I should let you know that the writing is not perfect.

Yes, the story itself is flawless, everything being well planned out and structured.  However, if there is one weakness (and I suppose that many would see it as a major weakness), it’s how much explanation he feels like putting into his story.  Not with visual description, that much he usually demonstrates beautifully and well balance.  I’m referring to him making his characters describe things for…well, for chapters, sometimes.

For example, every time he introduces a new wizarding rule, the theoretical explanation of precisely how the rule works, in every fanciful little detail, can frequently take several chapters.  In a way, I can understand.  He has created these larger-than-life characters, like Richard, who is the Seeker of Truth, and is smarter than your average individual.  Maybe he is trying to demonstrate just how much smarter he is by forcing him to describe the same thing over and over again in different ways because his audience isn’t catching on to the significance of what he is saying.  However, it can certainly get tiring.

Even without our noble Seeker in this prequel, however, there were still many areas which repetition in his descriptions that got a bit trying.  Obviously, this did not deter me, since I wasn’t able to put the book down like, at all yesterday.  However, even I can feel a bit exhausted after seeing every little detail drilled down and analyzed for chapters at a time.

Still, one of my favorite things about these books is that they force me to think.  Likewise, one of my favorite things about this author is the solidity of his story, ensuring that any reader understands that there is only one path, that the author did do his homework, and that the “simpler problem-solving options” aren’t really options, which is why his characters choose to do the things that they do.  He makes many of them amazing, but none of them are perfect, each having at least one major flaw that affects their story.

Anyway, end analysis, I loved the book.  However, for anyone thinking of reading this book, DO NOT attempt to read it until after you have read Confessor.  Confessor is the last book of the Confessor trilogy, and basically “ends” the main story.  Now, by the main story, I refer to the main conflict that has existed pretty much since book one (or, at least what the events of the first two books led to), which is the invasion of the Order from the Old World.  Everything that the books have been building to has led to the culmination in the end of Confessor, and if you attempt to read The First Confessor before the end of the war, then not only will you likely get confused reading The First Confessor, but you will also be receiving one MAJOR spoiler about the ending of the series.  Just a heads up…

Now, I will be reading The Omen Machine.  This book is the first book that takes place after Confessor and the end of the war.  I had read a little bit before, and it definitely has a different feel to it than the previous books in the series, but it still has those characters that I love, so back into the present world I will dive!

 

Terry Goodkind, if you ever happen to read this, I have one request for you:  could you please write another prequel?  One that would follow The First Confessor?  After all, I roughly know what happens next:  the confessor’s palace is built, the Coucil of the Midlands is moved there and made larger, the towers are built, and the war is ended.  However, I want to see it!  I want to see Merritt lead the walking dead into D’Hara.  I want to see what life is like for Magda when she actually takes on her role as Mother Confessor and has other Confessors to lead.  I want to know why Magda allows the towers to be completed, when we now know that she hated the idea.  Please, write another book, I want to see it all happen!!

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