Book Review: The Third Kingdom

Yes, I am still continuing with reading the Sword of Truth Series, even if I might not really recommend these later books.  They’re okay, they really are, but they don’t stand up to the old books, so it would disappoint any real fans, I think.  They’ve certainly disappointed me.

But, there are still some interesting things to find in these later books.

For me, the biggest thing is the zombies.  They’re not zombies, exactly, but they’re close enough.  He puts a very interesting spin on the zombies that is cool and new.

However, I still do not think that it is enough to save these later books.  In some way, it is getting very difficult to keep reading.  There are some big discontinuity problems, especiallty in the Third Kingdom, where he can’t seem to decide whether or not his half-people are actually immune to magic.  At the beginning, not only is magic nearly useless against them, but Zedd can’t even use a spell that creates light while they are nearby, a fact which ultimately leads to their capture.  Later, magic can’t be used on them at all, but they can still easily use it on other objects or around them, and that’s how they defeat them.  In the end, however, after escaping the caves where the Shun-tuk live, all of a sudden they’re able to use Wizard’s Fire and all kinds of other spells on and around the half-people, and only the walking dead are actually immune to magic.

Not only this, he gets more unnecessarily descriptive.  For example, there’s a new charcter, Sammie, who is a teenage sorcerous.  She is forced to step up and take on a critical role, so Richard prefers to call her Samantha; a more grown up name for a girl who has been forced to grow into a woman.  Later, when another character is surprised at him calling her Samantha instead of Sammie, he responds with “You call her Sammie because you think she is a girl.  I call her Samantha because I believe she is a woman.”  In what was is this necessary?  Not only is it unnecessary, but the other character doesn’t even react to the statement.  Couldn’t a simple smile and “I think it suits her better, and she prefers it.” have proven plenty sufficient?

Then there’s the touch of death created by the Hedge Maid (whose existence also creates a discontinuity all of its own between The Omen Machine and this one) that goes into a realm of theoretical unbelievabilty all of its own.

The reason that I have enjoyed the Sword of Truth series is, primarily, due to its down-to-earth lessons and believablity, its rules of life that I believe in, and its insight into humanity’s strength and weaknesses.  Even since bringing in the dead, I have become very disappointed.  I feel like a far better continuation to this series would have been for Kahlan to get pregnant, have a boy, and have a war begin with the Witch Woman Shota and anyone else who might fear a gifted Rahl who is also a male confessor.  This would have been far more satisfying and interesting.  I don’t understand why Terry Goodkind felt a need to create so many new troubles when he could have easily created many troubles out of scenarios that he has already brought into the realm of possibility in his previous books.

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