Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Book Review: Stone Of Tears (Sword Of Truth #2), by Terry Goodkind

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Date Published: September 1995
Publisher: Tor Books
Number Of Pages/Listening Time: 979 pages/ 38 hours 34 minutes

Synopsis: The veil of the underworld has been torn. And Darken Rahl, from beyond the veil, has begun to summon a sinister power worse than any he has wielded before.

Armed with the Sword of Truth, Richard Cypher, now become Richard Rahl, must learn to control his own newfound power, or the world will spin into darkness unending.

The Sisters of Light promise help. While Richard journeys to their forbidden city, his beloved Kahlan sets out for Ayindril, citadel of the old wizards, in search of Zedd and the help only he can lend. War, suffering, torture, and deceit lie in their paths. So, also, does their destiny...

My Rating:
★★★ and 1/2
...for being a good fantasy novel, but with some elements I didn't like

My Thoughts: 

My feelings for this story are somewhat mixed.

Have you ever read a book where something about the story is rubbing you the wrong way but you can't seem to figure what the problem is? You find some issues with the story, but then your brain gives you arguments about why it had to be done that way. Yet you are still dissatisfied.

Something is bugging me about this series, and I think it has something to do with how women are portrayed in this book. Yes, the plot works and there are very good reasons for every character to do what they've chosen to do, but I still feel like the writing is a little patronizing towards women. Has anyone noticed that the most powerful female characters in this series only have that power by enslaving men? Either you have to have the magical ability to enslave men, or you get raped, beaten, and killed by evil men. As a feminist, you'd think I'd be all for super powerful women, but I feel like we should see some non-magical powerful women as well, such as a really awesome, spunky queen, or something along those lines.

The writing style feels a little patronizing as well. It seems likes Goodkind repeats himself a lot, to the point where it's occasionally redundant. Terry Goodkind's way of writing really isn't my preference. I will admit, however, that I think part of the blame goes to the narrator of the audiobook edition; I found that when I was reading the physical copy of the book I was enjoying it more.

Okay, so despite all the negative stuff, I still really like this series. The world-building is pretty excellent, and the pace of the plot is well laid out. I loved how Kahlan single-handedly takes on the Imperial Order, and how Richard befriended Gratch. I also enjoyed the ending (won't spoil it, but I was on the edge of my seat....despite the fact that I read this once before and remembered it).

Overall, despite some stuff rubbing me the wrong way, I still found this story really enjoyable. In some ways, I liked this book better than the previous one (Wizard's First Rule). If you're into hardcore fantasy, then this is worth checking out, although be warned: there's one part of the book where an army does some pretty unspeakable things to the women of a certain city. We don't actually read about the rape scenes, but we see the aftermath of them, and it's pretty uncomfortable. Definitely not for someone looking for a lighthearted fantasy adventure.

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