Friday, September 30, 2011

Should have...

...kept going with Terry Goodkind [Edit: Miswrote this as Pratchett the first time through] for one more book.

Wizard's First Rule starts a bit slow, but is an excellent book.  Stone of Tears... feels like the author is stretching a little bit to continue the series, but is otherwise also quite a good book.

Blood of the Fold felt utterly pointless, and even more strained; Temple of the Winds feels like he's just making shit up now (okay, he used one sentence out of his very first book to justify this one, but everything else felt pulled out of thin air), Soul of the Fire was back to looking for excuses to continue the books...

I gave up there the first time around, which was right around when Pillars of Creation came out.

Recently picked up Faith of the Fallen for a buck, figuring it could be entertaining.

Okay, first of all, one warning: I'm pretty sure the guy read Atlas Shrugged right before he wrote this, because I swear he retconned all his villains into Randian villains.  (His heroes were already fairly close to Randian heroes, so there wasn't much stretching necessary there.)  Also, the nature and content of the book.

But I'm actually considering finishing the series now.  Okay, yes, there was some retcon going on there.  But it's actually, on its own, a decent Randian hero story.  Except his wording would have put Ayn Rand into fits in a couple of places.  Ah well.

Hint to any aspiring authors out there: If you want an epic series, plan out some of the series in advance.  You don't have to plan everything out, and don't write your first book as a "To Be Continued" unless you absolutely must, but put the basic structure in there to follow up on.  (Non-epic series don't have to worry about this as much, not being as prone to the "I killed the big evil sorcerer now what" syndrome.)


  1. After about 20 minutes of reading Wizard's First Rule, I was shocked by HOW Randian he was. It wasn't book 6/8 that he started the Rand's there from day 1.

  2. His heroes were close to Randian already, to be certain (hence that less modification was necessary); his villains less so, and hence his story merely possesses Randian heroes, they are not Randian stories. The first four books emphasize balance - a price must be paid for everything - and this emphasis exists as much in the villains as the heroes. The emperor is a curious exception, and his motives and the nature of his empire (beyond conventional "Evil empire") remains an enigma until FotF; it's possible Goodkind was planning that particular move in advance, but it was hardly forecast; in the books prior to FotF he came off the typical archvillain, evil because that's what the story requires, rather than accepting of evil for a purpose.

    For the first couple of books, a Randian hero story fundamentally needs a Randian villain; Darken Rahl wasn't. Sure, he pursued a utopian vision, but he pursued it deliberately, effectively, proudly, and through mechanisms that could achieve it, without regard to any morality but his own. Darken Rahl is in fact a Randian hero, not a Randian villain.

  3. Pillars of Creation and Naked Empire are pretty terrible too. For perspective, I liked Blood and Winds, though perhaps I have simple tastes.

    I'm conflicted about the Chainfire trilogy. The ending didn't work for me, but seems to have all the elements of endings I like.

  4. I'll have to read further to converse meaningfully about them. It looks like I won't necessarily like what I see, however. (I have a suspicion I know where the story is going, however, after the multiverse was brought up as the underpinnings of magic)

  5. Considering that Goodkind changed his mind about several things during the series, I just realized he probably changed his mind about the ending as well, but A: had already set it up and B: his editor had a few words with him.
    So we get a flat, by-the-numbers ending. He didn't really believe in his own story anymore.

  6. That's rather depressing. FotF was an epic improvement, I had rather hoped it would continue from there in that vein.