Let’s get one thing straight… I am a hardcore fan of Terry Goodkind. I was in high school when Wizard’s First Rule came out and it was a real eye-opener for me. The years following were plagued with fights over who would read the next book first when it came out and my mother bought it (for the record, they’re all now living on my shelf).
I have loved the Sword of Truth series forever but with each book, I have also felt the characters get weaker and the story get slower than the previous one. There is no describing the torment and disappointment I felt at how Goodkind wrote Jagang’s demise… which was all in the space of a paragraph. We’d just got through about eight books that detailed the horribleness of the world of the Emperor and the dream walkers and then…. well, that’s for a completely different review.
So, The First Confessor WANTS to be a great book but I found it to be very obvious. It was like reading a bunch of dot points…
*First Wizard dies, leaving widow (our heroine) to fend for herself
*Bad guy makes himself apparent
*Gruesome and bad stuff happens
*Heroine (stubborn, troublesome wench-type) gets help
*Heroine becomes a Confessor
*The good guys win – for now.
I’m not really giving any spoilers away, here. It’s pretty obvious that Magda Searus becomes the first Confessor from the title alone. But that’s the problem with the whole book. I knew what was going to happen the whole way through. There was no guessing, no surprises.
I had a real problem with someone who was fairly pivotal to the tale in the beginning of the novel simply vanishing for the rest of the story. Literally.
And… this is probably the only real spoiler in my review – I really wanted more detail as to how Magda was changed into a confessor. I was BITTERLY disappointed.
On the whole, if you’ve read the rest of the Sword of Truth series, I would probably give this one a miss. If you haven’t then my advice would be:
1. Wizards First Rule (Book 1)
1a. Debt of Bones (Novella/short story)
1b. The First Confessor (Prequel)
.. and then every other book in the series in the order to which they were written. It will make more sense to you and at the same time you will be pleased that you’ll be riding the crest of the wave for the rest of the way through the story.
Sorry Terry, you missed the mark with this one. Might be time to start on some new material.