Tag Archives: fantasy

Wayfarer Redemption Review

Cover art for the first book "BattleAxe" (USA title "The Wayfarer Redemption")

While I was in between temp jobs, I gobbled down one of Beth’s favorite fantasy series The Wayfarer Redemption series by Sara Douglas. I should start by saying that I only read the first three of the series because the six books should really be treated like two separate trilogies. I don’t usually like reading books that people strongly recommend or they say is their favorite because I don’t want to tell them that I didn’t like it. I ran into this problem with the Sookie Stackhouse series. My sister thought I’d love them, so she bought me the whole box set for Christmas. I managed to struggle through three of them before I couldn’t take it anymore and lied politely to my sister at the dinner table, saying “I enjoyed them.” It wasn’t a total lie. I enjoyed taking a red pen to them…

But since we live together and have a whole room devoted to our book collections, I knew that I’d have to read some of her favs. And I trust her judgment more than most people because we’ve read a lot of the same things and have similar opinions on them. And even if our thoughts differ, she remembers and will make recommendations on my preferences and not hers.

I loved these books. Couldn’t put them down. They kept me guessing and throwing random theories at Beth (who never told me if I was right or not because she feels like that’s cheating. She also is appalled that I sometimes read the last page first, but again, different rant for a different post). One main character is very likable and a very dynamic character. Another main character… eh not so much. He is kind of a dick the whole series and a static character in my opinion, and that’s me being nice. I don’t really think you’re meant to like him. He’s not quite a Byronic hero, because that would mean that he actually had a plan and meant to be all dark and twisty and non-conventional as he saved the world. No offense, but he’s just not that smart or crafty. I feel so bad for the other main character. Sometimes, one character gets shit on the most but in the end everything turns out alright and s/he is just mildly damaged for the rest of his/her life but still able to be slightly normal and happy. Like Frodo–he goes through Hell and back and has the worst of luck, but at least he sort of gets peace at the end. No, this ending is not like that. One character just keeps getting the rough end of the bargain. I’m still not sure how I feel about that.

I would highly recommend the first three books of this series. Lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing, an epic setting with lots of characters, provinces, and politics. Women characters played just as important a part as men characters. Definitely a must read series for the epic fantasy lover.

Sword of Truth

Richard holding the Sword of Truth

I remember being in either 8th or 9th grade when I began to read the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. Not sure of the date, but I distinctly remember the place. Mom and I had been up to Goshen, IN for some reason or another and had hauled something because the two back rows of seats in her minivan were missing. I remember sprawling out on a blanket in the back while we were driving back down to Indianapolis. It was on that trip home, in the back of a van, at night, probably going 80 mph, when I first met Richard. At first, I was almost put off by the name. Weren’t characters in fantasy stories supposed to have flashy made-up names? Nope, here was plan old Richard. Well, little did I know then, but those books would become some of my all time favorites, and Richard would become my hero.

I have several heroes though and that’s probably why I’ll never really be happy with just any mere mortal man. I’m in love with Richard, the war wizard, the Seeker of Truth, the Lord Rahl, husband to the Mother Confessor, and the savior of the world of Magic; Louis, the intelligent, brooding, existential vampire; Gwydion, the lover, warrior, and leader of the Serendair refugees; and George, the streetwise King of Thieves. How is any mortal man ever supposed to compare to these handsome heroic figures? But this is really another rant for another post…

Sorry that I let my love for Richard take us on that little tangent. I just finished the Sword of Truth series last night, and I am STILL floored by the ending. I mean WOW. Goodkind can sure weave a good yarn. There were places in the middle of the series *cough cough Pillars of Creation cough cough* that annoyed me, and I could barely get through them, but oh, Goodkind made up for all the boring middle bits in the last three books. He tied everything together. I mean, things he hadn’t mentioned since the first book (and there are 11 total books btw) were brought back in the last three books, and it was so amazing. It felt like it had been planned all along. Most of the time, I hate it when all the problems get solved; it makes everything seem too perfect and too unrealistic *cough Breaking Dawn hack die*. But WOW, everything fit and made sense. I almost feel silly for not thinking of it myself.

I have a love/hate relationship with the philosophy in the books though. I really appreciate that it’s there, and I like everything that Goodkind is saying, it’s just that I wish he would be a little more subtle about it. I mean, Faith of the Fallen gets annoying with “Communism bad. Capitalism good.” over and over and over and over again. And then there are parts that just melt my heart and I forgive Goodkind for being so repetitive:

“It means only one thing, and everything: cut. Once committed to fight, cut. Everything else is secondary. Cut. That is your duty, your purpose, your hunger. There is no rule more important, no commitment that overrides that one. Cut.”
His words chilled her to the bone as he went on.
“The lines are a portrayal of the dance. Cut from the void, not from bewilderment. Cut the enemy as quickly and directly as possible. Cut with certainty. Cut decisively, resolutely. Cut into his strength. Flow through the gaps in his guard. Cut him. Cut him down utterly. Don’t allow him a breath. Crush him. Cut him without mercy to the depths of his spirit.
“It is the balance of life: death. It is the dance with death.
“It is the law a war wizard lives by, or he dies.”

And then he annoys me again. What I REALLY hate in fantasy series though is when they include the same descriptions of things in the later books. Ok, I KNOW how the People’s Palace looks by book 6, STOP DESCRIBING IT IN FULL DETAIL. If people haven’t read the other books, then they SHOULD be lost. I’m never going to do that as a writer. If people want to read my series and understand it then they have to read the whole damn thing, not start in the middle. Gosh. SO frustrating.

Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series (missing the last book)

Basically, I’m just gushing about this series. It’s one of my favorites and definitely upholds the epic tradition that Homer began. The first book is titled Wizards First RuleREAD IT!!! It’s absolutely amazing.

Oh, and even though “The Legend of the Seeker” LOOKS pretty, it’s a complete and totally blasphemy against this amazing series, and Terry Goodkind should be ashamed of himself for allowing the Sci-Fi channel to make a horrible TV series out of his novels.