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Random Thoughts

When I read a series of books, I tend to like to see the main characters the story is about within those books. It’s an expectation that I think is common with most readers. When an author decides to remove the main characters from the book, it causes a great amount of distress for me, because when I purchase the book for that series I am purchasing it with the expectation that I’ll be getting to read yet another chapter in the series for those characters. That’s why I bought the books.

Terry Goodkind has removed either one or both of his main characters, Richard and Kahlan, from the story until the very end of the novel on a couple of occasions. Each time, I found this very distracting. He did this with Pillars of Creation and Chainfire. I found this so incredibly distracting and upsetting, that with both books, I had to put them back on the shelf because I couldn’t bring myself to read them. It took me a year and finding the next book in the series for me to even pick the books up and read their stories, because I wanted to read them in succession. In essence, I also had to have time away from the books in order to forgive the author for once again deluding me into believing I was getting the story I paid to read.

I am currently reading his latest book Phantom, which I’d honestly started reading before finishing Chainfire just to make certain I wasn’t going to be disappointed. Kahlan appeared in the very first chapter, and so I forgave him enough to finish reading Chainfire and then start on Phantom again.

Now that I’m writing for myself again, I’ve started to consider the choices and options that are before me. I’ve come to realize that sometimes the author has to make choices in order to progress his story, and sometimes those choices might not be popular ones. I think it’s a brave thing to do what needs to be done in order to tell the story. Most series don’t last as long as Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. Usually, they’re three books and that’s the end. I think this realization has put things into a better perspective for me so that now, as a reader, I might not be so harsh a judge and can maybe show a bit more patience than I did before when wondering about some of my favorite characters. Stories take time to play things out.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
morcath
Dec. 1st, 2006 10:40 pm (UTC)
I wish Goodkind had quit at three... Mind you, I'm also of the opinion that Tor was hoping Goodkind would hit his stride when Robert Jordan finally finished WoT. But, RJ keeps on putting out WoT books and so... Goodkind keeps on writing.
nynrose
Dec. 2nd, 2006 06:59 pm (UTC)
The thing about Goodkind though is that he knows how to tell a complete story within the series, complete with plot, that attributes toward the overarching story. His books are fairly well written and define themselves, and even hint back at previous books if you come into the fold later down the road. Though, he tends to fill the conversation with 10 pages of lecture and nattering, trying to get the reader to grasp some rather complex magical constructs. That's almost as bad as Jordan's 10 chapters of battle drivel. The difference is, the nattering is key to the plot and helps you later understand things (even if you're like me, grow bored and skip ahead.

There is only one more book left to the Sword of Truth series. Phantom has it plastered on the last page that the next book is the final one, and concluding the story. I think I have to applaud Goodkind for sticking it out so long.He's, in essence, written the equivalent of three triologies. Not many authors have that much story to tell, and speaking from experience, just getting into writing, finally, myself, that's a pretty daunting thing to consider. You sorta have to sit back and admire him for writing so much and sticking to his guns and his story, from an author's perspective, even if you might not like his story.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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