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Mysticism Squared

Posted by sohmer on Aug 21 2007, 12:02 PM

Before I get into the meat of today's post, I would like to inform you that both Lar and I will be at this weekend's (August 24-26) FaneXpo show in Toronto, Canada. We'll be present for the duration of the show, at booth #844 and would love to see you there.

Bring Red Bull.

I alluded yesterday to doing something of which I've never done before, and the time has come for me to come clean with my shameful act.

I am a firm believer in finishing what you started, whether it be a workout or a not-so delicious club sandwich. In this instance, however, I'm speaking specifically of reading rooks.

If I open a book, and read page 1, I tend to feel as if I owe it to the author and myself to read it right through until the end. Sometimes the book will improve, sometimes the read will get worse, but at least I'll be left with that sense of completion. I'll know how the story ended, and I'll know I gave the author and his words the full opportunity to entertain me.

But last week?for the life of me, as hard as I pushed myself, I just couldn't do it.

Most of you are aware by now of my love/hate relationship with Terry Goodkind, author of the Sword of Truth series. As an overall series, I enjoy the world and characters he's created, but the last 4-5 books have seemed, to my mind at least, to be nothing more than a paycheck. The man created a New York Times best selling series, so why not keep pumping them out?

That said, I was in no huge rush to read Phantom, the latest in the series. There was no way I was dropping 30$ for the hardcover version, so I patiently waited for the trade to hit the shelves, and picked that one up.

After sitting in my 'to read' pile for almost 2 months, while waiting for Halfling's Gem by Salvatore to show up from Amazon, I finally decided to give 'The Wacky Adventures of Kahlan & Friends' a go.

I got about 200 pages in before I couldn't take it anymore.

Not since Robert Jordan wrote the first 350 pages of Path of Daggers have I seen such a case of padding. Jordan chose to write about 30 women simultaneously experiencing PMS in excruciating detail, while Goodkind decided that magic and the arcane arts would be even more fascinating if mixed in with the finer elements of Geometry, chemistry and physics.

I honestly can't fathom what he's trying to do, but there were a few instances where I would flip a few pages ahead to hopefully find that something interesting is happening, only to find myself in the midst of another calculus-magic lesson.

This all comes to my main problem with this series.

Goodkind never expected this to be as popular as it has become, and thus did not plot out a full story at inception. Instead, he's written himself into several corners, and has to continue to add new elements and new rules to his world in order to keep the story going.

I will, at some point, go back to the book and finish it, due to the fact that I am invested in these characters and do want to see how the story ends, but it's going to take a while to build up the courage to launch myself into Phantom again.

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