I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
In Wizard's First Rule, Richard Cypher's world was turned upside down. Once a simple woods guide, Richard was forced to become the Seeker of Truth, to save the world from the vile dominance of Darken Rahl, the most viciously savage and powerful wizard the world had ever seen. He was joined on this epic quest by his beloved Kahlan, the only survivor among the Confessors, who brought a powerful but benevolent justice to the land before Rahl's evil scourge. Aided by Zedd, the last of the wizards who opposed Rahl, they were able to cast him into the underworld, saving the world from the living hell of life under Rahl.
But the veil to the underworld has been torn, and Rahl, from beyond the veil, begins to summon a sinister power more dreadful than any he has wielded before. Horrifying creatures escape through the torn veil, wreaking havoc on the unsuspecting world above.
If Rahl isn't stopped, he will free the Keeper itself, an evil entity whose power is so vast and foul that once freed, it can never again be contained.
Richard and Kahlan must face Rahl and the Keeper's terrible minions. But first, Richard must endure the ministrations of the Sisters of the Light, or die from the pain of magic that is his birthright and his curse. While Richard undertakes the arduous journey to the forbidden city of the Sisters, Kahlan must embark upon a long and dangerous mission to Aydindril, citadel of the old wizards, where she hopes to find Zedd and the help only he can lend to their desperate cause.
War, suffering, torture, and deceit lie in their paths, and nothing will save them from a destiny of violent death, unless their courage and faith are joined with luck and they find the elusive...Stone of Tears.
Let’s call this 2.5 stars for my reading experience of this volume. I was quite shocked, as I had enjoyed the first book enough to give it 3.5 stars. But reading this one just wore me down. Just as the first volume dwelt lingeringly and lovingly on Denna’s torture of Richard, this volume seems to document the brutality and misogyny of the Imperial army in the same way.
Finally, just over 80% of the way through, I reached a point where I just couldn’t take any more and resolved to set the book aside until I could face that level of hatred & violence again. Now, I get that Goodkind is setting the bad guys up as truly evil with these attitudes of theirs, but I am a woman and when I read all this violence and vitriol against women, it grinds me down. I hear enough of this shite in the news each day and reading it in this extreme form in literature too just feels like masochism.
Last night, feeling buoyed up by my Sherlock Holmes summer project, I resolved to finish this book. I am pleased to report that the hiatus did the trick--I was able to finish the novel without noticeable distress. And now Richard and I have learned the Wizard’s Second Rule--you may do things with kindness as your intention, but these acts may lead to unexpected negative consequences. As they say, no good deed goes unpunished.
I have planned to read the third book in this series before the end of the year. I have to say that I’m kind of dreading it and that I am already planning to use my new strategy for reading it. The Blood of the Fold are another bunch of misogynist assholes, so I’m planning plenty of breaks while I read that sucker. I can’t guarantee that I will finish it, but I will give it an honest try.
Book number 324 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.