BOOK REVIEW: Stone of Tears by Terry Goodkind

 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.

While I enjoyed 'Stone of Tears', I had a more difficult time reading it than I did 'Wizard's First Rule'. The story was engaging and the character's consistent to their nature as defined in the first book. I enjoyed the story thoroughly and already plan to read the next book in the series.

I, again, had issues with the pace of the story at times, wanting to skim through parts to get on with the story. I think the most difficult part of the novel, for me, though was that the chapters skipped between concurrent stories. As I was reading I would have difficultly keeping track of what was going on previously with each ongoing part. For example, Chase leaves the Palace with his new daughter. The next time you hear from them they are in this magical, wondrous, supremely comforting place that seems sublime. They are never mentioned again until near the end of the book. However, how they ended up there, in that situation, is never identified or explained. And even knowing at the end where they actually were, it doesn't fit with the story of why they able to get into that situation to begin with. Another instance was with the actual stone of tears (hence the title) and the 'pebble in the pond' that was mentioned frequently. The relevance of either one was never really explained and I still wonder why the stone of tears was so important that the book was named for it but it played such a small part of the whole story.
I guess my struggle with the Fantasy genre is in believability. So much is not congruent enough with reality and I have difficulty getting into that different mindset. I enjoy Goodkind's take on fantasy as it tends to be more rooted in a truth than others. There were parts, as in 'Wizard's First Rule', that the characters were difficult to believe in. They see danger at every turn but then will blindly trust in the good benevolence of others.

I know it seems like I have so many issues with the book. But with almost 1000 pages there's a lot of good to go with the difficult. I enjoy the storyline. I am vested in the characters, even in their unbelievable moments. I am invested enough that I plan to, and anticipate, reading the next installment in the series.

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Stone of Tears (Sword of Truth, #2)

About Terry Goodkind
Terry Goodkind is an American writer. He is known for the epic fantasy series The Sword of Truth as well as the contemporary suspense novel The Law of Nines, which has ties to his fantasy series.

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