The Third Kingdom by Terry Goodkind – a Review
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The Richard and Kahlan series, beginning with The Omen Machine (which is also the 12th and final book of the Sword of Truth series) is a NEW series separate from Sword of Truth.
The bloodthirsty Jit is dead, and against all odds Richard and Kahlan have survived. But a new menace has attacked them in the Dark Lands. Infected with the essence of death itself, robbed of his power as a war wizard, Richard must race against time to uncover and stop the infernal conspiracy assembling itself behind the wall far to the north. His friends and allies are already captives of this fell combination, and Kahlan, also touched by death’s power, will die completely if
Bereft of magic, Richard has only his sword, his wits, his capacity for insight – and an extraordinary companion, the young Samantha, a healer just coming into her powers.
Compelling, fast-moving, and intense, The Third Kingdom is a powerful tale that welcomes new readers to Terry Goodkind’s world, while opening up new vistas of worldbuilding for longtime readers of the adventures of Richard Rahl and Kahlan Amnell.
The Third Kingdom, written by Terry Goodkind; is the non stop. Action packed, second installment in the trilogy named after Richard & Kahlan. Admittedly, I came into this novel quite apprehensive. When reading the blurb from the publishers…I spent the next several months waiting for this release, debating whether or not I was even going to purchase the book. Shocking, as I have been reading Terry Goodkind‘s work for half my life. The blurb simply states….”If you wanted Richard and Kahlan to live happily ever after, you should have stopped reading at Confessor.” Instantly my brain went into overdrive and I am thinking that Mr. Goodkind is ultimately going to pull an RA Salvatore, or GRRM move on me. Killing off one, or both, of the characters with which he has built his astounding career. For as long as Terry Goodkind has been at the top of my favorite author list….for as long as I have sang praises for the world & character’s he has created…killing off Richard, Kahlan…or even Zedd & Cara would be a deal breaker for me.
I have discovered something about myself recently. I have immensely changed as a reader since I began the journey of Sword of Truth so long ago. Ironically, it was this beloved series that changed me. I never needed romance, or a love story in my literature before learning the soul deep love connection between Richard and Kahlan. A bond that readers have come to learn Can. Not. Be. Severed. No matter the obstacles they face. We all want to believe such love exists, the kind of love that when never surrendered, triumphs over any, and all things. We all want to believe it does not only exist in stories. This is why I claim the World of Sword of Truth to contain one of the most Epic love stories of all time. This is the type of love Richard Rahl, and Kahlan Amnell possess for each other, and in my perception….it is the entire foundation with which this world was built. For this reason I do not want to believe Goodkind will destroy everything he has created. Despite this cryptic line, I do not want to believe that the dust will never clear one last, final time. I do not want to believe there will never be peace for Richard and Kahlan, because truly, if this is to be the case….what have they been fighting for across the time of 11+ books? Why have we all been coming back novel after novel–our hearts having been broken, left bleeding for these two outstanding characters–who are just trying to have a life together? I for one hope for, and look forward to the ultimate reward, upon the finale of Richard and Kahlan’s harrowing journey. I not only want their Happily Ever After, I demand it, as someone who has spent time, money, and emotion on what will become of them. I read fiction as an escape, because in reality, there is not nearly enough happy endings. If the desire to someday see my two most favorite, fictional characters safe & happy, means I am no longer a “true” fantasy genre reader, then so be it. Now that my rant is over, I will move on to the actual review.
Long time veterans, and newcomers to the world of the Midlands alike, will find many elements of enjoyment in The Third Kingdom. Because we all experience books differently, I offer a little breakdown information for those attempting to decide whether or not to embark on this new journey. Readers who were not keen on Terry’s last two works (what is wrong with you *kidding*) will be happy to know that the Third Kingdom presents a style of world building, greatly similar to Terry’s earlier work. To put it simply…if you have missed Richard in all his “classic” glory. If your favorites were books 1-4. If you are a fan of Terry’s meticulous attention to detail. The way he repeats himself often, and painstakingly adds each individual thread until we can see the whole tapestry–this book is a must read.
I will take this moment to mention that those who have not read The First Confessor, Legend of Magda Searus, may find yourself somewhat confused throughout your navigation of The Third Kindgom. It isn’t necessary to read this novel prior to TTK, but I would highly recommend you do so. Without spoiling too much, I will say that Mr. Goodkind produces a unique take on evil beings that go bump in the night, and their origin can be found within The First Confessor. In Terry’s own words. ”The road beyond is unimaginably dark and fraught with danger.” This description is a tangible entity while reading. The story begins very close to where the Omen Machine left off, and yet everything has changed. Much like how Richard himself feels upon coming to, readers are met with a situation that is abstract, and produces great confusion. Through Richard’s addled wits, we grasp a broken conversation between two strange men. Richard struggles to rouse himself, taking in several facts consecutively. He and Kahlan are alone in the back of a wagon. Kahlan is non-responsive. And the soldiers of the First File, along with their friends; are nowhere to be found. It is here, as our hero struggles to get his bearings, that things take a drastic…and gory turn of events. Richard soon discovers that even though his desperation is great…he is without the ability to summon his magic, in order to protect himself and the unconscious woman he loves. Unbeknown at the time, Richard’s actions to save both he and Kahlan from the bloodthirsty Hedge Maid in the end of Omen Machine, has produced unforeseen, and severe consequences. From this moment on, Richard is equipped with only his staggering intelligence, his instincts as both a warrior & woods guide, the Sword of Truth, and the young, powerfully gifted (yet untutored) Samantha; to survive.
Richard learns through an ancient message left for him alone, that once again, the fate of the World will be decided by his actions. Somehow, he must save all of life, or be destroyed along with it. In signature Goodkind fashion, Richard must separate from Kahlan in order to ensure her salvation. In more ways than one, The Third Kingdom showcases a race against time, as Richard attempts to stop the conclusion heading towards him. If he fails, his people, friends, the woman he loves, himself…and the very existence of the world; will succumb to darkness.I have said it before, and I will say it again. Character driven stories are held within a league of their own. The Third Kingdom is full of heart pounding action, endless intrigue, terrifying villains…and yet it is Richard whom breathes life into this story. After half my life of watching this character transform, ever morphing into more….something magical and unexpected happened for me in this book. Stripped of his political power, without his lethal magic as a War Wizard, we see Richard devolved back to where it all began. Once more he is simply the Seeker of Truth. No more, and no less. This book resonated so profoundly within me, because Richard has only what is within his heart, and soul to utilize. Like many times before, he is considered by everyone around him; to be the most important person who walks among the living. The weight of the entire world rests upon his broad shoulders. Yet he still the type of hero who would lower his sword, and provide comfort for a terrified, young girl in need, rather than save himself. It has been a long while since we have seen Richard the man, instead of the Lord Rahl, and I personally found this element so brilliant in it’s delivery. Regretfully there are only a few glimpses of our heroine within the entirety of The Third Kingdom. Like with Richard, Kahlan comes to her senses with the realization that her gift is no longer at her disposal. Kahlan, stripped from her magic as the Mother Confessor, is powerless to prevent herself form being moved from the secure location with which Richard left her. Finding herself the unwilling guest of a man with dark, and nefarious motives, Kahlan must rely upon her wits, and finely honed skills in combat to escape. In classic, TG style, the ending of the Third Kingdom was a massive orchestra of conflicts, danger, action….and heartbreak. Yes Mr. Goodkind…indeed you walked a fine line with me on this one. In some ways, I wanted this characters happiness more than Richard and Kahlan’s. I understand the fuel you needed in order for your characters to ultimately triumph in the end, made this devastating blow necessary….but I am still mad at you. *sigh* I look on to the third novel, and reported conclusion of the Richard and Kahlan trilogy with mixed feelings of anticipation and anxiety. Over all, Mr. Goodkind delivers a phenomenal read with the finesse that few authors can achieve. Bravo.
Reviewed by Miranda