* Prices may differ from that shown
This is the seventh book in the 'Sword of Truth' series originally published in 2001. It maintains the quality of the previous book 'The Faith of the Fallen' after the mediocre 4th and 5th books 'Temple of the Winds' and 'Soul of the Fire' respectively.
Although this book obviously builds on the events outlined in the previous six instalments of the series it does take a very different perspective and adds many new characters to the story. More than any of the other books this could be read a as a 'stand alone' story and in the process you will pick up a lot of what's happened previously. Having said this it is better enjoyed if the previous instalments have already been read.
The previous book 'Faith of the Fallen' sees our hero Richard Cypher the 'Seeker of Truth' now called Richard Rahl the leader D'Haran Empire. D'Hara is the most powerful nation in the New World, and Richard became its leader after the death of his father the evil wizard Darken Rahl. Along with Kahlan the Mother Confessor, the spiritual leader of the New World and now with his wife he faces his greatest threat from the barbarian emperor Jagang who also has the power of the 'dreamwalker' being able to enter minds and control any person who is not sworn to follow Richard. The war has been going badly for Richard and even after a great victory in the heart of Jagang's empire the forces of the new world find themselves besieged in their own land and on the verge of defeat.
This seventh instalment differs from the rest in that the focus of the story for once is not Richard or Kahlan; in fact they hardly feature in the story. This book is seen from the side of the enemy and introduces three major new characters Oba and Jenssen, Richard's half brother and sister who are also the bastard offspring of the evil Darken Rahl and we also meet Sebastian Emperor Jagang's chief strategist. We follow much of the action from the point of view of the Old Word Empire and learn much more about the emperor Jagang and his plans. We soon discover that both Richard's half siblings Oba and Jennsen will play an important role in the outcome of the war and the salvation of the world from the forces of the keeper of the underworld.
It may seem strange to many followers of the series that this book veers so much away from the central characters that we have become used too over the past six volumes but I think in creating Jennsen and Oba the author has introduced a welcomed new thread to the story. We knew from previous books that Richard was not the only offspring of Darken Rahl and we had already met one of his half brothers, the healer Drefan but we never were told what part is any his other siblings had to play in the story or why Darken Rahl has ruthlessly hunted them down even if they had been born with no magical power and thus unlike Richard could not be a direct threat to him.
Goodkind has over the course of the series introduced some quite elaborate concepts about the nature of magic, additive and subtractive magic both dark and light aspects of magic and he has also introduced the idea of the different practitioners of magic from wizards and sorceresses to prophets and healers. With Jenssen and Oba he expands this view and adds yet another layer to his world. There are it seems people beyond the power of magic, invincible in a way but also vulnerable to manipulation by the forces around them.
I have to admit that initially I was a bit impatient to follow on the story from book six and find out what would happen to Richard and Kahlan after their confrontation with the empire's forces in the Old World. In this respect the flow of the story does stall has we approach the war from a totally different perspective. However Jenssen and Oba are both such intriguing characters and their back story explains so much of what occurred in a time even before the very first instalment is set that I became totally enthralled with this new slant on the story. Jenssen especially is a fascinating character and her journey of discovery as she becomes aware of her role in the momentous events around her and her power to influence them is expertly told. The pace of the story is excellent as we follow the main characters as breakneck speed as they try to evade capture and travel through many lands to achieve their destiny.
As usual Goodkind doesn't spare our blushed or our sensibilities. We come across some fairly explicit sexual content and some disturbing visceral and some would say gratuitous violence. In the past some of the brutal sometimes sexual violence shown towards the female characters in the story has led to accusation that Goodkind stories have a misogynistic slant. I'm not sure I would agree but in any event in this book the violence shows no gender bias. Goodkind also treats us to some gripping action set pieces none more so as the storming of the Confessor's Palace by the emperor's forces where powerful magic and cold steel clash in an epic confrontation.
As usual Goodkind cloaks his characters in shades of light and dark always leaving the doubt that people might not be what they seem to be. Can anyone be truly trusted in a world where magical illusion and political treachery is rife, where even the gift of prophecy cannot be relied on to foresee the truth to come? The themes underlying this book is the same as in previous books, the need to search for purpose and freedom in one's life, the belief in the ability of every person to take charge of their own destiny and the idea that truth will always win over deceit and evil in the end.
Towards the end of the book the story gets back 'on track' but we are still left with many unresolved questions that no doubt will be answered in the next instalments.
Overall 'The Pillars of Creation' is a welcomed addition to the 'Sword of Truth' series. In common with many of the other books it is extremely dark at times often brutal and can be relied upon to keep the reader on his or her toes and not for the squeamish. Be warned this is definitely an adult fantasy series.
One more note of caution which I feel I have to make in all my reviews of the books in series...if you have come across the 'Sword of Truth' stories from watching the TV adaptation 'Legend of the Seeker' (shown on SyFy channel in the UK) and thought what a waste of time it was...please, please try the books, they are infinitely better than the TV series. In fact apart from using some of the main characters the TV adaptation only very loosely follows the story and to be honest suffers from some shoddy production values. I suppose to adapt the old adage "Don't judge a book by its cover" I would say "Don't judge a book buy its TV adaptation!".
'The Pillars of Creation' the seventh instalment in the 'Sword of Truth' series is available form Amazon.co.uk for £5.34 (including p&p) at the time of writing this review.
The Pillars of Creation is the 7th book in the epic Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind. It follows on from the previous book Faith of the fallen. This book came out back in November 2001 and was another great success for Terry Goodking. By this point the fans were well and truely hooked on Goodkind's epic fantasy writing.
I must mention that I read the first six books in this series about 5 years ago. At that point the series was not complete so at the end of book six i called it a day, for a while anyway. In the last few months I bought the final five books of the series and starting reading them again. I could not recall everything that had happened but after a brief look at the plots I thought I would soon remember what had been happening and get back involved with the characters. However....
This book takes the story in a completely different direction. The characters we are so familiar with, Richard and Kahlan for example are not even mentioned till right at the end of the book. This was bad news for me as I was not convinced I was reading the correct series for a while. Found it very confusing!
This book focuses on the story of Jennsen, she has been chased all her life by assasins sent by the Lord Rahl. She is an ungifted child of the former Lord Rahl and so must be killed off. One day Jennsen meets a stranger who tells her she must stop running and stand up for herself. The story follows Jennsen on her quest to change her life forever.
It's good that Goodkind is introducing new characters to the story, but to be honest the fact he spends an entire book focusing on one new character is just to much. I was so excited to get back into this series of books and pick up the tale where I left it. However this book didn't do that. To be honest you probably don't need to read this book, you could just skip onto the next one and there would not be that many things you would struggle with in the next.
Terry Goodkind is an excellent story teller, so in it's own right this is still a very good book. The drama is good, the description excellent and the character development is wonderfully detailed. But probably to much, Jennsen is really just a side character yet we spend an entire book learning about her. Strange really.
Overall all though this is a good book, I was very disapointed by it. It was not what the fans wanted, they had been wainting almost 18 months to follow the story, and basically they didn't get anything at the end of their wait! No real developments on what has happened to Richard and Kahlan and I just felt cheated somehow.
Usually with these books you cannot just read one, you will not be able to follow the story and it won't make much sense. However with this one you probably can read this one on its own. I don't really see why you would want to but just thought would mention it.
So if you have read the previous 6 books I am sure you will feel like you have to read this one. But to be honest you will probably just want to get through it as quickly as possible so you can resume the story!
The seventh installment of Terry Goodkind's SWORD OF TRUTH fantasy series takes the reader in an entirely diffrent direction to the any of the previous novels and is an excellent place for new-comers to jump onboard as much of the back story is explained during the course of the novel.
Why is it so diffrent? Well, for starters Richard Rahl- Seeker of Truth- and his wife Kahlan- the Mother Confessor- the main characters from each of the preceeding books, are here relegated to only a cameo role. The story instead moves the focus from the lives of these two characters to those of people never encountered before- a pair of civilians, whose links to the family Rahl will bring them deep into a conflict, which untill now, they will only casually been aware of.
Jensen and her mother have spent their whole life on the run hunted by the armies of the evil Necromancer, Darken Rahl. Jensen is one of Rahl's many illegitimate children and, as such, is impervious to all forms of magic and exists as a void in the world- unable to be detected by magical means. In her head, she hears voices telling her to surrender and is forced on the run again shortly after the death of her mother at the hands of those who she believes are agents of Rahl. Accompanied by a stranger she knows only as Sebastian, she slowly begins to learn first about the death of Darken Rahl and Richards ascension to the position of Lord of D'Hara, then about the ongoing conflict with the Emperor of the Old World, Jagang. Convinced by Sebastian that her only chance of freedom lies with the death of Richard Rahl, Jensen sets in motion a deadly set of events that threatens to unleash The Keeper of the Underworld upon our world.
Meanwhile Oba, another of Richard Rahl's siblings comes to awareness of his true heritage and powers and begins to strike out at all those he believes have suppressed him all his life. A deadly simpleton with an even deadlier rage ( think The Trashcan Man from Stephen King's novel, The Stand ), his path intertwines with that of Jensen as their fates becvome drawn closer and closer together by The Keeper.
When the end comes it is as sudden and as action packed as you have come to expect from this superior fantasy author. Things come to a head and are tied up very nicely just in time for the next installment to begin.
The change of perspective in this novel breathes new life into a genre that often is in danger of becoming tired and cliched; keeping the series fresh and leaving you ready for what is next to come.
The only fault I can find with this series is the constant similarity to Robert Jordan's WHEEL OF TIME series (which I also read and enjoy ) though Goodkind is, I feel, a much better writer. There are also similarities at times to Terry Brooks' SWORD OF SHANNARA series though again, this epic fantasy never feels quite so contrite as Brooks' books. For me Terry Goodkind is by far the superior of the three and, with this book, he proves it.
If you're a fan of the series but were feeling a bit so-so about the last couple of installments, give this a go and I'm sure you will be won over once again.
If you've never read Goodkind, give this a go and I'm sure it will want to make you go back and read the others.
Either way- this is what good fantasy is all about; the struggle of the little people caught up in global conflict; a classic story of good verses evil with all the complications of real life thrown in for good measure.
It would be nice to see a bit more of Wizard Zorander in the next novel though as, for one of the series' best characters, here again he is very underused though something tells me this is probably for a reason. Suspicion tells me that the main characters' lack of presence in this novel will be more than made up for in the next installment.
I for one will certainly be tuning in....