Book Review: The First Confessor by Terry Goodkind

It’s been a while since I added content to the website, outside of Pissing into the Wind, but I’ve finally got a new piece up!

Why not head over to Nerdgasm and check out my new review of Terry Goodkind’s The First Confessor?

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4 Comment

  1. neal says: Reply

    As far as I can tell, there’s no commenting on the book reviews?

    Anyway, I was immediately intrigued by a review of Goodkind. I don’t actually care for the dude or his prose, though I’ve only read the Sword of Truth. But more generally, I’m totally with you on the ability of sff to get at the important themes in life, as much as any other genre (I have The Ocean at the End of the Lane on my shelf to be read right now). In addition to my dad blog, I have a lesser-trafficked book review blog, where it’s my main intention to review sff novels with the same critical eye I’d take to something from the literary canon, and thereby highlight genre novels that can stand up to any more “erudite” comparison. And I’m totally curious about what the other series are that you used for your thesis.

    1. thenerd says: Reply

      There used to be Facebook commenting on the rest of the website, but Facebook changed the way they handle pages, and I never bothered to fix the code. I suppose I really should take a swing at it!

      First, let me say that it’s nice to meet someone else who sees the promise in fantasy. There aren’t a ton of us out there!

      Goodkind can definitely be an acquired taste; he’s got some REALLY…interesting…views on things that I can’t agree with, but I do think there’s something worth looking at from a genre perspective.

      I did about as many novels as can be crammed into an M.A. thesis 🙂 I started with Tolkien in my introduction (specifically LOTR, though I did touch on the Hobbit a bit), and began each chapter with a brief look at the trilogy and how it fit the chapter themes, before diving into the main novels to be examined.

      The first chapter compared the first three books of the Stephen R. Donaldson series The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever and the first 6 of Goodkind’s SoT series. The subject of was moral soldiers and redemption.

      The second chapter used the same books, but looked at the function of fatherhood (real and surrogate), and development of masculinity.

      The third chapter compared J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series with Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry, looking at the role of the willing sacrifice/martyr.

      I spent most of the thesis trying to stay at a 1,000 ft view of the novels, picking individual pieces out of novels, rather than indepthly examining each novel. It didn’t change the amount of work I had to do (each novel had to be put under the microscope), but it made dealing with that many novels in 150 pages possible….Never again! lol.

      1. neal says: Reply

        I considered a Master’s but decided it was just too hard for me to finish papers for it to end up committing. But I admit I’m kinda jealous of the research you’d be doing for that kind of thesis. Really interesting. Also, I haven’t read at least half of those series, so it’s a kick in the butt to get out there and explore some new stuff.

        1. thenerd says: Reply

          I’ve had people tell me they’re thinking about doing an M.A. in English a few times, and I always tell them the same thing: if you don’t have a burning need to speak on a specific topic, something that is going to crawl through your brain until you can get it out on paper, it’s probably best to run the other way. lol. It’s a long, painful process that only becomes worth it if you really love what you’ve created.

          As for the ones you may not have read, I would suggest Kay as being one of the finest fantasy writers out there right now. The Fionavar Tapestry has a pretty comfortable, fantasy feel, but with a great framework of mythology underneath it–much like Gaiman’s American Gods in some ways, but the tone and feel are very different. Some of his standalones are even better; Tigana is a masterpiece, IMO.

          The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant are must reads for any real fantasy buffs, IMO. They explore the anti-hero in a brilliant way, casting a bitter, disillusioned leper as the hero/anti-hero. He’s repulsive and easy to dislike in a lot of ways, which is what makes the whole thing so brilliant.

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