I am a little emotional, as this is the last book in the series, and finishing a series always makes me sad. I was a little disappointed, too, though. I preferred this book to its past two books—Chainfire and Phantom, respectively—but I was also disappointed.
First of all, I still love the characters: Cara rocks; Kahlan should be queen of something; Nicci is slowly growing on me; and Gratch… just… Gratch. I just have some issues with the storytelling.
The series has gotten incredibly complex. It began with one out-and-out villain, one out-and-out hero, and one badass leader named Kahlan. Goodkind made this series philosophical, so even during the first book there were heavy debates on the soul and integrity, stuff that you don’t ordinarily stumble across. The debates were interesting in the beginning, so I liked them. But by the time Book 11 has come about, I’m a little tired of talk. There are a LOT of monologues in this series. Zedd is prone monologues because he is the Who’s Who in the magic world; Nicci gives long-winded lectures because she doesn’t understand humanity; and Richard gives speeches because he’s (unbelievably) self-righteous. In fact, Cara is one of the only character who gives straight answers.
While the speeches make sense, I also wanted the conversations to have more back-and-forth dialogue. It always seems like Richard, Zedd, and Nicci know everything, and they have to explain everything to other people. In defense of Cara: she is intelligent, loyal, and pragmatic; surely, she doesn’t need to be talked-at all of the time? That was the problem: The monologues became grating because I felt like I was being constantly talked-down to. I felt like the author didn’t trust me to connect the dots on my own; I kept wishing that Goodkind would surprise me instead. I wanted to have him throw me curveballs, like he did in the earlier books. After all, for all of the talking, it took surprise and an off-the-cuff trick to defeat the enemy. The story could have used more of that.
I appreciated the callbacks to the first books: the Mud People, Rachel being awesome, Gratch, dragons, Samuel and Shota’s weird bond, Jensen, etc. In fact, I wish that those things tied in better with the final story. I got so excited when Gratch appeared, I was hoping he would be more prevalent to the story.
The ending is a little too cheesy and deux-ex-machina for my taste, but that’s fine. I sometimes wished that Richard screwed up a bit more. He is idolized by everyone; is it bad to wish that he irritated some of the good guys? Regardless, I wish the ending clicked more for me, but it still got me sentimental. This was a really cool series, and it sucks to say goodbye.