This is the 4th time I’ve read this book and for the 4th time in all those years since I’ve first started this series, I’ve come to the same conclusion. This series is one with flaws and Soul Of The Fire is one of them. It might not be the worst of them all, but it certainly is one of the least interesting of the series.
It stands to reason that this review contains spoilers for the previous books in the series. Also, I might lose myself in a little rant, so spoilers for this one as well..
Richard and Kahlan are finally married and enjoying their wedding night back in the Spirit House in the Village of the Mud People. Soon, sudden and unexplainable deaths begin to occur, and Richard comes to the conclusion that when Kahlan called forth the Chimes in order to save him, they remained free, causing havoc.
Zedd sends Richard and Kahlan off to the Wizard’s Keep in Aydindril to get a special bottle that contains a spell that will stop the threat. While en-route, Richard, Kahlan, and their Mord-Sith protector Cara are sidetracked into dealing with the people of Anderith, who have a powerful weapon of mass destruction called the Dominie Dirtch. They find that the leadership of Anderith wishes to surrender to the Imperial Order rather than surrender to the D’Haran Empire. As Richard tries his best to convince the people of Anderith of the danger the Imperial Order poses, he becomes firmly convinced that the Chimes are loose.
The conclusion of the events in the previous installment, Temple Of The Winds, didn’t turn out to be the happily ever after Richard and Kahlan dreamed of. As it turns out, to save Richard from dying, Kahlan, accidentally, released the Chimes who are out to destroy all magic. So how do we stop them? Well, they need a soul for this, the soul they were promised they’d get when crossing over from the underworld. This means Richard’s soul.
Let’s summarise: Kahlan wanted to save Richard so she, without her knowing, summoned the Chimes to save his soul and thus promising them his soul… Bummer.
Apart from this strange “we’ll save you now and kill you later” attitude, the concept of the Chimes had the potential to become a good and entertaining book. Alas, the fist time these fearful destroyers of magic appear, they appear as… a chicken. Since there is a monsterchicken on the loose, we spend a good hundred pages hunting chickens. So far for the Chimes. In their defence, they do have some nice kills, like the chapter where the girl is consumed by flames. But overall they come across as quite tame.
“there is a monsterchicken on the loose
What about the rest of this novel, cause it’s a big book of almost 700 pages and not all can be about chickens on the loose, right? Right. The whole Chimes-issue brings our beloved Richard and Kahlan to Anderith, a city which was never ever ever mentioned before. Before they get there, however, we are introduced to Anderith. Maybe introduced is a wrong word, cause as it turns out, the history and current political situation and culture of that country are being shoved down our throat. I don’t make a fuss about getting to know a new part of a world, on the contrary, it can be quite a refreshment. Anderith, however, isn’t. We get to know it all through the eyes of some characters who are as interesting as the dust gathered under my bed. I don’t give a damn about them and they are really, really, really annoying.
To answer my question: the rest of the novel we are bored to death because we get to know a country and some lacklustre characters who will never ever ever be mentioned again in books six to eleven. Thank you very much.
When Richard and Kahlan do get involved in the action, the spark is missing, and by the spark I mean Cara. It is Cara who cranks it up and since she’s sent off on her own little mission, there’s not much fun to be had cause Du Chaillu is a poor replacement.
“Voldemort wouldn’t have survived Philosopher’s Stone if Richard went to Hogwarts
Talking about Richard, that boy really needs to big up his self esteem. He’s always whining about how he doesn’t know how to do the hocus-pocus, but in the last twenty pages or so, he manages to destroy a lake, summon the Chimes and get them dancing around him ánd open a gate to some weird space and guide the Chimes there because he built a bridge out of black lightning. All in five pages max!!
Harry Potter didn’t know how to do magic when he fist went to Hogwarts, Richard does. I bet Voldemort wouldn’t have survived The Philosopher’s Stone if Richard went to Hogwarts instead of Harry. This isn’t the first time he went al whiney about his magic, remember those pretty towers between the Old and New World? Yeah, the ones who contain really powerful magic. Yeah, the ones he destroyed. Nope, this boy really doesn’t know how to do the hocus pocus… *sigh* It isn’t only magic he gets all whiney about. Anderith – a really stupic country with boring people who is going to hell anyway – said ‘no’ to him when he asked/demanded/preached to surrender and he concludes the ‘world rejected him’. Yes, we all like our hero sobbing in bed over not getting his candy since he didn’t eat his veggies. This is also the book where Kahlan really starts to annoy me. I do wonder why I once liked these books so much, since the main characters are bugging me before I’m halfway through the series…
Another flaw of this one, is that the writing turns to preaching and never turns back. Richard already had a knack for droning on and on about his ideas and ideals, but here he has it really turned on, hasn’t he?
So why still 3 stars?
Fist of all, because I don’t do halfsies – if I did, I would have knocked a half one off. Second, these books never fail to entertain me, despite the frequent rolling of the eyes in this installment and it isn’t terrible. And third, there are some nice things here as well, including some really nasty political manipulations and I learned how to throw a hell of a dinner party! But coming of the back of books one to four, this one is a bit puzzling.
★ ★ ★