Review. Terry Goodkind, Faith Of The Fallen

Reading -or re-reading for that matter- Goodkind’s Sword Of Truth series is like riding a rollercoaster. All in all a pretty fun ride, but it’s not without brilliant hights and – at times – terrible lows. Faith Of The Fallen, the sixt in the series, is part of the former group and is a book I will always mention as one of the highlights of the entire series. If not the last…

As his beloved Kahlan lies close to death, Richard Rahl, who distrusts prophecy more than anyone, is confronted by a compelling vision – one that bears a terrible price. It would mean taking Kahlan away to safety while abandoning his people to a grim fate.
As savage hordes stand poised to invade their homeland, Richard and Kahlan’s devotion, not only to each other but to their cause and their duty, is imperiled in the descending fury of war. Amid the turmoil, Nicci, a woman from Richard’s past, haunted by her memory of him, makes a fateful decision. Despite Nicci’s hunger to understand the source of Richard’s indomitable will, her burning passion to destroy him commits her to the unthinkable.

After the events in Soul Of The Fire, which lead to Kahlan hovering on the edge of life, Richard took her and Cara to a little hand-made house in the mountains, where Kahlan can recover at her own pace. Apart from Kahlan’s misfortune, another part in the decision is played by Anderith’s refusal of Richard’s leadership. In his head, because of this one refusal, he seems to think that nobody wants him or at least isn’t worthy of his leadership. So… what about the attachment of many countries to D’Hara? Every single country that swore allegiance to him stopped being relevant because of this one little country of fools. This whole line of thought seems a bit contrived, farfatched and a lil’ egocentric to say the least, but that’s how we’ve got to know Richard ever since book two.
The life up in the mountains is as peaceful as it can be and Richard really excells in woodcrafting. Talented lad, isn’t he? I mean, if we made a list of all the things he excells at by the end of the series.. No wonder he’s a wizard! The peace of his mountain life, however, is breached when Nicci comes to take Richard to the Old World and links herself to Kahlan in such a way that whatever happens to Nicci, happens to Kahlan. Talking about ye good ol’ blackmail.
From this point on, the plot is split in two which resembles the one of Stone Of Tears. Richard gone with the witches and Kahlan tries to cool down her fury by riding to war. Each to their own, I guess.
ye good ol’ blackmail
The difference however is that where Stone Of Tears was really engrossing plotwise, Faith Of The Fallen does the same characterwise. No big magic showdowns, but rather some psychology and morality. The main star of the book is Nicci, who does a 180 when it comes to her beliefs and this turn is what lifts this book above the muddle. When we first got to know her, she had a dark soul and that darkness is what this book starts with. But slowly, that darkness is replaced by compassion and, perhaps even love? This transformation is a struggle, but if it weren’t for Nicci, this would be a drab to read. Luckily, Nicci ís present and by the end of the book, I found myself loving her. Maybe Richard should rethink his marriage to Kahlan? Because really, the whole starcrossed lovers-thing is getting ridiculous. I get that they are meant to be together and are a perfect match, but Richard and Kahlan are so boring in their immaculate perfection. Richard and Nicci have a spark, they have tension, passion! The change in dynamic brought some life in the characters and I was willing to put up with Kahlan helplessly wailing about it for a couple hundred pages. All the while Nicci and Richard are together, we get a glimpse of the Old World and even though it is horrible and corrupt, it makes for a fascinating contrast with D’Hara’s glory.
Richard should rethink his marriage to Kahlan
Kahlan’s journey is also pretty cool to read, but it pales in comparison to the Nicci/Richard storyline. What Kahlan is going through is nothing we haven’t seen before and thus holds less surprise.
While on the whole, I think this book is a winner, it also marks the definite turning point in the series. Whereas Soul Of The Fire already displayed Richard’s knack for droning on to the extreme, Faith Of The Fallen takes it all more than one step further. I can’t say that I didn’t find it interesting what he had to say. I probably won’t say it again, because on the whole I think Richard is a boring know-it-all, but the themes of this book really touched something and as a result, Richard’s preaching did make sense and didn’t frustrate me all the time. You might have forgotten it by now, and you’ll probably won’t remember when you read the rest of the series, but Faith Of The Fallen displays how great a writer Goodkind can be when he puts his heart in it. This instalment is one of my favourites with reason. Some very touching, moving moments, beautifully written. Heartbreaking.

So, to sum things up. A big book, lots of depth but sparse on the big action of the previous books but this is replaced by excellent characterisation. Though rather small in scale, the events in the Old World are really gripping and makes you think a bit about morality and just government. The result of these actions, however, put things in motion that will take this series to the endgame.

★ ★ ★ ★

Make a statue, make a statement. Buy the book.

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