Review. Terry Goodkind, The Pillars Of Creation

Every series of considerable size has its duds. Heck, even a trilogy is prone to having that middle book that’s clearly bridging the gap between the onset and aftermath. There is, however, a difference between a dud and a downright bad book with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. When it comes to Goodkind’s Sword Of Truth series, Soul of the Fire, the fifth in the series, can be considered a dud. The Pillars Of Creation, however, is a prime example of the latter. At least, in my opinion.

A young woman’s struggle for salvation from her inner demons, and from ancient injustice, takes on terrifying dimensions. For everyone…
Richard and Kahlan are reunited, but with an army occupying their homeland, they must venture into a desolate land. But their quest turns to terror when they become the hopeless prey of a tireless hunter.
If Richard and Kahlan are to survive, Richard must face against the demons stalking among the Pillars of Creation.

Noticed how the blurb is all about Richard and Kahlan? Well, as much as the blurb is about them, just as much is the actual book not about them. We left our beloved star-crossed lovers finally reunited again in the Old World, with Cara by their side and Nicci as a new and powerful ally to their cause. Imagine my eagerness to continue their story and to see where the addition of Nicci will take them. Imagine my even greater surprise when the first chapter featured an all new character. And the second. And the one after that, and.. In fact, it’s not till the very end that we meet up with our main characters once again.
having to sit through this book is quite the ordeal
Quite a bold move, halfway through the series, to change gears and shift focus completely. Seeing how annoying Richard has become, it might have been a welcome change of scenery but the one condition for this to succeed was not met. It has to be remotely interesting and it wasn’t. Pillars does some additional worldbuilding by adding the pristinely ungifted or “Holes in the world”. These descendants of the House Rahl have no spark of magic in them and thus are immune to and invisible for Additive magic. This being a reread, I am aware of the relative importance of the ungifted in future events, but having to sit through this book is quite the ordeal. It’s not the first time that Goodkind chose to swith main characters out. In fact, the other dud, Soul Of The Fire, starts with a whole chunk of non-Richard and Kahlan. The difference being that before you reach the halfway point, they join up with the new storyline. Pillars makes you wait until the very end. Granted, the change of perspective shows how easily it is to persuade people who don’t know Richard first hand of his alledged not so pure intentions. This is illustrated by the storyline of Jennsen, who is on the run from her perception of Richard. While this idea might be more than fine, a setup like Soul might have made this book more easily digested.
our new main characters aren’t the brightest stars in the sky
Matter is not helped, of course, by the fact that our new main characters aren’t the brightest stars in the sky. Jennsen is your typical gullible girl who is sheltered beyond her own well-being and suffers terribly from a severe case of ignorance. Oba, on the other hand, is just another dumb brute, as if this series needed another. I failed to care for either one of them and actually felt most for Betty, the goat. The side-characters who tag along for the rest of the series are fine, but forgettable and have no distinct personality whatsoever.
The bright side of not having a whole book of Richard, is that his preachy complexion doesn’t rear its ugly head. No monotonous monologues about freedom or religion in this novel, but the writing does feel clunky. By now, I really miss the smooth writing of the very first book. But along with Richard’s charm and Kahlan’s independence, this has evaporated long ago.

With Pillars Of Creation, this series has met its all-time low and it was a steep fall coming from the greatness that was the previous book. When you reached rock bottom, it’s safe to say that it can only go uphill from here. The question remains, though, is it necessary to hit rock bottom in the first place? Was this book necessary? I believe that, since Goodkind is stuck on repeat for the first hundred pages of every novel since the second, you can easily skip this one without missing all that much. New characters might suddenly walk among the old, but in terms of plot this one is utter filler.

★ ★

Still, if you want the series complete, buy it here.

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