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Battlefield Earth
Temple of the Winds

Temple of the Winds
4th volume, Sword of Truth

(written by Terry Goodkind)


Reasonably engrossing, but burdened by many flaws and lack of action.


2 stars out of 5


Having read the first 3 installments, overall I've enjoyed the Sword of Truth series. Until now.

Temple of the Winds pretty much follows the same formula as Stone of Tears, second volume of the series. Main characters Richard & Kahlan's marriage plans are put on hold by a deadly magical threat, and Kahlan must betray Richard to save his life and the lives of others. The formula worked before, it doesn't here.

(spoilers ahead, not that there's much worth spoiling:)

I found the book as page turning as any of the others, up until about halfway through, I found the plot suffering due to lack of action. Basically for most of the novel, all Richard and Kahlan can do is "sit down, shut up, and wait for a sign", while a deadly plague spread by magic sweeps through their kingdom. Seems the plague was invoked by agents of the series' antagonist Emperor Jagang, who was incensed that Richard made a children's game non-violent. What exactly is the point of this? Show us what an evil bastard Jagang is? That point was made abundantly clear in the previous novel, this plot point should be filed under the department of redundancy department.

Besides Jagang, we also have Drefan Rahl, Richard's half brother. Healer by day, graduate of the Jack the Ripper Academy at night. His inclusion made no sense at all: maybe I missed something but how could Richard be so stupid as not to do a simple background check? Like maybe sending his agents to talk to Drefan's order? They'd find out Drefan wasn't really a high priest, maybe they'd discover his particular predisposition towards woman, maybe Richard would get suspicious and have his people tail Drefan, etc etc... major plot hole there.

The climax of the story where Kahlan must betray Richard in order to stop the plague is so ludicrously contrived.. what am I reading here, fantasy or daytime soap??? My enjoyment of the book dropped so fast afterwards I gave myself the bends. This novel centers mostly around Kahlan, but I had a hard time believing this was the same stalwart warrior and strategic genius from Stone of Tears. There was a scene where she jumps out of a magical portaling entity called the Sliph and singlehandedly gets the drop on some of Jagang's flunkies. Then barely a couple of chapters later she jumps out of the Sliph only to be disabled by Drefan - while he's distracted with torturing someone. Considering what happened earlier, I didn't buy that for a minute. I guess we've got to have a teeth-gnashingly suspensful moment no matter how ludicrous it is.

As if those flaws weren't bad enough, this novel does absolutely nothing to advance the overall story: the war with Jagang's Imperial Order. Oh there's some tiny little mentions here and their about the Order's expeditionary force being wiped out by Richard's advanced forces. I wish that point had been better explored, maybe Richard and Kahlan could have spent more time directing that part of the war effort instead of running around like chickens with their heads cut off while they wait for the Temple of the Winds to send a signal? On a positive note, I found new respect for Richard's grandfather Zedd, supposedly captured in a magic-blocking collar in the last novel. Here we find out he had the power to escape at his leisure all along. There's also a subplot involving wizard-prophet Nathan and his efforts against the Imperial Order. If only his and Zedd's subplots were given more attention... *sigh*

Though I did enjoy most of Temple of the Winds, it definitely left a vile taste in my mouth upon completion. I hope this one's just an anomalous low-point in the series. That's my 2 cents (and 2 stars) worth.

- Rishi Jagessar