So about 600 pages in, I have put my finger on exactly what my problem with the second Sword of Truth book is. It’s not just that it’s dragging, it’s not just that it’s depressing, it’s more than that.
A couple of years ago I took a Leisure Learning writing class. One of the ways one could flesh out a plot, we learned there, was to ask one question: what else can go wrong for this character?
Which is all well and good, but at some point shit has to stop going wrong and you have to let your universe be nice to your characters or else you end up with 900 pages of doom de doom doom doom de doomy doomy doom. IN ONE BOOK. OF TWELVE.
One of the example stories we looked at in that class was “Hansel and Gretel.” You have these two kids. First, their parents are assholes and dump them off in the woods. And then when they find their way home via a trail of pebbles, they get dumped in the woods again. And then the birds eat the bread crumbs they left to find their way home by. And then they find a gingerbread house which is awesome, but therein lives a witch who locks them up in cages because she wants to eat them.
But then, then they push the witch into the oven, run like hell, and are rescued by a kind woodsman who takes them home to his wife and they live happily ever after. And the story ends.
Now if Terry Goodkind had written it, that woodsman and his wife would have been even bigger assholes than Hansel and Gretel’s parents and given them a bowl of hot tar and a beating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And then random bandits would come along and viciously murder Mr. and Mrs. Woodsman (which would fall under the “worse” column because naturally, 100 pages of thrice-daily tar and beatings later, Hansel and Gretel would be totally devoted to their new asshole parents) and sell Hansel and Gretel to slave traders. And then they would be sold to a mine where they’d have to gather burning sulfur with their teeth 23 hours a day. And then when they escaped, a wolf would grab Hansel and drag him away. Gretel would end up being “rescued” by a dude who does creepy shit to her for some crazy evil magic reason, and so on and so forth until Hansel showed up around page 850 with his new wolf family to save the day only to find out something horrible about their lineage or some shit, and that would end the first book of twelve or so.
Oh, and Gretel would be raped about twenty or thirty times. In each book.
I’ll stick with Stone of Tears–shit, I’ve already read 600 pages of the damn thing, I might as well finish it–and then depending on how it ends I might peek at the next book, but after that I’ll probably move on to some more Lemony Snicket which is at least depressing in an enjoyable way or run screaming back into the comforting embrace of Discworld.
Speaking of which, I just finished Guards! Guards! and I am told that’s not even the best Watch book by far, ohhhhh my God. ♥♥♥ Also, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here, but I do so love that the greatest mathematician on the entire Disc is a camel named You Bastard.
Mirrored from Fire of Unknown Origin.