Friday, August 21, 2015

Left Turn to Albuquerque

I’ve known the person who picked this book since high school. I can still remember the exact moment I met her because she walked toward me as if we were already friends – and we still are. We went to prom together. We danced at each other’s weddings. She is one of those friends whom if I saw her tomorrow, we could sit and chat as if it had been only ten days since we had seen each other instead of ten years. Which is why it pains me to say that, judging by her choice, she has horrible taste in books (sorry D!).

#59 – Wizard’s First Rule – Terry Goodkind
Recommended by: DR

                It was an odd-looking vine.

I was ambling along, mindlessly enjoying another fantasy adventure where a guy has to go on a quest to a land he doesn’t know, that contains magic, with a woman he doesn’t know (and subsequently falls in love with), and there are wizards, and good guys, and bad guys, and magic boxes and so on and all was well and good until, um, holy shit, did the good guy just murder a child? A CHILD? Sure, she was a spoiled brat who was going to grow up to be a masochistic murderer, but still, the good guy, the guy we are supposed to be rooting for, just flattened a little girl with one punch, severing her tongue, breaking all her teeth, and effectively killing her.


This is the exact moment the entire book went off the rails. The next few chapters dive into ritualistic torture, sexual torture, and flat out mental deprivation without batting an eye. The entire book up to this point is a standard quest in a middling fantasy story and suddenly, we are in American Psycho. Did the editor die? Fall asleep, drop his bookmark, wake up, and miss a few chapters? I was willing to ignore the dumb ass name of the main bad guy, the weird references to Alice in Wonderland and The Hobbit, and the fact that the entire book was one long, drawn out first act that jumped suddenly, and without warning, directly into the end of the third. I’ll even ignore the fact that everyone cried all the time and spent more time giving monologues than actually doing anything significant. But I cannot avoid narrative dissonance. One section of the book was so blatantly unlike the other that I feel like I might have been punk’d. Did someone cut and paste the torture porn part of their book into mine? I’ll never know, but if you think I will read any more books in this series, you are out of your mind. 

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