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On the day she awoke remembering nothing but her name, Kahlan Amnell became the most dangerous woman alive.  For everyone else, that was the day that the world began to end. As her husband, Richard, desperately searches for his beloved, whom only he remembers, he knows that if she doesn't soon discover who she really is, she will unwittingly become the instrument that will On the day she awoke remembering nothing but her name, Kahlan Amnell became the most dangerous woman alive.  For everyone else, that was the day that the world began to end. As her husband, Richard, desperately searches for his beloved, whom only he remembers, he knows that if she doesn't soon discover who she really is, she will unwittingly become the instrument that will unleash annihilation.  But Kahlan learns that if she ever were to unlock the truth of her lost identity, then evil itself would finally possess her, body and soul. If she is to survive in a murky world of deception and betrayal, where life is not only cheap but fleeting, Kahlan must find out why she is such a central figure in the war-torn world swirling around her.  What she uncovers are secrets darker than she could ever have imagined.


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On the day she awoke remembering nothing but her name, Kahlan Amnell became the most dangerous woman alive.  For everyone else, that was the day that the world began to end. As her husband, Richard, desperately searches for his beloved, whom only he remembers, he knows that if she doesn't soon discover who she really is, she will unwittingly become the instrument that will On the day she awoke remembering nothing but her name, Kahlan Amnell became the most dangerous woman alive.  For everyone else, that was the day that the world began to end. As her husband, Richard, desperately searches for his beloved, whom only he remembers, he knows that if she doesn't soon discover who she really is, she will unwittingly become the instrument that will unleash annihilation.  But Kahlan learns that if she ever were to unlock the truth of her lost identity, then evil itself would finally possess her, body and soul. If she is to survive in a murky world of deception and betrayal, where life is not only cheap but fleeting, Kahlan must find out why she is such a central figure in the war-torn world swirling around her.  What she uncovers are secrets darker than she could ever have imagined.

30 review for Phantom, Limited Edition

  1. 5 out of 5

    Icarus

    Goodkind imitates one of his characters, Jagang the Just, as he tortures this story and rapes his plot to the point where he stretches this one hundred page novella into a 673 page brick. Almost nothing happens in this book. Mostly the characters talk. And talk. And talk. They tell each other things they've already told other characters. We've all heard of "Show, don't tell." Someone needs to tell Goodkind to "Tell, don't show." I don't need all this plot recounting. I don't need the same convers Goodkind imitates one of his characters, Jagang the Just, as he tortures this story and rapes his plot to the point where he stretches this one hundred page novella into a 673 page brick. Almost nothing happens in this book. Mostly the characters talk. And talk. And talk. They tell each other things they've already told other characters. We've all heard of "Show, don't tell." Someone needs to tell Goodkind to "Tell, don't show." I don't need all this plot recounting. I don't need the same conversation to take place between different sets of characters in each book. At one point, they spend, no exaggeration, 133 pages on one single conversation! Seriously! Go count! 133 pages on just how evil the Commun--er, the libera--I mean, the Empire is. I'm not the first to point out that every single novel in this series centers on Richard struggling to avoid losing his freedom and Kahlan struggling to avoid being sexually assaulted. In this novel, where Kahlan is invisible to most people, she is sexually assaulted or threatened by virtually every man who sees her! And the thirty pages of buildup to Jagang almost raping her should be wonderful reading to all the social misfits reading this series who can't get a woman into bed with them willingly. As usual with Goodkind, his lovingly detailed portrayal of the depravity of his villain is so over-the-top as to be comical--when I'm not wondering why Goodkind loves to focus on rape so much. As for the quality of the writing itself, the most annoying thing here is Goodkind's use of anachronisms. The characters use a great deal of twentieth century slang that pops me out of Goodkind's world every time. This reads like a draft at times, not like polished copy. The first chapter does a fairly good job of setting up suspense. The last one does a good job of setting up the next novel as the culmination of all this mess. In between, Goodkind could use a good editor, to cut out his anachronisms, shorten the interminable conversations, and slash out all the frustrated teenager wet dream fodder. Then he'd have a pretty tight novella.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hannon

    Richard is the smartest man in the world, do what he says. The End.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    I'm still committed to finishing the series, but this is beginning to get tedious. Undoubtedly Goodkind gets paid by the word, because he keeps repeating things. He repeats things over and over. Granted, in a series this long, one needs to repeat things that the reader may have forgotten. But one does not need to keep repeating things that were just repeated 30 pages ago in the same book. You have no idea how annoying it can be to read something where the author keeps repeating things over and ov I'm still committed to finishing the series, but this is beginning to get tedious. Undoubtedly Goodkind gets paid by the word, because he keeps repeating things. He repeats things over and over. Granted, in a series this long, one needs to repeat things that the reader may have forgotten. But one does not need to keep repeating things that were just repeated 30 pages ago in the same book. You have no idea how annoying it can be to read something where the author keeps repeating things over and over unless you have actually read something where the author keeps repeating the same things over and over. I wish I could find some example online of this sort of writing technique—one where things get repeated, with tiny variations, over and over—but alas, it seems to be unique to books that are five times longer than they need to be because the author's overinflated ego and low opinion of his readers makes it appear necessary to continually repeat virtually the same text, over and over. I have this sneaking suspicion that I've already read 90% of the last book, without ever having laid eyes on it. And yet, I'm going to read it anyway, but not before the library gets a copy. [EDIT: OK, so I had to buy it, but at least it was from the cut-out bin, which was hardly a surprise.]

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    To my everloving shame, I seem to have waylayed my reading of these books for a bit more than a decade. Oops. But apart from a few minor quibbles I had with the series from before, I really did enjoy them. Their direct and not-so-direct homages to WoT, the traditional feel of quest-laden fantasy and rather brutal over-the-top wallowing in torture and grimdark horror, and of course our rather overpowered and mythically pure Richard... following the last book's rather dark turn. Chainfire, or the w To my everloving shame, I seem to have waylayed my reading of these books for a bit more than a decade. Oops. But apart from a few minor quibbles I had with the series from before, I really did enjoy them. Their direct and not-so-direct homages to WoT, the traditional feel of quest-laden fantasy and rather brutal over-the-top wallowing in torture and grimdark horror, and of course our rather overpowered and mythically pure Richard... following the last book's rather dark turn. Chainfire, or the wiping out of his wife, the Mother Confessor, from everyone's memories. Only he remembers her, but worse, other creatures, like dragons and unspecified other ideas and memories are getting lost, progressively. Even the understanding of magic. The corruption is preparing to wipe out everyone. And if that isn't bad enough, there's also that army of philosophical darkness relying on a future world and abnegation of life on this one that is about to roll over every existing land, treating every living man and woman and child like nothing more than an inconvenience. Where every soldier considers themselves expendable. Where all women are treated like playthings and death REALLY IS preferable. I really did enjoy this book, no matter how dark this sounds. But why? Ahhh, the reason is a double-edged sword. I've never reviewed his other books but there's this one little aspect that I both LOVE and HATE, heavy-handedly doling out the philosophy in a big way. Oh? What philosophy? Objectivism. As in, Ayn Rand. I personally love the crap out of Objectivism and really appreciate how Goodkind turns each of these novels into a vehicle for loving life and pooping all over rotters and self-abnegators and anyone who thinks that coercion is a good thing. However. Goodkind spends about half the novel in great action, battles, cool magic system stuff, worldbuilding, heart-wrenching emotion and horrors and the OTHER half in carefully deconstructing everything that's happening in the world and situation in terms of Objectivism. :) With a very heavy hand. Holding a big iron-objectivism bar. Or a sword. Called Truth. :) lol Even for someone who loves this shit, it IS a bit much. A subtler presentation would have left me in pure delight. No big deal! I still enjoyed the hell out of it. I'm almost tempted to pick up the next novel right away. :) But I will get to it, regardless.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    Over the course of the last year I've been enjoying my reread of the Sword of Truth series. Phantom was me finally hitting a fresh and new instalment of the series as the first time around I caught up with publication and lost track of the series after I read Chainfire. It is good to finally be pushing towards completing another of my favourite teen-years epic fantasy series. I've done WoT and Malazan in recent years so SoT was the next logical one to finally finish! The sad thing about Phantom Over the course of the last year I've been enjoying my reread of the Sword of Truth series. Phantom was me finally hitting a fresh and new instalment of the series as the first time around I caught up with publication and lost track of the series after I read Chainfire. It is good to finally be pushing towards completing another of my favourite teen-years epic fantasy series. I've done WoT and Malazan in recent years so SoT was the next logical one to finally finish! The sad thing about Phantom is the fact that it was one of the weaker instalments of the SoT series. Too much of the bad SoT stuff and not enough of the fun elements of the story! I'm not going to prattle on about the general strengths and weaknesses of the series or of Goodkind as a writer as I've covered all of that stuff in my reviews for the earlier books and I'm way lazier than Goodkind so I'm not going to waste my time repeating the same stuff over and over again! I will share the flaws that made Phantom a weaker than average SoT story: - An overly brutal tone. SoT has always been fairly dark but I feel like Goodkind usually does a better job of balancing out the dark and light moments in the series. All the story arcs in this one ended up being super bleak and I felt it got a bit much! We needed a few more uplifting moments to balance out all the subjugation, murder, torture, and general brutality. - Goodkind morality lessons gone awry. Goodkind has always had a disturbing view of morality but I'm usually pretty good at just ignoring the crazy evil things the heroes in this story do and writing them off as "Goodkindisms" that I try to forget about but nothing is worse than when either Richard or Kahlan are commanding their armies. We had to suffer a bit of their horrible brand of "leadership" in this instalment and it was as horrible as one might expect. They are such evil tyrants as soon as they get a sniff of power! It is a negative for the story as the duo are a whole lot more tolerable and easy to root for when they are adventuring or just dealing with people and issues on a small scale. I enjoyed the second half of the story a bit more as it had a bit more of the small scale stuff. - Not much in the way of new happenings. I usually find the happenings in SoT to be pretty engaging and while the stuff we got in Phantom was still pretty readable it was just not all that exciting as it felt like we had seen and done it all before. The Imperial Order ravishing Galea and just generally being awful to the people of the Midlands? Been there, done that! Princess Violet being an evil little shit? We already did that! I'll not moan too much though as this story arc did give us Six and she was a pretty fun new villain and it let Rachel and Chase get a little screen time as well which was fun. Jagang humiliating Sisters of the Dark? Seems like this is something we have seen before as well! Though I do enjoy the villain vs villain battles even when they get to feeling a little repetitive lol. Kahlan being a captured damsel in distress? Yeah, that is happening again! The Boxes of Orden and their threat? Yeah it was back and on full repeat! That stupid fucking Beast that has been chasing Richard? It is still overstaying its welcome. The thing sucks worse than evil chicken as a villain! - Richard being more annoying than normal. The guy just had a bad book! When he was not lecturing his friends on how only he knows everything he was telling his people to slaughter willy-nilly. Half the stuff he prattled on about was hypocritical and illogical as well as awful and stupid! The fact that everyone fawned all over him only made it seem worse lol. There was some good moments in the story so it was not all bad despite my moaning so this was still an enjoyable enough read it was just not quite as good as some of the other SoT books. I think on the whole this might have been the weakest of the lot. The good news is the story did improve towards the end so that bodes well for the final instalment of the series. Rating: 3.5 stars. I'm rounding down just due to the lack of freshness in the feel of the story and because Richard, and Goodkind, were at their worst for a lot of this story! Audio Note: I'm still listening to the version of the series that got narrated by the fantastic Nick Sullivan. He really brings this story to life! The commercial version of the audio was narrated by Sam Tsoutsouvas. It is piss poor compared to the Sullivan version. Tsoutsouvas is a monotonous bore who sucks every bit of life out of the story and his range of voices in just not good!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    It has taken me eleven years to get through this book. I mean, I’m being hyperbolic, because reading this felt like it took forrreevvver, but I’m also being literal. I started this series in summer 2009. It has never taken me so long to get through a series. I did the Wheel of Time in three years, and there are more books in that series, and the books are longer (mostly). So it is slightly weird that I’m so close to the end now. I’ve only got one more book left! I’m not doing any of the later bo It has taken me eleven years to get through this book. I mean, I’m being hyperbolic, because reading this felt like it took forrreevvver, but I’m also being literal. I started this series in summer 2009. It has never taken me so long to get through a series. I did the Wheel of Time in three years, and there are more books in that series, and the books are longer (mostly). So it is slightly weird that I’m so close to the end now. I’ve only got one more book left! I’m not doing any of the later books he started writing when he decided his creative well was dry and ran back to Richard and Kahlan (plus he self-published them so they’re probably even more out of control than the books published by Tor got). I miiight (big might) do the Nicci books down the road if I get curious, because she’s one of the bright spots in the books, but for now, this is the end. I was pleasantly surprised by how into the last book I was. It had real emotional stakes and for the first time in books and books actually started moving the plot along towards an endgame. This one was a bit of a downgrade after that, and I didn’t even have the usual dubious pleasure of pointing out weird shit Goodkind thought up. Either I’m totally used to his nonsense by now, or he’s toned it down. Honestly, it could be either or both. Mostly this book didn’t feel entertaining, and I was constantly checking the time count on my audiobook, thinking, when will this be over? (I did the audio for the first time on this series to see if it could help me get through it, and it did! Not my favorite audio narrator, but he was good enough.) The amount of plot and movement in here required a book at half the length of this one, but everything took twice as long as it should have due to: Repetition of ideas and phrases by characters, sometimes three our four times in a row; endless scenes where characters explain things to each other that don’t need explaining, and ask each other endless questions that are very stupid; way too much focus on the technobabble of the magic; seriously nobody cares about this, get back to the actual story; indulgence in violence that means descriptions of various peoples being violated in various ways goes on way too long. Among other complaints. Those are just the ones I can pull off the top of my head. The overall arc here isn’t bad. Kahlan, sans memory, is being held captive, first by the Sisters of the Dark who enacted the Chainfire spell that erased her from most people’s memories, then by Jagang. Most of the time, I was engaged with her plight, as she fights to gain a sense of herself and her situation without having any idea who she is or where she came from. Richard’s arc is to accept that he can’t do anything about Kahlan at the moment, and he needs to focus on defeating Jagang/saving the New World. Part of this gets REAL fun, where Richard realizes that his army can’t defeat Jagang’s on a field of battle. They just have too many men and seemingly endless resources, not to mention Jagang’s armies split their forces and have Richard’s forces cornered in the People’s Palace. So he decides to have the army retreat, and instead of engaging Jagang directly on his chosen field of battle, Richard decides to move his troops to the Old World, and basically have his army turn into a bunch of phantom guerilla regiments (the first and most literal meaning of the book’s title, the second being Kahlan’s phantom-like presence). Only, they aren’t told to go after military targets. He tells them to target civilians as well as the supply lines, to basically kill everyone they can find to send Jagang a message, and to make it impossible to maintain his troops in the New World. Richard gives this huge righteous speech about it, and I tell you what, I completely turned on him after that was over. Richard has become the bad guy, officially, not that the narrative or the author is aware of it. The ends justify the means, according to him. I’m sure the millions of people being slaughtered will be happy to know they are dying so horribly in service of Richard’s “just” war. Hoping for a more exciting, less repetitive, and non-objectionable as possible last book. Can’t honestly hope for more than that, given the previous ten books. Goodkind gonna Goodkind. [2.5 stars]

  7. 5 out of 5

    Manda

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. My Summary Richard: "After much brooding, I now know exactly what we all must do. I have put all the pieces of the puzzle together and seene the picture that the puzzle was of. you see, it was like a puzzle, where each idea or occurance or other piece of information is one piece, and they all have to be fitted together to see what the picture is. I have played with all these piece of data in my head and conglomerated them into a larger, overall concept with has lead me to know exactly what course My Summary Richard: "After much brooding, I now know exactly what we all must do. I have put all the pieces of the puzzle together and seene the picture that the puzzle was of. you see, it was like a puzzle, where each idea or occurance or other piece of information is one piece, and they all have to be fitted together to see what the picture is. I have played with all these piece of data in my head and conglomerated them into a larger, overall concept with has lead me to know exactly what course my action now must take to accomplish my overall goals of not dying, not allowing my freiend to die, defeating comunisum, saving magic, saving magical creatures, and not allowing the universe to be distroyed. I know what i must do." Woman in tight leather outfit: "Oh tell us what we must do, Master" Buxum Lass with soul of iron: "You are so wise and smart and not dumb. I wish you were mine, but i know you love the phantom woman, not me. do tell us, richard. what must we do?" Richard: "there is no time for talk. follow me arround for about a hundred pages, while i take care of tangentally realted matters and get attacked by random enimes. maybe later i will speak at length on my relevations. but i will only tell you long after the reader has figured it out for herself"

  8. 5 out of 5

    Igor Ljubuncic

    Phantom is the second book in a mini-trilogy within the many-book SoT series. It continues from the cliffhanger of the last volume - Chainfire. Like the previous book, the action more resembles the early Goodkind works, with more magic and twists and actual things happening and less Richard giving rousing speeches that stretch 60-70 pages at a time. Richard knows Kahlan is alive and that she is real - and the people around him are convinced, too, and now he resumes the quest of finding her. The t Phantom is the second book in a mini-trilogy within the many-book SoT series. It continues from the cliffhanger of the last volume - Chainfire. Like the previous book, the action more resembles the early Goodkind works, with more magic and twists and actual things happening and less Richard giving rousing speeches that stretch 60-70 pages at a time. Richard knows Kahlan is alive and that she is real - and the people around him are convinced, too, and now he resumes the quest of finding her. The threat from the Imperial Order and the Sisters of the Dark looms at every corner of course, and the enemy is many while the good guys are few. There are more cliches this time, but at least Goodkind is making an effort, even though there are far too many new magical elements - they haven't really been introduced in the past nine books, but he does balance it with some of the old nostalgia, like Sliph, The D'Haran Legions, The Temple of the Winds, and such. There's no closure again - the plot continues in the next volume. This is the last book that I read in the SoT series. I decided I didn't care what happens to Richard and Kahlan, and decided all (good) things must end. In a way, the semblance, at least in terms of plot progression and overall lore, to the WoT is uncanny. As in formulaic. As in the plot loses thread after four books, and after that, it's pay-per-word. As in I outgrew this series. I will always fondly remember the magic of Stone of Tears and how it captivated me, and the world of magic that it opened. Fast forward a decade and about as many books, and this is no longer the series that grabbed me back then. We must sing: In sleep he sang to me In dreams he came That voice which calls to me And speaks my name And do I dream again? For now I find The phantom of Jagang is there Inside my mind Sing once again with me Our strange duet My power over you Grows stronger yet And though you turn from me To glance behind The phantom of Jagang is here Inside your mind Igor

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bob/Sally

    What is there left to say about Terry Goodkind and The Sword of Truth saga that hasn't been said before? At times, he has been nothing less than brilliant. Wizard's First Rule and Stone of Tears are classics of epic fantasy. They were fresh, they were original, and they were challenging. The 'Seeker of Truth' . . . the 'Mother Confessor . . . the 'Mord-Sith' . . . daring, creative, fascinating concepts, with believable characters behind them. The philosophical moralizing was heavy-handed at time What is there left to say about Terry Goodkind and The Sword of Truth saga that hasn't been said before? At times, he has been nothing less than brilliant. Wizard's First Rule and Stone of Tears are classics of epic fantasy. They were fresh, they were original, and they were challenging. The 'Seeker of Truth' . . . the 'Mother Confessor . . . the 'Mord-Sith' . . . daring, creative, fascinating concepts, with believable characters behind them. The philosophical moralizing was heavy-handed at times, yes, but still a welcome change from the typically 'spiritual' distinction between good and evil. After that, the series began slipping downhill. Goodkind admitted that he was more interested in exploring his philosophies than in following the plotting of an epic fantasy - and boy did it show. Action gave way to talk, and talk gave way to . . . well, more talk. What was once original became boringly repetitive. Ironically, it was a book that hardly featured Richard or Kahlan at all that recaptured my interest. Pillars of Creation was not what I expected after 6 volumes, and I couldn't have been more pleased. There was still more talk than action, but Lauren breathed new life into a stale series. Too bad Naked Empire couldn't sustain it. That brings us to Chainfire. I generally loathe it when characters are stripped of their powers/identities, just to create tension and restart a sagging plot. It rarely works for me, and this was no different. Richard and Kahlan are great people, but it's hard to get excited when there's no seeking of truth and no explosive confessions. Not only that, but the plot felt . . . recycled. After all, we'd already dealt with the Boxes of Orden in the first 2 books of the series. The only reason I picked up Phantom is because I'm curious to see how Goodkind plans to wrap everything up in this, the 2nd volume of the 'final' trilogy. Things don't start out well. Over 200 pages of talking, of saying the same thing over and over again, of bashing us upside the head with the obvious. I was about ready to give up when, suddenly, we rediscover the lost art of the plot. Not to spoil anything for those who haven't read it, but there are some really interesting developments in this book. After building up the armies of the Order to the point where they truly are unstoppable, Goodkind deftly sidesteps the issue of confronting them with Richard's shocking advice to the D'Haran troops - and it absolutely works for the reader. We get a confrontation between Jagang and the Sisters of the Dark that beautifully resolves so many nagging questions, and sets the stage for a new conflict. Richard learns a lot more about himself and his role in the grand scheme of things, and all the myriad plot pieces finally begin coming together. The ending is a shocker, and something I never expected to see. For the first time in a long time I am looking forward to the next book of the series. If Goodkind delivers on even half of what he seems to be promising, it will be well worth the wait.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eric Allen

    TL;DR: While better than Chainfire, this book is abysmally dull. Very little actually happens in it. It suffers greatly from middle volume syndrome. There is no real climax of which to speak, only a weak cliffhanger. The writing, itself, is horrible. This is not what professional writing looks like. This barely even passes as amatuer. There is a section which illustrates my point on showing vs. telling for me far better than I could ever explain it to someone, where something is told to us, o TL;DR: While better than Chainfire, this book is abysmally dull. Very little actually happens in it. It suffers greatly from middle volume syndrome. There is no real climax of which to speak, only a weak cliffhanger. The writing, itself, is horrible. This is not what professional writing looks like. This barely even passes as amatuer. There is a section which illustrates my point on showing vs. telling for me far better than I could ever explain it to someone, where something is told to us, over a vast amount of text, and then the exact same thing is shown to us, in a very brief, but extremely powerful scene. The contrast between the two, which come one right after another, really makes the point for me over why one is better than the other. The repetition and recaps of previous books are cranked up to 11 almost from the first page, and I feel that of this 600 page book, 450 pages of repeated dialog, unnecessary dialog and descriptions, and recaps of previous books can be completely removed, while leaving the core story of the book almost entirely intact. That is how much space this book wastes on completely superfluous text. When 75% of the text in this book can be completely removed without even changing the remaining text to make up for the loss, that points to an author who doesn't know what he's doing, and an editor that didn't even attempt to do his job. This book does have several genuinely good scenes in it, which only makes the rest of the book that much worse for the comparison. I cannot recommend this book to anyone in any capacity. This book is terrible, and anyone that had a hand in its publication should be deeply ashamed for their part in it. The rest of this review is my notes that I took while reading. Rather than dignifying this poor excuse for a novel with an actual review, feel free to read through my random bitchings as I made my way through it. Keep in mind that I may bring up the same thing multiple times, as the same thing probably annoyed me at more than one point in the book. And also the spelling, punctuation, and grammar are not really up to snuff either. I've already wasted enough time on this book, I don't really feel the need to waste any more on prettying all of this up. 9% Done: Wow, Goodkind just jumps right into the meaningless technobabble, repetitious, roundabout conversation, and the telling us of things that we already know right out of the gate, doesn't he? I'm about 60 pages in, and in those 60 pages, there have been about 5 pages of actual, relevant content. Richard's painfully long explanation about emblems just goes on FOREVER, and it is made even longer when those around him refuse to listen, so he has to repeat, and repeat, and repeat. The whole thing comes off as more than a little pretentious, to be honest. There's also a lot of telling rather than showing in these first few pages. I mean, you've got Nicci floating in a spell. And rather than illustrating what's happening through, you know, WHAT'S HAPPENING, we go through this long, meandering explanation of it, where Nicci is just frozen in midair, while everyone stands around and explains what's happening. Here's the thing about telling rather than showing. IT'S FLIPPIN BORING!!!!! A scene that SHOULD be very tense and fast-paced as Richard realizes something is wrong, while Nicci is literally being torn apart from the inside out, is, instead a slow, extremely dull, long-winded, over-analyzed, and talked to death expanse of literary vomit that is a chore to read. How did I ever think this was a good book? 17% done: ....................... Like, seriously? Did we need a further 40 pages of Richard pretentiously lecturing older and wiser people, who are now suddenly idiots because the plot says so, about emblems? Really? Because I kind of got it the first time around. Seriously. Richard explains it in extreme and condescending detail before the action scene. Then he explains it again in extreme and condescending detail DURING the action scene. And then, if that wasn't enough, Zedd comes to him afterward and says, "Bags, my boy, I don't think I quite understand about these emblem things you keep ranting about, please explain it to me again in extreme and condescending detail." (Notice how I wrote dialog truer to this character's speech patterns than the actual creator of the character did anywhere in this book by the way.) And Richard says, "Ohoho, sit down, old man. I have not yet BEGUN to explain things in extreme and condescending detail to you." It's not just insulting to the intelligence of the readers, it's also insulting to the intelligence of the characters. I mean, really? Not only Zedd, but also a thousand-year-old Wizard and his thousand-year-old jailor have never heard of emblems before? Really? This is a brand new concept in this world, which No one has ever thought to bring up until Richard came along and said, hey wait a minute, there's a pattern in there, I think I'll call it an emblem? Is it possible for a man to shove his head so far up his own ass that it pops back out the other end where it belongs? The concept seems to defy all logic and physics, buuuuut I think Terry Goodkind may just have actually accomplished it. At least the action scene was directly described to us first hand, unlike pretty much every single one that happened in Chainfire. However, it is intercut with ridiculous amounts of completely unnecessary exposition, and roundabout conversations about emblems that just go on, and on, and on, forever. Seriously, like 80 of the first 100 pages of this book are richard saying the exact same three sentences about emblems over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. It's mind-numbing. There cannot have been an actual, professional editor that worked on this book. 55% done: Okay, so, there is an extremely strong lesson on the power of showing versus telling in this book. You could use this book to teach the difference in a classroom, and why one is good, and the other is bad. I mean it is freaking amazing. So we have a good 60 pages of Shota and Jebra TELLING Richard all about the horrors that fell upon Galea from the Imperial Order. It is long. It is boring. it is very dry. And all you can see in these words are the voice of the author, not the voices of the characters. They over-describe things in such excruciating detail that it is highly uncomfortable to read, and pretty mind-numbing on top of it. AND THEN, Shota shows Richard a vision of what it was like to be one of these people suffering the horrors firsthand. This is a very short scene, about five pages long. And it SHOWS us everything that they just spent 60 pages TELLING us in vivid, brutal detail. I mean, when Goodkind is good, he is REALLY good. This vision drives home the point of how evil the enemy is far better, and far more firmly than any amount of characters recounting horrible things that they saw happening to nameless, faceless people ever could. Because it shows exactly what's happening, but it uses characters that we know and care about, and it's all described to us firsthand. It is a thing of beauty. Terry Goodkind CAN be an excellent writer when he puts his mind to it. The problem is that he rarely puts in the effort to do so. So here's the question. Would you rather read 60 pages of someone describing these things in excruciatingly dull detail, in such a way that you can tell that it's the author talking, and not the character. Or would you like to read a 5 page scene that drops you right into the middle of the horror so that you can see and feel it yourself? One of these is a very effective and emotional way of doing things. The other is dry, boring, long-winded, and reads like a history textbook. The real problem here, is that Goodkind included BOTH OF THEM in the book, one right after another. If you're going to show us something, you DO NOT need to also tell us. The whole 60 pages of Jebra and Shota telling us all about things in Galea can be removed completely, and it would make the vision that Shota shows Richard even MORE impactful. Again, where was the editor? There should have been red ink crossing out that entire section on one of the early drafts so that it could be removed early on in the writing process. I'm a once professional newspaper columnist/editor. I have never done this for a living. It's always been additional income. How is it that I am more competent than a professional novel editor for a very well-known, and much-acclaimed publishing house? And then, to make things worse, right after the vision, they go right back into telling us all about it again for another 20 pages or so. Good god, man. You have 80 completely superfluous pages of dialog that can be dropped from the book right there, and it would make the book better, while still imparting the exact amount of information, but in a far more powerful, and emotional way. Also, the repetition in this section is insane. For every line of original dialog, there are seven or eight more of characters saying, "no, it can't be like that." "But it is, let me repeat that for you to make my point." The repetition stretches into the next section of the book, where Richard sends his army down south to commit acts of terrorism and war crimes against civillians. Because he's so much superior to Jagang (who is doing the exact same thing to his people). Just, I mean, how hypocritical can Goodkind be? Does he truly not understand how moral authority works, or does he just think we're stupid and will never think to question. I remember thinking this part was pretty badass back when I first read this book, but now that I'm a lot older, and have seen a fair amount of similar attrocities in the real world, I find it rather sickening that this is being held up as the only right and moral thing that Richard can do at this point. You have no moral high ground to stand upon when you order an army to murder innocents. Period. You are as bad as the enemy you are fighting to stop from doing that to your own people. Period. Setting that aside, it might have been a good speech if he had condensed it down by about 1/3 or so. As it is, there is just way too much repetition in it to be a very powerful or moving speech. And then we get into recaps under the guise of Richard asking Berdine all about what she's been researching. I see what you're doing there Goodkind, and it's really clumsy. Also, if Darken Rahl had a copy of a book that explains exactly how everything concerning the magic of Orden works, what did he need Richard, and the Book of Counted Shadows for? Seems a little continuity breaking there. Just sayin'. 87% done. Okay, I really like the part with Richard after he loses his magic. The Slyph brings him to an emergency exit, and then he has to figure out a riddle left by Baracas for him. It's pretty well paced and doesn't repeat itself too much. It's Richard, alone, and without any magical powers, using his wits to solve a problem. When you strip all of the self-righteous garbage out of the story, Richard putting his mind to a problem is a pretty entertaining thing to read. Especially since this section seems extremely self-aware, which kind of made me laugh. It was actually a pretty clever sequence that pokes fun of people in fantasy stories having to solve riddles and mysteries. And Richard is just completely annoyed that he actually has to do something so cliche to move on. It usually annoys me when an author is clearly winking at me, but this one seemed less out of a sense of look, see what I did there, aren't I clever, and more that he was laughing along with me in good fun. I also really liked the part with the Night Wisps. It's creepy, with a really cool atmosphere. The Night Wisp forest is really well described, and you can really feel the weight of how old and legendary this place is. This section also sheds light on Richard's childhood, and the reasons his mother died. Again, when Goodkind is good, he is REALLY good. But this is like 40 pages out of a 600-page book. Less than 10%, even when you add in the vision Shota showed Richard to the count of good writing vs. bad in the book. Also, If Goodkind is capable of creating such a creepy, forbidding place and atmosphere in his writing, why didn't he do it in Severed Souls? You know, where he basically flat out told us it was creepy, and did nothing else other than that to build up the sense of it. But, alas, the good part of the story was over far too fast, and we go back to Kahlan as a captive of Jagang. This section of the book really feels like Goodkind living out rape fantasies, to be honest. The sheer amount of sexual abuse hurled at Kahlan is just plain disgusting and offensive. It gets really, REALLY cringy. I like that Kahlan is continuously killing Jagang's bodyguards, and doing everything she can to fight back, but it's still a very uncomfortable thing to read, because it is really brutal to her. The repetition also returns in full force. There's a part where Kahlan helps a young girl escape. It's a bit of a time-sensitive situation, because they don't know how long Jagang and the Sisters of the Dark will be occupied. And yet, the two of them have an extremely repetitious conversation that took up about 9 pages, and pretty much amounted to: "When I kill the guards, run for it." "Okay." AND THEN, the girl starts recapping the previous book for us. I mean, REALLY? Aren't there more pressing matters at hand? This is supposed to be a tense, and suspenseful escape attempt, and it's completely ruined because the two characters trying to escape talk it to death, and then start remembering previous books before they do it. Just the ridiculousness of them doing this when there's a very urgent need to get away... I mean, come on, man. REALLY? In Chainfire, none of the action was directly described to us. It was all recapped second hand. Here, there's action. It is directly described to us. But it's like Goodkind feels the need to just sit around and talk his ass off, like he thinks it's building tension by doing so or something, before it ever actually happens. I suppose it's a step up, but only a fractional one. 100% Done: The book concludes with a torturous stretch of technobabble, repeated dialog, and recaps of previous books, because there sure hasn't been enough of THAT in this book yet. There isn't much of a climax here, just a very weak cliffhanger. Look, I don't care what the volume number is on the book you're writing. That book better damn well have a climax to it. Otherwise what is even the point of reading it? Saying "oh, it's just the second book of a trilogy, it doesn't need one," is no defense at all. If your book is fictional. And comes to an end. That end MUST be climactic in SOME way. It doesn't have to be a world-shattering action scene. It can be a quiet, yet powerfully emotional moment. This book had neither, or really anything between. The writing itself is very poor. And I'm not even talking about the repetition. Just the way it is written is very unprofessional. When I was working as a newspaper editor, we would get many, many, many articles written by freelancers hoping to sell one to us. It was very easy to tell which of them had any journalistic experience, or any writing experience. Once you've been doing it for a while, you can just tell by the way they structure sentences, and by their word choices. If I did not know any better, I would say that this book was written by a high school student with dreams of writing the great American novel on his first shot, without having built up the skills, vocabulary, and technical knowledge required to actually write a book. The way almost every single sentence in this book is worded screams LOOK AT ME, I AM AN AMATEUR, I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH EXPERIENCE TO KNOW WHAT I AM DOING WRONG, OR EVEN THAT I AM DOING ANYTHING WRONG IN THE FIRST PLACE. That any editor worthy of the title actually signed off on this book makes me laugh. Whoever it was should be absolutely ashamed of himself. And I hope that he was fired for it. Because he has no business editing for a big publishing house. I know that Terry Goodkind is rumored to be a very difficult and obstinant author to work with, but that is no excuse for this mess of a book. In the end, there were a few genuinely good scenes in this book. But you can literally cut about 450-500 pages out of it. Because those 450-500 pages are filled with nothing but space fillers. Words that sound like they mean something, but when actually scrutinized add nothing to the story. There is so much unnecessary filler in this book, endlessly repeated dialog, scenes that go nowhere and serve no purpose to the overall plot, conversations that don't work toward the building of plot or character, repeated use of dialog to recap events in previous books, huge swaths of text telling us about something, before a brief flash of showing us the exact same thing, and so on. This book is a mess. It is an absolute mess. There is never once in this entire book where a character speaks, and I hear the character's voice. All I can hear is the author speaking to me. There is no life, or personality in any of them. They are all reading Goodkind's script in a bland monotone, and with his voice. Goodkind has, yet again, failed to capture even the barest minimum of humanity in his characters to make them feel like actual people. There is not once, in the entire book, that any of them actually feels like an actual person, with realistic dialog, actions, reactions and thoughts. This is not how people think, speak, act and react. This book is a soulless, lifeless husk of a story, filled with very little of meaning or value. I can't reccomend it to anyone. Not even to people who enjoy the series and have made it this far. This book is an attrocity against literature.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anya

    If I had to base this review upon the first 200 pages, I would have given only one star, if any at all. If you haven't read any of the previous 9 books (and let's face it, who on earth would read only the 10th book in a series of 11 books?!) than the first 200 pages of "Phantom" are an excellent way to get up to speed on all the important events that occurred in books 1 - 9. If you have read all of the other books (like any logical thinking reader would do) than you will certainly share my opinio If I had to base this review upon the first 200 pages, I would have given only one star, if any at all. If you haven't read any of the previous 9 books (and let's face it, who on earth would read only the 10th book in a series of 11 books?!) than the first 200 pages of "Phantom" are an excellent way to get up to speed on all the important events that occurred in books 1 - 9. If you have read all of the other books (like any logical thinking reader would do) than you will certainly share my opinion on the first third of "Phantom". It's boring. Maybe not the yawn-I-can't-keep-my-eyes-open kind of boring (after all, it is still Goodkind who spins the story and somehow manages to keep it just interesting enough) but it certainly is a very tedious bit. I understand that because so much happened in the past books, Goodkind felt the need to recapitulate all important events just to make the reader really comprehend the philosophy of the Sword of the Truth series. But did he have to do it through talking? All the characters seem to do in the first part of the book is talk. They talk and talk and talk and talk and... You get the point. Just endless monologues and talking and discussing and some more talking. Like I said: a very tedious bit. But once you get through those first 200 or so pages, you can sit back and enjoy the kind of tale only Goodkind can create. All of the characters are somehow thrown right into their worst nightmare. Rachel ends up in the claws of the queen who loves a good beheading (or torture, which ever one suits her most), Zedd has to deal with Richard's disappearance, there's a new witch in town (beware, Shota!), Kahlan ends up with Jagang and something happens to Richard's abilities. How very frighting, yet exciting! The last parts of the book are the reason for this 4 star review. Goodkind is the only author so far who, with his stories, manages to creep me out, makes me want to put the book aside (because whatever I'm reading is too gruesome or horrifying to read about) but at the same time compels me to read on. I literally feel the disgust swirling in my stomach when I get to the icky parts. It's frighting, yet exciting! It's one of the main reasons why I like his work so much and why I recommend the Sword of Truth Series to anyone and everyone.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    I think this is the worst book in the series, and until The Pillars of Creation, I was rating these books at least four stars. I actually used to love this series. I'd give the first one, Wizard's First Rule five stars. No, not because it's an undying classic, or I don't see flaws, but it was a terrific read I just sprinted through madly turning pages--I didn't feel its hefty length. I liked the characters, in some cases loved them, and was fascinated by Goodkind's world and themes. That liking I think this is the worst book in the series, and until The Pillars of Creation, I was rating these books at least four stars. I actually used to love this series. I'd give the first one, Wizard's First Rule five stars. No, not because it's an undying classic, or I don't see flaws, but it was a terrific read I just sprinted through madly turning pages--I didn't feel its hefty length. I liked the characters, in some cases loved them, and was fascinated by Goodkind's world and themes. That liking started dropping off after the seventh book for me (some point to the fifth as the book where it jumped the shark) but I didn't find these tedious until the book just before this one starts the "Chainfire Trilogy" that ends the "Sword of Truth" series. (Well, actually the Pillars of Creation before that dragged too.) The next and concluding book after this, Confessor doesn't quite redeem the series for me, but I'd still point to Phantom as the low point. Why? Because as pointed out in review after review, NOTHING HAPPENS. Oh, there be word after word on the page, there's lots of people talking things to death. But advancement of plot? Character development? What is this you say? And like others, here is where I really, really got tired of the zillionth time Kahlan has to ward off rape. If you skipped to the last book, I don't think you'd miss anything.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Scott Johnson

    Holy fuck where to begin.... First and foremost, this was hot garbage. It is a dumpster fire of a narrative (or lack thereof). I don't even really want to get into picking apart the story and various problematic themes except to say RAPE IS BACK ON THE MENU BOYS! It was just background noise for a while there, but now we're back to it being a major, primary plot point with Kahlan and the emperor, because of course it is. I have nothing new to say, for the most part, so it feels so tiresome to repea Holy fuck where to begin.... First and foremost, this was hot garbage. It is a dumpster fire of a narrative (or lack thereof). I don't even really want to get into picking apart the story and various problematic themes except to say RAPE IS BACK ON THE MENU BOYS! It was just background noise for a while there, but now we're back to it being a major, primary plot point with Kahlan and the emperor, because of course it is. I have nothing new to say, for the most part, so it feels so tiresome to repeat those same points. Instead, I'll focus on some specific quotes I highlighted and made notes about as I read, because hoo boy I found some doozies. Firstly, there was a good 2+ chapters of exposition dump to try to hammer home just how terrible the Order is. Again. As if we didn't know that already and it hasn't been harped on for the previous nine books. The problem here, aside from the usual theme of pointlessly redundant filler, is that this was clearly intended, originally, as a passage of just prose from an omniscient narrator. It feels like Goodkind saw this, saw it was boring as fuck, and rather than edit it down he slapped some quotation marks around it and invented a character reliving the sacking of a city to use as a framing device. This leads to some very cringe-worthy lines, as the issue at hand is that an author's narrative prose and the way human beings actually speak out loud in situations like these are not concepts that overlap much. I highlighted some passages from this section: "These were men who had abandoned any pretense at civilized manner." "They use iron as a reference to iron kettles and such. An iron ring signifies kitchen workers and such." And such :| "They brought great quantities of foodstuffs for the soldiers." None of these are things a normal human being would say. Also jarring were the random interjections that seemed to be sprinkled in after the fact to break up what had been an interminable monologue.... Richard noddeed and whispered, "I understand." Sure. That was helpful and contributed greatly to the story. Speaking of Richard, he speaks up during this story another time..... "During all of these various rapes and executions and all, didn't anyone escape?" Jebra nodded. There's a fair amount to unpack from that one sentence. First is victim blaming. Of course if PERFECT, FLAWLESS RICHARD were there, he would not just lie there and take it, he would have fought back! It's like this world's equivalent of our world's, "If the Jews just had guns the Nazis couldn't have taken them," nonsense. It's implying the victims are complicit in their own fate for not resisting harder. Just imagine being this poor girl Jebra who managed to not get raped to death and eventually escaped, and here's some douchenozzle saying, "Well why didn't people just escape, it's such an obvious solution!" He's basically mansplaining being trapped in that situation. There's also the wonderfully dismissive "various rapes". This is just your everyday rape fest, nothing to see here. This is a theme that continued a great deal later in the book when we were in Jagang's camps. Here's more rape from early in the book.... "Jagang and his men never tire of the use of captive women," Sister Cecilia said, half to herself. In case you weren't aware, they like raping. Then there are the countless political screeds showing up yet again. You have shown him the dull, numb death that is all that can result form the beliefs held by the Order. You have shown him the bleak existence that is all there is under their dogma, that life's only value is in how much of it you sacrifice, This was describing what Jebra accomplished by bearing witness to these atrocities. While there is value in reporting war crimes, I don't think her intent here was to show that, once again, Socialism is the real evil, that this isn't "rape" so much as it's "women's duty to sacrifice their bodies for the common good". This again comes back to a reductio ad absurdum about Socialism, basically saying if you follow the ideology to its logical conclusion, the entire "point" of that life is to sacrifice everything for others, up to and including your bodily autonomy. It's a very troubling and pervasive attitude held by many today, and seeing it glorified in novels like this is only exacerbating the problem. Aside from its direct impact on progressive socialist reform, this just furthers the idea that it's acceptable and encouraged to reduce those you disagree with to barbaric caricatures. Though it's beside the point, the argument can be made that this idea of "your only value is in how much of yourself you sacrifice" is much more true of pure capitalism. Just look at Japan or the US and our fetishization of working your fingers to the bone, getting into pissing contests about who is more miserable....who gets the least sleep, works the longest hours, etc. These things are points of pride here. Your only value to others is in how much you sacrifice (of your time, health, happiness, etc.) for your employer. This brings us to the next theme: Richard's new plan is to respond to these unforgivable war crimes and atrocities....by having his side do the exact same thing? Each of those people adds something to their cause. As such, they are just as much the enemy as the soldiers swinging the swords for them. We're back into post-9/11 Islamophobic hysteria, with this same "reasoning" being used to justify atrocities committed by American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. There's also the obvious hypocrisy that you can easily make this same argument from the point of view of the Order, where those in the New World provide that same support that adds to the enemy cause. You simply can't use that as rationalization for involving civilians in war, we literally consider this a crime against humanity in our world. And yet, he doubles down. "In fact, those people who make this war possible are perhaps even more of an enemy, because each one is a silent enabler who wishes us harm from afar Once again, this is the rationalization and xenophobia we've experienced in this country for the past 18 years. We generalize the radicalized few and say that they obviously "wish harm upon us from afar", despite lack of any evidence of same. Regardless, you're again using this all to justify war crimes against civilians, the exact thing you are supposedly so outraged about and are explicitly referencing as an excuse to do so. From this day forward, we will fight a real war, a total war, a war without mercy. We will not impose pointless rules about what is 'fair'. Our only mandate is to win. That is the only way we, our loved ones, our freedom will survive. Our victory is all that is moral. What do you even say to that shit. Jesus christ. Sieg Heil! (which, if you weren't aware, literally translates to "Hail Victory!") This is not hyperbole. This isn't Godwin's law. This is literally Nazi ideology used to justify the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" and rationalize genocide. There is no doubt in my mind that Goodkind voted for Trump at this point. Moreover, the lives of the people in the Old World are not our responsibility, they are the Order's responsibility. We did not start this war and attack them--they attacked us. Once again, rationalizing genocide and war crimes against civilians with a hypocritical call to arms in response to the exact thing you are planning to do in return is not justification for immoral acts. You cannot simply pass the buck to the aggressor. Not that Goodkind sees a problem with rape, but if you WERE to be raped, you could justifiably kill your attacker. You could not justifiable rape and kill his family and force him to watch. This is not a difficult concept to distinguish between morally justifiable defense and BECOMING NO BETTER THAN YOUR ATTACKER. It's also telling how long this is going on. It is an incredibly long and repetitive series of mental gymnastics to rationalize our heroes committing atrocities and calling it "our moral duty". From here, we dive back into the anti-Socialist-boogeyman screed: It assigned any achievement not to the one who had created it, but instead to those who had not earned it and did not deserve it, precisely because they did not earn it and did not deserve it. It valued thievery, not accomplishment. It was anathema to individuality. Here we have again the good old, "Taxation is literally theft, why would anyone work harder when they're going to just have more STOLEN from them?!" I don't even have the energy to refute this bullshit again, it's just cartoonishly, deliberately ignorant. In fact, we've now escalated to the point of calling it "thievery". He's attributing malice to the process by saying it is BECAUSE they are undeserving that they reap the rewards of others' work. It's implying causation between those ideas, which translates to doing so out of malice for those who achieve. It's just so tired and so ignorant that it would just be sad if this wasn't clearly masturbation fodder for libertarians. In closing, I present you with a direct quote from Jagang, which I posit should be the title of the series, or at least the next book.... Of course it's rape! Fuck this book, and fuck its author in particular.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Silverman

    Sigh. I wish things would've been different. But this is the second book in the mini chain-fire trilogy that just didn't make the grade in my opinion. Honestly, these books are overly drawn out and way too long. At least one third of Chainfire, Phantom, and Confessor are basically the characters remembering the last 8 books. Okay, maybe that works for a paragraph or two, but Goodkind drones on and on about it. I don't need a synopsis of what I've read, I read it. All three of these books could be Sigh. I wish things would've been different. But this is the second book in the mini chain-fire trilogy that just didn't make the grade in my opinion. Honestly, these books are overly drawn out and way too long. At least one third of Chainfire, Phantom, and Confessor are basically the characters remembering the last 8 books. Okay, maybe that works for a paragraph or two, but Goodkind drones on and on about it. I don't need a synopsis of what I've read, I read it. All three of these books could be 1/3 shorter than they are just by eliminating or shortening most of the flashbacks that aren't necessary. Secondly, with the start of the Chainfire series (well, it really started with Pillars of Creation and Naked Empire where it got bad), Goodkind has a tendency to preach a rhetoric that we've been hearing over and over again for 8 or 9 books already. We get it, we're on your side, we agree with you Terry (that's why we're reading your books), but your characters don't need to launch into a 30 minute dissertation on freedom every 100 pages. When a book is 600-700 pages, that gets old really fast.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    When I first started this series, I loved it. I eagerly devoured book after book. Bit... of all the books so far, this one has been by far the most frustrating and nearly ruined my enjoyment of the series. The first half of the book seems to drag on without reason. The first ten chapters are mostly spent discussing a spell. This ends up having some meaning later, but it takes so long to get to the point it feels like drudgery getting to it. The characters chatter on and on about it, which wouldn When I first started this series, I loved it. I eagerly devoured book after book. Bit... of all the books so far, this one has been by far the most frustrating and nearly ruined my enjoyment of the series. The first half of the book seems to drag on without reason. The first ten chapters are mostly spent discussing a spell. This ends up having some meaning later, but it takes so long to get to the point it feels like drudgery getting to it. The characters chatter on and on about it, which wouldn't be so bad if it was interesting chatter about how magic worked. Instead it's mostly them debating and conjecturing. And because the elements of magic they are talking about are vaguely described you feel like you're listening to a debate about a topic you know hardly anything about, not to mention what you can understand is mostly things the reader should already know. They repeat things from previous a lot, and not in a gentle reminder sort of way. Then there is an attack and maybe one chapter about Khalan. That's the first ten chapters to get through. After that it's another ten chapters of a character describing what it was like to live through an invasion by the Imperial Order, and the characters discussing that. By now we have read so much about the brutality of the Order there isn't anything new to tell us, and yet the author hammers it into our heads even further. We know they are murdering, pillaging, raping zealots. Why do we need to spend so much time on this? The author insists through the characters that this is something Richard absolutely MUST BE TOLD or he won't understand what he needs to do. After finishing the book I cannot recall why he needed to know any of it, since it was all things he already knew. (Side note: After finishing the entire series, I still cannot tell you why this section was needed. It could have been removed entirely, IMO) He lived in the Old World under the rule of the Order for what, a year? It's just such a waste of the reader's time it's infuriating. The first 20 chapters could have been chopped in half, if not a quarter. It felt like the author was just trying to fill space. Very frustrating. The characters will often go off on long monologues in which you feel like you're not listening to that character anymore, but the author on a soap box. Their views and way of speaking melt into one way of describing the evil of the Order, the importance of life, bla bla bla. Yes, we get it, Communism is evil evil evil. Let's move on. The dialogue will often go on tangents and the characters go on and on in circles about things. Sometimes I just wanted to strangle them and tell them to get to the point. By the time the book finally does pick up and start going somewhere you're halfway through it. Now we find out previous conflicts that were thought to be resolved are back, adding to the already overwhelming odds the characters face. Some of the plots are brought back in almost the exact fashion. I won't give an specifics, but it starts to feel like the author is running out of conflicts and starts recycling them. It also starts to becoming maddening how coincidental everything involving Richard is. Everything ties back to him. Everything is on his shoulders. He can do almost anything. I know heroes are supposed to be extraordinary, but this just gets kinda silly. He's superhuman at this point. Why not just make him a God and get it over with. If I have to hear about Nicci's eyes and hair one more time I will scream. And Kahlan's "intelligent green eyes". Every young female main character is painful beautiful, except for Verna who is just "handsome" to show how she lost so much of her youth searching for Richard outside the magic of the People's Palace. On the plus side, Kahlan shines more in this book. The author always seems to write her as a stronger character when she isn't with Richard. When they are together she becomes fragile and docile. I much prefer the way he writes her when she is forced to fend for herself. We also get a lot of development of Nicci, but I didn't find it particularly exciting. She mostly prattles on about how Richard showed her the value of life and fawns over him. I will also have to agree with others reviewers who have said that the author seems to dwell a lot on the rape and abuse of women to represent how evil the Order is. Although he does spend some time on their inhumanity by killing and torturing, and likes to go into detail about their appearance and general lack of hygiene, a vast amount of it goes towards the rape of women. Every single time the author is describing a scene involving the brutality of the Order there is rape. The men of the Order seem to do little more than kill, avoid bathing, and rape women. He seems to love describing how the men pass women around, own them, and use rape of wives as a means of mental torture for the captive men. It's so overwhelmingly described you start to feel numb to it. Creepy. Even Kahlan is not safe from the threat of sexual assault at every turn, although thankfully she is spared in the long run. Once the story gets going it is tolerable. I am starting to feel like I am just pushing through it because I want to know what happens. I only hope the next book rekindles some of the enjoyment I found earlier in the series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leana

    As an overall rating for this series I only give it 2 stars. I got tired of Terry Goodkind's attempts at shoving his philosophy down the readers throats. It wasn't that I agreed or disagreed with his point of view. It was more so that he completely underestimated his audience. If so much time wasn't spent on repeating morals and the authors view of philosophy, then the books would be probably half the size. Now, as far as the actual story, I enjoyed it. I actually liked this book particularly. I As an overall rating for this series I only give it 2 stars. I got tired of Terry Goodkind's attempts at shoving his philosophy down the readers throats. It wasn't that I agreed or disagreed with his point of view. It was more so that he completely underestimated his audience. If so much time wasn't spent on repeating morals and the authors view of philosophy, then the books would be probably half the size. Now, as far as the actual story, I enjoyed it. I actually liked this book particularly. It was suspensful and I couldn't finish it fast enough. The end of the series though was a big disapointment. I was not happy about the ending. It gave a man too much power that shouldn't have been possible. I don't want to give the ending away though for anyone who is still interested in reading it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    What an ending! On the outside, once I got to that last page, I found myself nodding, silently congratulating Goodkind for a spectacular finish. But on the inside, I was shrieking at Nicci, "What did you just do?!" To say that the ending on this book made up for the bulk of the story is an understatement. Of course I was disappointed to see that no forward progress had been made from Chainfire, and that Kahlan was still lost to Richard (and everyone else). And I was more than a little uncomfortab What an ending! On the outside, once I got to that last page, I found myself nodding, silently congratulating Goodkind for a spectacular finish. But on the inside, I was shrieking at Nicci, "What did you just do?!" To say that the ending on this book made up for the bulk of the story is an understatement. Of course I was disappointed to see that no forward progress had been made from Chainfire, and that Kahlan was still lost to Richard (and everyone else). And I was more than a little uncomfortable by the gap that Nicci was filling in everyone but Richard's perceptions. It saddened me to see Zedd and Cara turning to Nicci the way they had turned to Kahlan in the past. But beyond that, once I got to the end of this book, I couldn't for the life of me remember how it started. I had to flip back to Chapter 1 to remind myself what was going on at that time. It all came back to me, of course, but I was unnerved to realize that the stories in Chainfire and this one merged together in my mind to become all but indistinguishable. There were some good moments here, to be sure. Richard's tenacity, Nicci, Zedd and Cara's unwavering devotion, and Jagang's twisted morals were the strongest components. It was refreshing to see Freidrich and Tom again, though briefly, and to be reunited with Chase and Rachel. But Six and Violet were almost too terrible to stomach (though I do admit I smiled when Six showed her true colors). This has been a long (and sometimes tedious) ten book journey. I am looking forward to Book 11, just to get some closure and answers to questions (which better freaking happen, man!) As much as I want things to go back to "normal" for Richard and Kahlan, I'm sure it can't happen, so I'm eager to see how Goodkind pulls it all together for these characters who have captivated me for so long.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Corfy

    This book is very interesting and fun, I really like it a lot, you need to read it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I'm in it to finish it...not much of another reason beyond that. My god, I hate Kahlan and her perfection. It's over the top and yet still Goodkind tries to sell it over and over again in every single book. I was finally happy to see Richard get the fact his love life is not as valuable as mankind, in fact to me it's pointless in comparison. I was sad to see it took so much for him to realize it, the Richard that was sold to me in previous books wouldn't have thrown such a pity party for himself I'm in it to finish it...not much of another reason beyond that. My god, I hate Kahlan and her perfection. It's over the top and yet still Goodkind tries to sell it over and over again in every single book. I was finally happy to see Richard get the fact his love life is not as valuable as mankind, in fact to me it's pointless in comparison. I was sad to see it took so much for him to realize it, the Richard that was sold to me in previous books wouldn't have thrown such a pity party for himself. I love Nicci, I'm not thrilled with her whole, "the world doesn't mean anything without Richard" extreme thinking but I do love how much she has grown. I wish and hope (with no chance of it happening)that at the end of the series it is Nicci who gets to kill Jagang. She experienced so much worse at Jagang's hands compared to Kahlan - I mean who wouldn't chose sleeping on the floor by his bed over getting raped repeatedly by him and his soldiers. Alas, I know Goodkind can't ruing Kahlan for Richard so even though he tries to sell she is suffering like no one else has ever suffered, and yes she is suffering, it pales in comparison to what other innocents experience at his hands. On to the final book. Thank god.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    Terry Goodkind is a superb author, and in my opinion, his "Sword of Truth" series is the best I have ever read. So good, in fact, that I have read the entire series three times in a row, back to back, non-stop. This series is *not* for children. The series covers many aspects of the dark side of humanity, in great detail, as the heroes try to overcome the evils in the world. Goodkind is not afraid to show his readers just what evil *really* is, that is, most often, people who perform acts of evi Terry Goodkind is a superb author, and in my opinion, his "Sword of Truth" series is the best I have ever read. So good, in fact, that I have read the entire series three times in a row, back to back, non-stop. This series is *not* for children. The series covers many aspects of the dark side of humanity, in great detail, as the heroes try to overcome the evils in the world. Goodkind is not afraid to show his readers just what evil *really* is, that is, most often, people who perform acts of evil feel justified in their minds as to why they are doing so, if for illogical reasons, and will that those that oppose them are the evil ones. Goodkind shows his readers that the only way to overcome evil in ourselves and in the world is through use of Reason. The series is *not* light reading, but if one is not afraid to confront the reality of evil (even within ourselves), and how to really defeat evil, the one will find this series extremely rewarding.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

    While this suffers a bit from "middle in a trilogy" syndrome, where you're starting in the middle of something, and know that you won't get a full resolution at the end, it does stay interesting, and the story moves forward at a better rate than in previous books. As a long time reader of the series (and not always a fan, necessarily) I enjoyed the references to characters which had been left by the wayside long ago, who I thought were forgotten. But this book doesn't rely merely on nostalgia, i While this suffers a bit from "middle in a trilogy" syndrome, where you're starting in the middle of something, and know that you won't get a full resolution at the end, it does stay interesting, and the story moves forward at a better rate than in previous books. As a long time reader of the series (and not always a fan, necessarily) I enjoyed the references to characters which had been left by the wayside long ago, who I thought were forgotten. But this book doesn't rely merely on nostalgia, it introduces some new characters, and fits them into the changing paradigms that pop up as everyone interacts. This book isn't all great though, It's longer than it needs to be, and while I appreciate the call backs to older characters and locations, it sometimes felt like the author was really bending the story to get these older things to fit. Some of it works, some of it doesn't, but in all, it was a really good installment in the series.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Moving rapidly towards the conclusion of the series (one more book, I think). This installment is not fantastic, but it isn’t horrible, either. It focuses on Richard getting his head out of the sand and refocusing his efforts towards the final battle. Then, of course, he gets screwed and the end of the book is reminiscent of the Gladiator movie.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Paul Weiss

    Richard and Kahlan are captured by the d’Haran forces It's difficult to say whether CHAINFIRE is the opening book in a trilogy or the ninth book in the now aging SWORD OF TRUTH series. In any event, to briefly summarize, Lord Richard Rahl is the sole survivor of a battle in which a troop of soldiers is brutally massacred by an unknown and, indeed, unseen enemy capable of enormous ferocity. When Richard recovers from his near fatal wounds with the help of sorceress Nicci's use of the all but forbi Richard and Kahlan are captured by the d’Haran forces It's difficult to say whether CHAINFIRE is the opening book in a trilogy or the ninth book in the now aging SWORD OF TRUTH series. In any event, to briefly summarize, Lord Richard Rahl is the sole survivor of a battle in which a troop of soldiers is brutally massacred by an unknown and, indeed, unseen enemy capable of enormous ferocity. When Richard recovers from his near fatal wounds with the help of sorceress Nicci's use of the all but forbidden subtractive magic, he discovers that he is the only living soul who remembers his beloved wife Kahlan, the Mother Confessor. All of Richard's friends and compatriots - Cara, his Mord-Sith bodyguard, Nicci the sorceress and former Mistress of Death, Verna and Ann, joint prelates of the Sisters of the Light, Nathan the prophet, the witch woman Shiota, even wizard Zedd, Richard's beloved grandfather - are convinced that Richard has lost his reason. Worse yet, because Richard feels he must devote what remains of his life and energy to finding his beloved wife and rescuing her from whatever fate has trapped her beyond the world's ken, he has also reached the decision to not lead his weakened D'Haran troops in a final battle against the almost limitless hordes of the advancing Emperor Jagang. He has also traded his Sword of Truth to the witch woman Shiota for one critical scrap of knowledge ... the word CHAINFIRE, which he will discover in his travels is the name of a long deeply hidden spell capable of literally unraveling existence itself. Without Richard's leadership and the Sword of Truth, prophesy dictates that the free world is doomed to fall to Jagang and the Keeper of Death. PHANTOM, the rather bloated and sadly repetitive second instalment of this putative trilogy is based on Richard's relentless search for his beloved Kahlan, whose very existence has been erased from the history and memory of his world. Kahlan is now in the hands of Jagang, the evil emperor (who along with a very small handful of people throughout the breadth of Goodkind's SWORD OF TRUTH universe is still able to see her). Richard who has also lost his command of the magical gift has fallen into the hands of the D'Haran Commander Karg. Everyone in sight is trying to locate the powerful Boxes of Orden, the only known magical counterspell to the Chainfire spell which, it is now known, is flawed and is slowly destroying all magic in the world. While the plot outline is a good one, many reviewers have commented that the book is repetitive and lengthy to the point of tedium. For me, I would agree with the label "repetitive" but found the extended discussions on the philosophical notion of existence and the attempts at logical debate regarding the meaning of existence interesting and thought-provoking as opposed to tedious. What I did find excessively lengthy and oddly cryptic was Goodkind's attempted explanations of the nature of magic. Frankly, they seemed to go on forever and added little to either the characters or the development of the plot. A little more action would have been a nice touch and a welcome change from time to time but it certainly didn't dampen my enthusiasm for the series and I'll definitely be looking for CONFESSOR, the eleventh book in the complete SWORD OF TRUTH series and the final installment in this sub-trilogy. The action did crank up a notch for a brief period as Richard reached the decision to change the nature of his war with Emperor Jagang - a war that he realized he had no possibility of winning. The ultimate stereotyped swords and sorcerers good vs evil fantasy is getting long in the tooth and it's certainly long in the reading, but somehow Goodkind has managed to hold my interest throughout the series. But I must admit that I'm glad to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Recommended for continuing diehard Goodkind fans only. Paul Weiss

  24. 4 out of 5

    John

    Ahhh....the finally! Can't wait to find out what happens...AGAIN! lol My re-read is coming to an end, then onto the new stories!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ashton

    I don't think that I've ever read a book where the author intentionally tried to use the title of his book throughout the text. The first time it was kind-of natural and makes you grin a little that he managed to do so. After the fifth or sixth time it became aggravating and annoying to see him trying so hard. As usual, there were still a few small grammar mistakes such as thrown for throne in the book which is also aggravating. I found that Goodkind was more anti-religion in this book than he h I don't think that I've ever read a book where the author intentionally tried to use the title of his book throughout the text. The first time it was kind-of natural and makes you grin a little that he managed to do so. After the fifth or sixth time it became aggravating and annoying to see him trying so hard. As usual, there were still a few small grammar mistakes such as thrown for throne in the book which is also aggravating. I found that Goodkind was more anti-religion in this book than he had been in any of the others, not that he's been favorable in the past. I continue to be irritated by him just throwing his view out there so clearly in a fiction novel. If I wanted to read intentional allegory and commentary on social events, I would do so but I don't enjoy it in my fiction. The story itself was like most of the other book's story lines. There's a desperate struggle for Richard and Kahlan to be together but everything is conspiring against them with incredible odds of it ever happening. There are a few interesting things in this book about how spells work and such but for the most part it seems to only be more of the same struggles that the rest of the series has presented. There are better fantasy series out that with more varied plots and more realistic writing. I'm not expecting complete realism on everything but seriously, for once just let things not work out the way everyone expects. Otherwise the reader is left feeling cheated when things are neatly tied up because of lucky coincidences. I feel this series has far too much of this to be enjoyable.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emily Diehl

    This book was amazing. I'm torn between it being a triumph and a defeat. The emotions I felt reading this varied. I was happy the characters began to believe in Richard. He is the bringer of death and has the prophecy set out for him, but the prophecy begins to change. Or does it? What was once clear for the Witches and Prophets to read and understand, has suddenly gone blank. Was there ever a prophecy for Richard? The key to it all, Richard, knows of the books he must seek. What book is the cor This book was amazing. I'm torn between it being a triumph and a defeat. The emotions I felt reading this varied. I was happy the characters began to believe in Richard. He is the bringer of death and has the prophecy set out for him, but the prophecy begins to change. Or does it? What was once clear for the Witches and Prophets to read and understand, has suddenly gone blank. Was there ever a prophecy for Richard? The key to it all, Richard, knows of the books he must seek. What book is the correct one and which ones are the false copies? He's tangled in a mess. From seeking his phantom, to destroying the Imperial Order, to thwarting witches, princesses, and queens, who will all have his head(!). What's going to happen? Will Richard find his breath of life and allow the world to live free? Or will the Order prosper and force life to suffer? I would describe this book as heartbreaking. Goodkind took me to an inconceivable, mind-blowing, but somehow touching sadness. The Phantom and the Seeker connect in a confusing inspiration for the final book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    I been religiously following "The Sword of Truth" series since 1994. For every book that comes out, I'm filled with excitement and anticipation. The story evoled dramaticaly and steadly. However by the time it reach the "Phantom", well as you can see, it's the very first low rating I gave. The reason is because, it's just filled with recap of the previous books, no new or not much improvements or developments with the characters and plot. So, yes it was quite disappointing. Frankly speaking, I'm I been religiously following "The Sword of Truth" series since 1994. For every book that comes out, I'm filled with excitement and anticipation. The story evoled dramaticaly and steadly. However by the time it reach the "Phantom", well as you can see, it's the very first low rating I gave. The reason is because, it's just filled with recap of the previous books, no new or not much improvements or developments with the characters and plot. So, yes it was quite disappointing. Frankly speaking, I'm dreading to read the last book "Confessor" because I have this intense feeling that like most book series (Harry Potter and Nicolas Flamel), it will end up with alot of loose ends, where you get this sense of, it could be better or it has so much to go on or areas where it can be improve and all of the sudden the rug been pulled out under you. Maybe the author, is getting sick of their own story and just want to end it. If it is, then it's a shame because it really is a great story.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This book was an inprovement over the previous book in the series. The previous book was 6-700 pages of Richard pining for Kahlin. In Phantom, there is actually a plot progression typical of the middle book of a trilogy. An interesting book, hopefully building to a strong conclusion in the 11th and final book of the series.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lourens

    The second last book to the EPIC Fantasy Series: The Sword of Truth. Phantom (Book #10) is definitely my favourite thus far, Terry Goodkind masterfully ties up loose ends from earlier books and sets the stage for the last book and conclusion. The brutality is just sickening in this one. Aa real page turner. By far the best fantasy series I have ever read. Absolutely love it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Xanxa

    Reading for the second time. This is really Chainfire part 2, continuing the story. Most of what I said in my review of Chainfire applies here, so I can't add much more. Great storytelling, interesting multi-layered characters and intriguing plot twists.

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