Terry Goodkind’s ‘Temple of the Winds’

A Must Read 300This past week I plowed through a book I have been meaning to pick up for a few weeks: Terry Goodkind’s Temple of the Winds. If you have been following my reviews for the past few months, then you probably remember that I am waist deep in a mammoth of a series by Terry Goodkind that is often known as The Sword of Truth (you may know it from the television adaptation, Legend of the Seeker). Since this is book four, there will obviously be spoilers from here on pertaining to the last three books, so proceed at your own risk.

Last time we left Richard and Kahlan, they had just won a massive victory over the Imperial Order, a coalition of barbarians led by Emperor Jagang, at the city of Aydindril. Despite the heavy casualties, Richard Rahl’s rule has been well-recieved, and the nations of the Midlands are quickly falling under his control in order to form a unified front from which to fight the barbaric Imperial Order. Things seem to be going well when the palace in Aydindril receives a strange visitor: a young man, completely unarmed and strangely cordial, who claims to be there to assassinate Richard. As Richard and Kahlan try to unravel the mystery of their strange new visitor, a new trouble lurks on the horizon. People are falling ill for seemingly no reason, and Richard will find the fate of his budding empire in threatened by a terrifying force beyond the reach of swords or magic.

Temple of the Winds is a notably different read than any of its predecessors. Whereas the previous trilogy featured a sense of adventure laced throughout with awe-inspiring battles, there is a surprising lack of action for the majority of this book. While it is not completely devoid of combat scenes, Temple of the Winds takes a much more dramatic approach. More emphasis is placed on Kahlan and Richard’s relationship, and the majority of the book’s conflicts are political troubles that Richard is dealing with. The result is that the book reads much more like George R. R. Martin’s work: playing up character interaction while keeping fight scenes sparse and brutal. Temple of the Winds also happens to be Goodkind’s best writing yet in the series, and resolves many tendencies of Goodkind’s that needed to be placed to rest. Whereas in the other books problems had a habit of “fixing themselves” at the last minute, the crises in this entry feel much more dangerous to the protagonists. The sudden change in style may be disappointing to readers, but I recommend coming into this entry with no expectations besides narrative progress. If you liked the previous novels in this series, you will almost certainly love Temple of the Winds. While the lack of action for the first half of the book may seem boring, once the big plot hook catches you will be along for the ride. If you haven’t been following the series, this isn’t a terrible one to start with, as Goodkind recaps fairly well throughout. That being said, starting with book one, Wizard’s First Rule, is always the recommended path, and book three, Blood of the Fold, serves as a turning point new readers can jump in on. Even people who typically don’t like fantasy could find this to be a worthwhile read: the pacing and political emphasis makes it a much more accessible book than most fantasy novels. While it is certainly the slowest paced, and darkest, of Goodkind’s series so far, Temple of the Winds hooked me enough for me to confidently say that I will buy the next entry as soon as possible.

Source: Jake Depew, Assistant Editor