Phantom - Terry Goodkind [Sword of Truth]
Originally Reviewed on Goodreads: November 15, 2013
** spoiler alert **
If you're looking for something along the lines of Mages vs. Sorcerors, some big battles and lots of action... look elsewhere.
I've heard a lot of things said about Terry Goodkind since I first began reading the Sword of Truth novels back in high school, both bad and good. Because of where my interests lay in fantasy, I kept on, because there was definitely something ELSE in Terry Goodkind's works that I couldn't find in other fantasy books that I'd read.
The world he developed is extensive and astounding, filled with rich detail. It gives your imagination plenty of room to play whether provided with stereotypical battle action, or more subtle, thought-out, philosophical action.
Phantom is chalk full of the latter. Richard is a thinker. If you've paid attention at all throughout the series, you would know this. Battle doesn't become him, and the actions he chooses in Phantom only enforce this. The last 3 books of the Sword of Truth are the epitome of Khalan's and Richard's personalities. Neither of them enjoy the fight - the do it only when they have to, when they feel there truly is no other option. It's a tactical measure to be used only when it has some real benefit.
It's been a long while since I read Chainfire, but I remember the general premise - which is what's important here. The Chainfire spell is the central motivating aspect behind everything that takes place in the last 3 books. Without it, this becomes little more than a typical, unimaginative high-action epic fantasy, to pull from the books themselves... "steel vs. steel, magic against magic."
Chainfire gives it something DIFFERENT.
I enjoy the almost philosophical twists and turns Goodkind uses to move the story forward. You may read through parts or introductions to people thinking, "Oh, another inconsequential brute" or "why does this even matter?" but Goodkind has thought ahead. He does not introduce events, people, or things without there being a Very. Good. Reason.
I'm going to reiterate here, because this is probably the most important part about whether or not you'll enjoy Phantom or not. If you're looking for a lot of in your face action, the last 3 books in the Sword of Truth are not for you. If you're into the subtleties, the actual MAGIC, and don't mind a plot being moved forward by getting an insight into characters minds, thoughts and deeds, then you'll thoroughly enjoy the Chainfire trilogy.