Wednesday 16 March 2011

Book Review: Terry Goodkind – Debt of Bones

I love sci-fi, but tend to be very particular about the titles I choose. I find that the genre has a few instances of the most dazzling examples of fiction (Frank Herberts "Dune", John Wyndham's "The Chrysalids") and also a large amount of mundane, poorly written books.

I have been on the lookout for something new and different and thought I would try one of the authors whose books seemed prolific in the library. Terry Goodkind’s Debt of Bones had been singled out as a “quick choice” in the library – i.e. a god read and the fairly small size of the book made me think it would be an easy one to try as an introduction to the writer.

Debt of Bones is set in a fantasy world of wizards and sorceress’s who battle to safeguard their kingdom against invading forces. People flock to the wizards from all over the kingdom to ask for magical assistance to resolve their problems. One such person is Abby, a young woman whose village has been invaded and whose husband and daughter have been taken hostage by the enemy. She hopes that the greatest of the wizards, Zeddicus Zorander can help fight back against the invading armies and find her family. As the daughter of a sorceress, though lacking magic herself, she hopes that she can use a “debt of bones” between wizards and sorceress to convince Zedicus.

This book is written as a brief prequel to The Sword of Truth Series. Readers of the series may have found many things in the book more recognisable that I did approaching it as a stand-alone book. I found that I wanted to know more about the kingdom, indeed the world the story is set in – something good sci-fi is amazing for. I wanted to know more about the mysterious enemy whose motive to invade is never explained in much detail either.

The story moved along quickly enough, but failed to engage me. The storyline verged on interesting, but the plot twists did not convince me – each time I found myself thinking – that would be too obvious, then found the obvious unfolding. The ending too, felt too neat and didn’t at all inspire me to pick up the main series.

On the other hand, there were some interesting premises, the idea of boundaries between worlds, the general populaces’ distrust of magic and the politics between wizards and kingdom, but each of these were touched on and not explored further perhaps due to the size of the book. The characters were likeable enough – the Zeddicus is intense, Abby appears slightly slow in catching on at each juncture, the rest are fairly forgettable.

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