Severed Souls by Terry Goodkind
First and foremost, I wish to apologise to Terry Goodkind. I am sorry for the words I am about to write, but they come from a fan and a reader who once loved and took great pleasure in The Sword of Truth series, from Wizard’s First Rule to Confessor. These books encompassed everything they were meant to, they were magical, dark and compelling, a true fantasy series.
When The Omen Machine was released I was thrilled, as the series for all intents and purposes had finished its storyline in Confessor. But after reading this new arc I was left sorely wanting. Once done with The Omen Machine, I remember thinking, you can't write a winner all the time and waited for the next in the series to bring me back to the world of Richard and Kahlan. The Third Kingdom, much like its predecessor, was still missing that spark, that engagement and level of commitment I had previously experienced from the original books, and much like The Omen Machine I found it a struggle to finish.
I was unsure if I wanted to read Severed Souls, I had been burnt twice now and didn’t think I could handle it again, but thanks to the good people at HarperCollins I obtained (probably my last after this) a review copy of the book and decided to give the series one last try. In the end, I had two attempts at reading Severed Souls, in the first effort I put the book down after thirty pages, not a lot but it was enough to make me stop. In my initial read, I found the story flat and un-engaging, but considered this could be my own mood or frame of mind at the time not allowing me to get into the story. So I stopped and gave it a week. Taking the book up once more, I reread from the beginning and this time made it through the one hundred pages before with bewildered heart and heavy head I closed the cover for the last time.
I could go into a litany of the elements I found off with this book, but think I will keep it to some main points. Firstly, the writing was bland and uninspiring, I could not believe that this was the same author who captivated me for eleven novels. Take a moment and think back to Phantom (I could be wrong in which book) when Richard is searching for Kahlan and he hides in the Jagang army. I remember strong emotions leaping of the page: fear, hope, strength and resolve. Unfortunately, none of that past writing comes out in this book or the previous two. From the opening scene where Richard is meant to be in a rage and fighting the Shun-tuk, the words are written without energy, come across forced, and are bereft of promise to the reader.
The single greatest flaw I feel, and I am not sure if this was down to Goodkind's vision for the stories, was the editing/writing style. There was repetition after repetition of words, sentences and themes. Basic grammatical treatment was thrown out the window leaving me confused at structure and flow. A good example of this was the recurrence of single adjectives used numerous times over a few lines consistently throughout the pages I read.
Where had it all gone so wrong? I have heard stories of some authors feeling that their works should not be edited and I have no idea if this is the case, but it feels like it. Have we come to a point where our favourite and most successful writers believe in their own skills to the point they forget we all make mistakes, that the input of others, whether it be an editor, proof-reader, beta-reader or fan boy could can add to the work. As the saying goes, sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind, I think someone needs to be very cruel to these last three novels.
In a contrast, I have just finished reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss and while a short story, the thought, skill and devotion placed into this piece dwarfs the banality that was the first one hundred page of this work. It’s a rare thing that I don’t finish a novel, even if I know I will return to it later, but I can say with raw sadness that I won't be attempting a rereading and I do not see how I could come back to another in the series, if one is being considered.
I understand that I have written a lot of very negative comments, and I really wanted to finish with something positive but the best I can offer is this - if you are of the younger generation a YA fan and have never read the first eleven novels in the series, maybe you can make this new story your own.
While I do not think it's appropriate to provide a score out ten, as I could not finish the story, I will because it's expected. Based solely on what I did read and the immense respect I have for Goodkind and his early works, as well as the respect I have for any author who has the courage to write and be successful, I give the book 2/10.
This Severed Souls book review was written by Fergus McCartan
All reviews for: The Sword of Truth Series
The Sword of Truth Series
From the far reaches of the D'Haran Empire, Bishop Hannis Arc and the ancient Emperor Sulachan lead a vast horde of Shun Tuk and other depraved "half people" ...
Wizard's First Rule
The Sword of Truth Series: Book 1
One man, Richard Cypher, holds the key to the fate of three nations and of humanity. But until he learns the Wizard's First Rule his chances of succeeding in his task a...
The Omen Machine
The Sword of Truth Series: Book 12
An accident leads to the discovery of a mysterious machine that has rested hidden deep underground for countless millennia. The machine awakens to begin issuing a series of...
Faith of the Fallen
The Sword of Truth Series: Book 6
The Sword of Truth series follows Richard Cypher, a young woodsman intent on tracking down his father's murderer. His quest will take him far from home, embroiling him ...
Have you read Severed Souls?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Severed Souls reader reviews
2/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Ursula Le Guin
As a young dragonlord, Ged, whose use-name is Sparrowhawk, is sent to the island of Roke to learn the true way of magic. A natural magician, Ged becomes an Archmage and hel...
The Kingkiller Chronicle
"I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my l...
Harry Potter is an ordinary boy who lives in a cupboard under the stairs at his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon's house, which he thinks is normal for someone like him wh...
Year of the Unicorn
Far from the besieged home of Simon and Jaelithe, in peaceful Norsdale, we meet Gillan, who longs to leave her dull life in a secluded country abbey. But when her wish come...
Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her...
The Empire has declared war on the small, were-ruled kingdom of Aydori, capturing five women of the Mage-Pack, including the wife of the were Pack-leader. With the Pack off...
The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School
When her mother finds her sleeping on the ceiling, Amy Thomsett is sent to Drearcliff Grange School in Somerset. Although it looks like a regular 1920s boarding school, Amy...
The Lightbringer Trilogy
Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. His strength, wit and charm are all that preserve a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exac...
The Saga of Recluce
LE Modesitt Jr
Young Lerris is dissatisfied with his life and trade, and yearns to find a place in the world better suited to his skills and temperament. But in Recluce a change in circum...
Raymond E Feist
Crydee, a frontier outpost in the Kingdom of the Isles. An orphaned young boy named Pug becomes a master magician’s apprentice and two world’s destinies are for...
Memory Sorrow and Thorn
A war fueled by the dark powers of sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard--for Prester John, the High King, slayer of the dread dragon Shurakai, lies dyi...
Enter the kingdom of Lur, where to use magic unlawfully means death. The Doranen have ruled Lur with magic since arriving as refugees centuries ago. Theirs was a desperate ...
The Night Circus
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterl...
The Chaoswar Saga
Raymond E Feist
The Darkness is coming… The Kingdom is plagued by rumour and instability. Kingdom spies in Kesh have been disappearing - either murdered, or turned to the enemy side...
The Toy Sorcerer
Trapped as a mortal in a dimension where human dreams become reality, Alice Towers endures a journey of unmerciful persecution and excruciating self-discovery. Guided by an...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
- Recommended high fantasy books/series
- Recommended books/series featuring wizards and magicians
- Recommended epic fantasy books/series
Best of 2016
Stranger of Tempest
Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour; a dying breed in the Riven Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent's prin...
A warrior prince, a talented spy. A quest to free an enslaved people begins.Crown Prince Aven Lanuken wants something more than a trophy for a future wife. He wants a woman wh...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her alone. Garbled warnings from bizarre creatures keep her up at night. And there’s a time portal in the keg room of the bar where she works. Soon, Hallie is tumbling through...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...