Terry Goodkind’s Confessor (Review)

Here’s the scoop on the final book entitled Confessor in the epic Sword of Truth series. The review of the previous novel in the series, Phantom can be found here.

I was in Waterstone’s in the UK on 31 December 2007 to buy a book. I thought I’d buy confessor but at £20 that was over $40 and I figured I’d wait until I got home as that’s way too much for a book. I did see it at another shop for £14.99 and decided it was still better to wait until I got home. On 2 January 2008 I was in Harrods and saw a stack marked at £4.99 or about $10. I was informed it was a mis-mark, and I certainly agreed since that’s less than a paperback costs and this was a fresh release hardback. To my surprise, they said they’d sell it to me anyway, so I got it and read it on the flight home. I started as the plane was over Ireland and finished before we got to Miami.

I had some trouble remembering all the details from the previous tomes, but it all came back to me quickly. This book is very well written — even the parts I found, quite honestly, boring.

This book is the last in the series. As I said in my last review, which is good because it’s gone on a bit too long. Some authors don’t know when to stick a fork in it. I look forward to Mr. Goodkind’s next books.

This book is an engaging read front to back, and at over 600 pages, it’s hard for many authors to keep the pace going, but he’s done it again right until near the very end.


However I will say, as in the last book, that some old characters seem to becoming more two-dimensional with age, and that’s not a good thing. Cara and Bernadine are barely in the novel at all and serve no purpose, and there is nary a mention of Vera, Ann, Zedd, and Nathan. I don’t like Nathan so I don’t care. I have to say in this novel every part that mentions Zedd is boring as all hell. When Ann dies, I feel nothing but joy to be rid of a character that ceased being interesting two novels ago. Other characters die, more as an afterthought than as anything else. It’s okay in some cases to do that to make a point, but to make a seeming habit of it is silly.

I did like Rachel’s story, although it was short it was fascinating. So was the bit with Samuel.

Goodkind seems overly fascinated with some rape scenes and I know he’s trying to bring the horror home — good for him — but I think he went overboard. What I found the least palatable, though, is the ongoing preaching. Yes, he’s gotten preachy. And in the finale Richard turns into a preacher of the worst sort: one who goes on and on with a boring sermon.

The ending of this work disappointed me terribly. I knew it was coming because it was pretty obvious — Goodkind isn’t good at delivering surprises. It was more disappointing because he sold his readers short. He told a great story: especially the bits about Richard in the Emperor’s camp. Brilliantly exciting and well done. You just can’t sell your readers short. It’s not the thing to do.

As I said in the Phantom review, I like what happens in the books because it feels right and with a fantasy novel that’s very important. Nothing like a ‘doesn’t feel right’ to ruin a good story. In that same review I also said: However the overriding sense of having a message rammed down my throat never left me and that’s my biggest complaint about this novel. This is still true in this novel. It has all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

Despite my complaints, it’s a good book. The ending wasn’t for me, but that doesn’t mean you won’t like it.

Leave a Reply