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Naked Empire

by Terry Goodkind

Reviewed by Coral

After being absent for most of the last book Richard, Kahlan and Cara are back, with Jennsen, Tom and Betty still along for the ride. And have they ever got trouble following them.

During their time in the Old World - unseen while we followed along with Jennsen's journey - Richard, Cara and Kahlan stumbled across a warning beacon. As yet, they haven't been able to figure out exactly what they're being warned against, but they're about to find out.

One night a man named Owen stumbles into their camp, demanding their help in rescuing his people from the Order. Protected behind a barrier that has only recently fallen, this pacifist nation had no protection against the Order and have been enslaved. Richard soon finds out he has no choice but to help them; Owen holds the key to saving Richard's life and his people's freedom is the only price he's willing to accept.

Only there are bigger things in play here. Owen's people are a nation of ungifted men and women, just like Jennsen. And to Jagang they became his best weapon in capturing Wizard's Keep and all of the magic contained within. But the Keep is only a part of his plan, nothing will deter him from capturing Richard and the Mother Confessor. And this obsession has given birth to something more dangerous than even Jagang can imagine.

In the times long ago, dream-walkers were only one type of magical weapon created by wizards. There were also beings called Slides, able to push aside someone's soul to borrow their body. And Jagang's Sisters have just managed to create one of their very own. But controlling him may be harder than Jagang ever expected.

Oh, and Verna and the D'Harans are still guarding the passes, threatened by the Order's army. As are Nicci and the newborn rebellion of the Old World. Not that much time is spent on these plots.

I didn't think it would happen, but I did enjoy this book the second time round. A very little bit more. That being said, I still think it's one of the weaker books of the series.

The plot was interesting enough, but something was off in the writting. I'm going to have to bring up the repetition issue yet again, because it goes crazy in this book. Not only was there endless repetition of plot points from the first 7 books - really unnecessary. We've read the series! We know what's going on! - but the constant repetition of plot points from this book was annoying. I don't need to read about Richard's moral standpoint and his belief system every second chapter. I get it.

There was a spark missing from this book. It just felt flat.

And, seriously, why is Kahlan so dumb sometimes? I hate how she seems always to end up needing to be rescued by Richard. Blah.

Grade: C