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Stone of Tears

by Terry Goodkind

Reviewed by Coral

Unfortunately for people everywhere the death of Darken Rahl has done nothing but bring more chaos and death to the world. With the D'Haran army pulling back into its own lands, the Midlands are slipping into war, stronger nations picking off ones already left devastated by Darken Rahl's war.

The Veil between the world and the underworld has been torn and the Stone of Tears has been let loose. Should the agents of the Keeper get their hands on the Stone they would be able to destroy the Veil completely and release the Keeper from his prison. Richard is the only person who can stop this from happening.

But Richard has his own problems. While waiting to be married by the Mud People, Richard and Kahlan are approached by three women who call themselves the Sisters of the Light. They demand that Richard submit himself to being collared, to return with them to their Palace of Prophets to be taught how to use the gift of magic that has woken up inside of him. After Denna, Richard refuses to be collared again but if he does not submit, the Sisters of Light warn that his gift will kill him.

And that's not all! A mysterious new army has arrived on the scene. The Imperial Order, with their cult-like dogma and beliefs, are bearing down on the Midlands as well. Converting believers as they travel, the Imperial Order may be a bigger threat than anyone else realizes (although maybe I'm writting this because I have the knowledge of the rest of the series behind me).

There are five smallish problems with the book. It may sound like a lot, but as a whole the book is still a good, enjoyable read. But, still, for me the problems existed and I couldn't overlook them.

First off I hate how it was written that the love they had for Richard made two women so dumb they gave into their fears without using their brains to think things out logically. They were so afraid of Richard dying from his gift that they never thought to wonder about how wizards - like Zedd and Darken Rahl - survived without the help of the Sisters of the Light. Love doesn't have to make a woman weak.

Secondly, I really hated the numerous, seemingly unnecessary subplots (Zedd and Adie's, Kahlan and the army) there were in the story. I understand their purpose and I know how they were explained in the story, but too much time was wasted on some of them. The book was very long and for most of it so much time was spent as obstacle after obstacle were thrown in everyone's path to keep them from closing the Veil and then bam! The last 50 pages and everything wraps up more or less happily.

Thirdly, I hated how stupid I thought the Sisters of the Light were made to be. I couldn't understand how they could be so blind to possible dissention within their own ranks and the rising body count around them. I was a little mollified at the explanation at the end, although it did make me less of a fan of Prelate Ann.

Fourthly, as good a writer as Terry Goodkind is, he really shouldn't be violating the Evil Overlord List. I'm not sure what number it is but the "Join us. Immortality," line of reasoning is clichéd and annoying. Writers should definitely never use it. So it has to be in there somewhere.

I'm not sure if this really counts as fifthly, because the first time round I know I didn't feel this way, and it isn't even a negative against this book, more of a comment made in hindsight on the series, but I hate the disappearing story lines. I know I just wrote that I hated the numerous side stories, but after they've been written and I've invested emotionally in the characters, I wish that they wouldn't blink out of existence. Like I said, it's not so much a comment on the book, because I'm not sure when they start disappearing, but in the later books of the series it would be nice to revisit Gratch and the Baka Ban Mana. And did Chase and Rachel really have to be absent for so many books in the middle?

Grade: B