This is a summary of a Larger Review
The teaser short story prequel I read, Debt of Bones, was excellent: original ideas, grand, tight, dramatic…
This, the first in a series of standard package 500 page epic fantasy (dragons, swords and cleavage on the covers), begins well, but starts to wane, then to irritate, and then you wonder whether you’ll bother finishing (I’m not keeping the book, nor, obviously, going on with the series).
Far too many pages: the plot just becomes utterly random. Not only has he got a bad case of the David Eddings’ (every key character has Godlike powers), he constantly contradicts the attributed powers by suddenly making his characters inexplicably vulnerable.
Midway through the book it’s clear that Goodkind just doesn’t care. Suddenly a character has this miraculous power that we haven’t heard about yet. Blimey, here’s a nice dragon. It’s just too easy. Nothing costs anything – very Eddings.
Maybe, just maybe, you could forgive it as pulp teen thing: they can be carried along by the action, who needs a shred of coherence or character? However, he throws in gratuitous rape and torture, often of children, just as background (he’s so blithe about it, and we’re supposed to be too).