Archive for September, 2014

Severed Souls

Posted: September 13, 2014 in Book Reviews

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Severed Souls by Terry Goodkind

558 pages

Fuer Grissa Ost Drauka, the bringer of death

Severed Souls the 14th (16th if you count Debt of Bones and The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus) volume in the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.  It is the Sequel to The Third Kingdom. The Omen Machine was the first in this trilogy within the Sword of Truth Series. This has become one of my favorite series of books of all time. There is so much in these books that I absolutely love. Before I get into this book specifically I will just give you a brief story line of the Original Sword of Truth series ending with Confessor.

Richard, Who is a woods guide encounter a mysterious woman while in the woods one day who turns out to be Kahlan Amnell the Mother Confessor, A women of great power who has the ability to take ones soul and leave them so completely devoted to her that they lose all will power, so much so that if she were to command the person to die they would drop dead on the spot.

Kahlan was being chased by 4 men who were attempting to catch her. 4 men because if she confessed one of them chances of one surving to take her captive is much greater. She is unable to use her powers after she confesses someone for a long while.

Richard saves her life by killing the men off. He soon learns of her task to find the great wizard Zeddicus Zul Zorander who just so happens to be Richard’s grandfather but affectionately known as the crazy chicken man.

Richard soon learns his destiny as he is named seeker of truth and joins Zed and Kahlan in a war against Richards true father Darken Rahl, The evil tyrant that rules all of the Dhaharn empire on the other side of the barrier separating his home from the midlands where the mother confessor and Dhara lies.

Richard with the help of his grandfather and the Mother Confessor defeat Darken Rahl only to find out the it resulted in the bringing down of the barriers leaving the armies of the Old world on the other side of Dhara to sweep through the lands with the Dream Walker Emperor Jagang to wage war with all the world.

Richard with his army of Dhara as he is now the Lord Rahl defeats Emperor Jagang but his problems do not end there which is where we have this final trilogy of the Sword of Truth Saga.

I have left much out of this brief synopsis and would encourage you to read the books for the full story it is well worth the time.

Severed Souls picks up where the last book left off with Richard along with Kahlan, Zed, Nicci, Samantha, Irene and the men of the First File, the elite guards of the Dharan Empire trying to make their way out of the dark land after their escape from the Third Kingdom.

The only problem is that they are being hunted by legions of the undead half people. A race of soulless cannibalistic walking undead who are driven by a need to obtain a soul. They do this by devouring and cannibalising the living believing that by drinking their blood and eating their flesh while still alive they can somehow capture their souls before they leave to the afterlife.

In the mean time the Emperor of the undead who has a army of zombies with him, Emperor Sulachan, is marching to the Peoples palace in the heart of Dhara along with Hannis Arc, the ruler of Fajin Province and a practitioner of Dark Occult magic with the purpose in mind to united the world of life and the world of the dead affectively destroying existence as we know it.

In the meant time Abbot Drier has proclaimed himself Lord Drier and taken control of Fajin province and has dark plans of his own. He spends time torturing his victims to the brink of death in an effort to reveal prophecy to him when they are at the moment between life and death and can see into the flows of time.

All the while Richard and Kahlan still have the poison of death in them from the hedge madge Jit when Richard rescued Kahlan from her lair. This poison of death is slowly severing their souls and can only be cured by a powerful Wizard or Sorceress in a Containment field. Zed sadly has lost his head and cannot help in this matter.

What do I love about this. Well there is just so much to say and so much to love it is hard to get started. The book starts off in a way that gets you hooked right from the start. The first line in the book “Bring us our dead” gets this book off to a thrilling start and does not let up from there. Every page keeps you riveted and not wanting to put the book down.

Terry Goodkind does not shy away from graphic descriptions of events in the book from start to finish. He paints a vivid picture of everything that is happening around you in a way the brings you right into the action. It scares the hell out of you as you read the words that paint such a vivid picture you don’t know what is real and what is not.

“Kahlan stared in shock as the dead man began coming toward them. He half stumbled as he stepped on his own entrails hanging from a horrific diagonal gash across his abdomen and dragging along the ground. He paused to see what kept holding him back at each step. When he saw the bloody viscera stretched from the open wound in his middle to his foot standing on them, he reached down and ripped his own guts away from his abdomen so they wouldn’t interfere. Once free of the obstruction, he again started out for them”

That is just the begging of the horror that follows our characters through the dangerous and occult filled darklands they are trapped in.

The emotional torment that our characters are going through is vividly portrayed and you cannot help but love them and feel what they are going through.

“She was sick and tired of not being able to live her life with him, of not being able to be alone with him, of not being able to have a normal conversation with him, of not being able to make love to him, of not being able to love him in the most simple and joyful ways because they were always desperately fighting not only for their own lives, but so that everyone else could have those things” — Kahlan when thinking of Richard.

The central theme of this book and the whole series really, is about fighting evil, tyranny and oppression in all its forms. It is about not being stuck in a place of blind faith to the indoctrination of control. The Abbot Drier plays this out quite well when talking about limiting the choices of individuals affectively controlling them and directing them to choose what you would have them do. Giving people the illusion of freedom and true freedom. effectively not allowing people to choose for themselves how they will live but choosing for them by giving them 2 painful choices and people will choose the least painful.

Richard sums this up quite well when he says

“I’m fighting for the kind of world I want to live in, the kind of world where people can live their lives for themselves, where you can work , create, trade and live without the threat of others taking everything from them. For those reasons and more I weary of struggling against such depravity”

But like Richard we cannot give up the fight and sometimes we must make the ultimate sacrifice, ourselves so that others can live the life of peace and liberty that we are fighting for.

I have mixed feelings about how this book ends. I love and hate it at the same time. The ending leaves me anxiously wanting to know more, leaving it open for more story but at the same time wondering if it is truly the end for our heroes. Has the threat been ended or is still there.

Prophecy says that the threat can only be ended by prophecy being ended, which it has but we still do not know what happened to Emperor Sulachan and Hannis Arc. These questions and more have yet to be resolved yet we know that it must be over at the same time. Will there be another volume? I guess we will have to wait and see

This book and the whole series gets 9.9 out of ten book worms from me. Highly recommended read!!!!

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The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay

Posted: September 5, 2014 in Book Reviews

mocking jay

Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins

390 pages

Mocking Jay. The final book in the Hunger Games Trilogy.

Katniss has been rescued from the arena and now finds herself surrounded by the refugees and citizens of district 13. Her home district 12 has been destroyed and almost nothing is left but the rubble and victors village.

It is not long before she realizes that Peeta has been taken hostage by the Capital and is being used as a weapon against the rebellion. Katniss is torn between her growing love for Peeta and her love for Gale. She has lost control of her life and all that she is to the game she is forced to play against her will.

Katniss soon learns that being with the rebels is from her perspective no better than being in the capital. She is a pawn no matter which side has her and she is being used. Propped and dressed up as the mocking jay she becomes the center piece in the war for freedom from the Capital. However she does not do this without conditions. She demands the full pardon of Peeta and the other tributes in the hunger games for any crime against the rebellion before she will consent to being the rebellions Mocking Jay.

As the war effort progresses Katniss is getting more frustrated and angry about lacking any form of control over the events that surround her. She begins to start to take things into her own hands and soon finds herself in the middle of an uncontrolled war zone in the middle of the capital fighting for her life and the life of the few friends she thinks she can trust.

Katniss soon discovers that the rebellion is not as pure and free of corrupt morals and they have led her to believe.

The fast pace of this story takes you on a wild ride that leaves you anxious for more. With every turn of events more comes flying your way barley leaving time to recover your breath. Each twist in the plot drives the knife further into the characters ultimate demise and eventual redemption.

Using Peeta as a weapon against Katniss was certainly not an original idea as many stories have used our hero’s loved ones as a weapon or bait, however they way it is executed is done effectively and makes this story arc quite believable. With what we know of modern mind drugs and how they can manipulate our memories and emotional state of mind it is quiet believable that a similar use of drugs could be used against the rebellion by programing Peeta as an enemy of the rebellion via drug induced hallucinations and feelings.

There were moments in this book where I could truly feel the pain and emotional torment that the characters were going through. I could not help but feel the sincere passion and emotional pain that they were feeling right along with them. Like the previous books Suzanne Collins does an exceptional job bringing to life the realities of war and the emotional turmoil that soldiers suffer. With this book however Katniss is not only a soldier in a war but the symbol of the war itself. She is the Mocking Jay.

There are a few criticism I would give this book however. Katniss who was such a key and pivotal character seemed to at the end lack any importance at the final battle for the capital. During the battle she ends up unconscious and wakes up later after the capital has been seized and President Snow captured. There is no story here about how he got captured or how long the final battle lasted. I felt that the book lacked in this respect. I think that it would of ended better with Katniss being part of the final assault on the Presidential mansion and Snow being captured. Her waking up after it was all over with no story arc showing how this was done just did not do it for me for a good ending to this story. I was honestly expecting that Katniss would end up killing President Snow in the end. Perhaps by giving him a poisoned white rose?  Sadly the book will have to loose some marks for poor ending but the rest of the story played out exceptionally well.

Overall I would give this book 8/10 Book worms and should be added to your read list as a must read!!