The world continues to grow in Terry Goodkind’s sequel to the Wizards First Rule book. We return to the Midlands and the People’s Palace in a time of create uncertainty as a void of leadership needs to be filled.
Stone of Tears is the second book in the Sword of Truth series written by Terry Goodkind. The book is rather large clocking in at 979 pages in my standard print paperback copy. The book was published in October 1995.
To begin, this book does have much of the same feel to it that the first book did. Terry Goodkind is good at creating new areas of the world to explore and with it the mysteries that come along with them. One of my favorite parts about this book is the new location called the Palace of the Prophets. This area of the world is brand new and comes across as ancient. The sister that rule this domain are almost a fill in for a world religion trope in the fantasy genre.
It’s this location and the order of sisters that are in the Palace of the Prophets that really create the meat of the story that is full of very cool intrigue that does not suffer from large amounts of stolen story points of different fantasy series like in Wizards First Rule. Terry Goodkind takes his time setting up new characters that become pretty enjoyable.
The Stone of Tears Begins
Zedd, Chad and now Chad’s adopted daughter Rachel are still at the People’s Palace, and encounter a beast from the underworld. This sets into motion consequences from The Wizards First Rule. It’s in the first couple chapters that we learn the direction this book will be taking and a new ancient evil that is much worse than even Darken Raul himself.
Kahlan and Richard ride the Dragon Scarlet back to the Mud People in the Midlands. Elated that they are able to be together, they decide to get married. All of this is put to a halt however as the consequences discovered by Zedd are also discovered by Richard and Kahlan. On top of this, Richard is beginning to suffer from his use of magic. Left untrained, he will die. A mysterious cult of three women show up claiming to help Richard but require that he puts a collar on and that it’s the only way to save him.
I have to butt in before continuing on and bring up the dragging on and on about Richard’s and Kahlan’s love for each other. It seems to never end. There are pages upon pages of this stuff. There are much better ways to convey that two characters love each other. Terry, for the love of god, this is not how you do it. Cool it.
I won’t go into any more of the story than that as to prevent spoilers, but the book moves rather slow at the beginning and has a very sappy series of chapters between the two main characters. I feel that this is not something that is going to easily go away in this book series as it has significantly amplified in this book that in the previous one.
Sexuality in Sword of Truth
On that note, a lot of sexuality has been amplified in this book and usually not in a very tasteful way. It shows to me that Terry Goodkind does not understand the nature of what some of these scenarios are like no matter how much he explains the horror of the act. Once the acts are passed it seems to have no drag on the character at all where it would be expected.
The sisters are odd in that they really seem to objectify each other in their method of training wizards. I don’t have as much an issue with this as it seems like it might fit the almost cult like atmosphere that this order gives off.
Pacing of Stone of Tears
Towards the tail end of this book it struggles yet again either with pacing or a lack of an original idea of how to end it. To me the book almost feels like a second run at the end of the Wizards First Rule. Terry Goodkind literally copies himself in his attempts to end this book. It’s clear at this point that Terry is writing himself into a corner and does not know how to solve it or at least he runs out of pages to do so. This book is long and it seems like the way it ends was self inflicted right toward the very end anyway.
The pacing of this book is an improvement on the first book of the series. I am engaged with the story much more than I was with the past book. There are however areas of the book that I feel just do not need to be there. At all. I understand the Mud People are primitive, but I do not need economics explained to me as well as the Mud People. That segment dragged and is a prime example of what slows down the segments with the Mud People to an agonizing pace to a point where I am considering skipping sections altogether (Which I did not do!). The best recommendation when approaching parts of the book like this is to take your physical copy, and tear out the extremely long and dry economics. By doing this, when you inevitably give this book away to a goodwill or sell it in a yard sale, the next poor soul that decides to read this book will have at least a little better time with it. Hopefully this will not be as much of an issue in future installments and we will get less Mud People sections of the books.
I will be curious as to how many of the new characters will be playing roles in the upcoming book Blood of the Fold. This book did manage to get be excited to read on into the next so when it comes to that aspect of this sequel, it succeeded. The world of magic has been opened up and is playing a bigger role now. Magic does not solve everything in this book like its predecessor. In fact, magic at points causes more problems for the characters than good. With the quantity of magic users now in the picture it would be a crime to now allow for character growth on at least some of them after this book.
At the end of the day this book is significantly better than the first book in my opinion. There is less blatant plagiarism in this book, the story has more intrigue and succeeds in the last half of the book rather well, which is the opposite of the first book. The pacing still needs work but was much improved from the first book as well. As for if this book is good enough to make readers commit to the previous one is up to the individual. You can check out the review on the Wizards First Rule here.
If you want to pick up a copy, you can use or affiliate link here. If you want to listen to these books like I did for the Stone of Tears it’s also available on Audible.