The Scribbly Man

By: Terry Goodkind

The kingdom of D’hara has at last found peace under the rule of Lord Richard Rahl and his wife Kahlan, the last Confessor. Welcoming anyone in the kingdom far and wide, the People’s Palace has been outfitted with tents so that subjects may appear in court to have their grievances heard. Soon after the petitions begin, a strange man in fine robes approaches Lord Rahl and the Mother Confessor demanding that they relinquish their world or be killed. Believing that a single man poses no threat to them, Kahlan decides to speak with him alone. A choice that may prove fatal.  

This novella summarizes nicely why I find some high fantasy irritating in that there was nothing in the back blurb to indicate that this book was a sequel series to a much larger Terry Goodkind series called The Sword of Truth. For reference, the back blurb only said “We have all caught fleeting glimpses of them: the monster under the bed. The Dark Shadow just out of sight, the knot of unexpected terror in the pit of your stomach.” Which, as someone standing in a Barnes and Noble trying to decide what I would like to read, doesn’t give me much to go on. It also doesn’t provide a deterrent for non-fans. 

Am I responsible for looking up every book title while I stand in a store to find out if it’s the sequel to another series or should the publisher make that abundantly clear somewhere on the cover or the inside pages? Personally, I think this is on the publisher. I spent $14 on a 150-page book only to realize halfway through that the characters were referencing historical events that had to be explained somewhere else. That’s when I made my discovery, was too far into the story to set the book aside, but also felt too irritated to take any joy out of finishing it. 

I would need to read 11 other books just to get back to where I started. A task I don’t enjoy the thought of and candidly won’t do. So, I guess I stop here.

Which honestly is fine because I found his writing repetitive and Goodkind apparently felt his audience was too stupid to grasp the plot of his story that he needed to repeat the same phrases repeatedly in the span of 2-3 paragraphs. I felt like I wasf losing my mind or being gaslit. It says something if I believe a 150-page book, which is already super short, could have been cut down by another 20 pages. At that point, it would have been better to just publish this as a short story. Charge $5 for fans. Advertise it’s part of a series. Then call it a day.

Overall rating: 2

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