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Book Review

Book Cover

Witch's Oath (Hardback)


Author: Terry Goodkind
Publisher: Head of Zeus
329 pages
RRP: £7.99, US $13.95, Cdn $18.95
ISBN: 978 1 789 541311
Publication Date: 04 January 2020

Most books try and get as big an audience they can and some book aim at a niche market. Witch’s Oath (329 pages) is the fourth installment in the Children of D’Hara series and is certainly aimed at a niche market, specifically at anyone who has read the preceding three novellas.

I say this as the story opens with Richard and his friends in dire circumstances, looking like they are going to die. What follows can be separated into them talking a lot and very slowly escaping.

Within the book, no effort is made to give the characters any context, presumably this was already explained in the earlier novellas, nor do we get any character progression, apart from some changes of abilities.

The story, not unsurprisingly, reads like the central section of a greater narrative. The author has already introduced his world and the characters within, set up the conflict and this section is moving the characters around for the final great fight/reveal. There is nothing wrong with that, in the context of a greater story, but as a stand-alone novella the story does not work.

Too little is known, by the reader, and not much is explained. This means you feel no empathy for the characters, or their plight and their endless conversations start to grate, mostly because you do not know them, and you care even less. Had I read the books preceding this I may have felt differently, having invested time in Richard and his friends. I am sure fans of the series are probably screaming that I do not understand and on the foundation of this one book they would be right.

Put aside the fact that this is really the middle of a larger story there was also elements to this that slowed the whole thing down even more. If you want to impart information to your audience, like a new piece of lore or ability, it is only necessary to put it in the book once. There are numerous examples where a character, for example, will think: "I will use this", only for another character to ask what they are doing. Whereupon, we are given a lengthy conversation about said item of ability. It slows what was already a slow story down to a repetitive crawl.

I didn’t want to be unfair to the author, so just before I wrote this bit I looked up the book on Goodreads and generally the reception was very favourable, I would guess that these were reviews from people who have read the previous volumes.

In the end I just didn’t like it and not only because it’s the middle of something bigger. I thought the repetition grating and the pace glacial. Overall, Goodreads were giving this a high score, but judged alone and on its own merits…


Charles Packer

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