" I've found this book a very good read and I see no problem with Goodkind's style. The characters are interesting and in my opinion well-drawn,not in the least 'cardboard', and some, like Zedd and Cara, really stand out. I love Cara's unintenional humour and backtalk, like telling Richard if he gets killed trying to save the world she will break every bone in his body. Well, all the Mord-Sith are very good creations, ignoring Richard's orders and doing what they like, after of course telling him they have decided to be his bodyguards weather he likes it or not! I don't find Goodkind really all that long-winded, in this book anyway, no more so than many authors who use 'padding' to fill out a story, and overall I think the story moves along well enough, with any padding still related to the story. Many other works could be shorter if only the actual story-line was maintained, without sidetracking. I find no real evidence for political views being over stated, as some people claim, it seems to me it's just good guys v bad guys. Yes, you could see the Imperial Order being just totalitarian communists in ancient dress, but you could say the same for the Galactic Empire in Star Wars. If you want to find political views you could do so in most writers works, Charles Dickens was full of it for example, since few authors are going to write in favour of something they don't like or beleive in. I don't think the violence is overstated, after all it is set in a violent age, and injury by sword for example was very nasty. It was not 1950's Prince Valiant TV show,no blood and we all fall down and look pretty, by a long way. Fights back then resulted in heads and arms off, guts hanging out and buckets of blood, so Goodkind's descriptions are true to life."