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A mini-review of Wizard’s First Rule

January 13, 2010

In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, appears in Richard Cypher’s forest sanctuary seeking help … and more. His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence.

In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword– to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed … or that their time has run out.

This is the beginning. One book. One Rule. Witness the birth of a legend.

Unfortunately, Wizard’s First Rule struck me as a typical high fantasy novel, full of clichés – the kind that gives fantasy a bad reputation among non-fantasy readers. Wizard’s First Rule is very long (nearly 900 pages of small print) and is the first in the twelve-book (yes, twelve – twelve) Sword of Truth series. I was enjoying it until nearly half-way through when a new, very young character was introduced, and the character’s thoughts and dialogue didn’t seem right. This character really put me off and took me out of the story, reminding me that I was reading something constructed. Not a good thing. Then, the wizard’s first rule – obviously something very important to the book – was a huge let-down, something that tried for profundity and didn’t even come close. Then comes a detailed (yet repetitive), drawn-out s/m torture section that could have communicated the point and essence much more effectively in about a tenth of the pages. But I kept reading, as I was already 500-some pages in, and I’m sorry to report that the book didn’t redeem itself in the end. I really did enjoy the book at first, but it became a chore to finish. I’m amazed that people go on to read eleven more in the series. And people must like it, because there’s even a TV series called “Legend of the Seeker” (available for instant play on Netflix).

For me, one mark of a great (or even good) fantasy novel is when the things that should seem ridiculous (magical powers, crazy names, etc.), don’t. Or, if it isn’t instantly believable, it becomes so over time. I’m still slightly rolling my eyes at many things in Wizard’s First Rule. And after recently reading a truly great fantasy, I just can’t recommend this one.

Have you read Wizard’s First Rule? What did you think? Are the rest of the books in the series worth reading?

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 13, 2010 10:46 am

    I always spotted Terry Goodkind books in the shop and always been a little intrigued. No wonder I always spot him with there being 12 books in this series, wowsa. Thank you for sharing I think I will stay well away.

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