Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind

Rating 8.1/10
Excellent, adult-orientated fantasy.

Wizard's First Rule is the first book in Terry Goodkind's The Sword of Truth series.

Richard Cypher holds the fate of three nations in his hands, he must learn the Wizard's First Rule to achieve his goals. The heart hounds are stalking the humans, blood sucking flies are abound and nowhere is safe. Magic makes love stronger and despair harder.

Terry Goodkind has created a consice, intelligent book that is believable from the start. This is fantasy that is definately aimed at the adult rather than the child and some chapters do contain quite graphic paragraphs of a sexual or violent nature.

It is evident that Terry Goodkind has strong political and social views that he is keen to get across in his books. Rather than finding this spoilt the narrative, I found it healthy reading a book that makes you think about what the author is trying to say. I found that Ursula Le Guin's works had the same effect on me.

"From a young age, Richard had liked to spend time with Zedd while his father was away. Richard's brother Michael, was a few years older, and having no interest in the woods, or Zedd's rambling lectures, preffered to spend his time with people of means. About five years before, Richard had moved away to live on his own, but he often stopped by his father's home, unlike Michael, who was always busy and rarely had time to visit. If his father had gone away, he would leave Richard a message in the blue jar telling him the latest news, some gossip, or of some sight he had seen."
Wizard's First Rule: Chapter 1

This is an excellent fantasy book and hopefully Terry Goodkind can keep up this high standard throughout the entire series.

This Wizard's First Rule book review was written by

A video book review by WordsAndOtherGoodIdeas

This book is classic fantasy, but it has modern application. The lessons that it teaches you, and goes on to teach you with each new book in the series, are ones which stay with the you and affect you long after you put the book away. Goodkind's classic style is perfectly executed, making a familiar story new and exciting, and introducing the reader to characters who capture the imagination and who, as the series develops, you grow to love and admire. There are some technical problems to do with style and narration, soft magic systems, exposition, and overarching allegory, but these fade into the background as the story unfolds.
WordsAndOtherGoodIdeas, 7.5/10

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All reviews for: The Sword of Truth Series

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Wizard's First Rule reader reviews

from United States

10-stars

One of the most amazing books I've ever read! I recommend it to anyone who is into fantasy books.

from Utah

10-stars

I own the entire series. It is by far my favorite. Not only is it beautifully written with a captivating plot, but has characters to hold up to it. Goodkind is astounding. He is BY FAR the best at character development out of any author I've come across thus far. He creates very real people with as much depth and development as you or I. (If only Brandon Sanderson could do the same) Of course there are similarities to plot points we are all familiar with. That is the case with most everything now....regardless, his work is definitely his own. His work is inspiring, not just as far as writing, art, and imagination are concerned, but where life itself is concerned. Rise to the challenge to live your life. Choose good because you wish it, not because of blind faith..or otherworldly promises. Seek truth instead of choosing to follow a "claim" because it is easy. I love the underlying messages in Goodkinds works. Some are philosophies I have lived by far before I was introduced to his genius, others he inspired. No author has gained my respect in the way Terry Goodkind has. Many readers commented on his "rants" and how he voices his views through his characters. I believe that is a core piece of his writing and is why I love it so much. It wouldn't be Goodkind if it was any other way.

from Durham, North England

6-stars

Wizard's First Rule represents Goodkind at the pinnacle of his writing, and is therefore a more than worthy addition to anyone's shelf of fantasy. Though suffering from sexism in several places (particularly in descriptions), the books writing is solid but not astounding with the usual monsters, dragons and evil cults drawn in enough detail to be more than atmospheric, though not too much as to be grandiose. while in this book Goodkind borrows from several standard fantasy tropes, hero from land of no magic meats more magic, hunting by enemy with evil creatures, dragons, complex magic rituals and monsters, all have a more than unique enough twist upon them to hold the interest even of a hardened fantasy reader, particularly in the ideas presented around magic and the titular sword of truth which gives its name to the series. Likewise, the overall style of the book is solid, though not quite astounding, and you do get a real sense of place and of the physical and sensory detail of things, albeit not quite in the details you would wish, (sometimes I wonder if there are any none beautiful women in Brooks' world). At the beginning and at least a good ways through the book. The characterization suffers slightly from being born out of archetypes, manly and competent hero learns of magic world, woman with powers who is social outcast, wise old utter with mysterious past, however in this book Goodkind does at least shake matters up enough to produce a little more tension and interest as matters progress, albeit that you do need to read a fair ways into the book to have those sorts of changes happen, though sadly the rather clichéd romance which is pretty predictable from the boy sights girl moment is not one of these unique points, though thankfully in this book it is not quite as major an element. Of particular note in characterization terms is his villain, Darken Rahl, a character who is both repulsive and understandable, and is drawn in very repellent details from his physical gestures to his opinions and appearance, making him both a menacing and believable antagonist, indeed I was sorry he didn't make it into more books in the series since for at least the next two or three entries Goodkind seems to spend his time searching for as good a villain. The book's over all plot is relatively simple, and indeed takes on something of an episodic, journey like quality, almost as if it were written with the intention of being a TV series. While this does emphasize the fact that the characters are on a progressive quest, it also often feels a little too episodic, particularly when past episodes are only slightly referenced in current ones. That being said, some of the episodes are deeply moving and extremely well drawn, though sadly once those episodes were over they didn't seem to have as much impact on later parts of the book as I would've expected, which was odd considering some feature supposedly profound experiences for the main characters. For me the single two best episodes in the book were the account of Rachel, a little girl who serves as the playmate to a spoilt and unpleasant princess, and the heroes survival under sexual torture and abuse. This survival is particularly note worthy as Goodkind is probably the only author of fantasy I know who actually includes the rape of a man by a woman, and still worse, does so in such exquisite detail that it is extremely disturbing to read, and makes Richard's survival something which is all the more uplifting to the reader. Sadly neither of these episodes receives prominence within the overall plot, and indeed the final defeat of the villain, while conclusive was a little unsatisfying in that from a progression point of view the hero could have done the same at any point right from the start making the rest of the book feel rather superfluous. Indeed, I sometimes wonder why Richard didn't just get himself captured at the start of the book and save so much trouble. Wizards first rule is a good book, the real problem however is that this is really where Goodkind stopped. As the series progressed it seemed more and more that Goodkind was trying to recapture his own success in the first book. Further torture, bigger monsters, worse villains, more complex wizard's rules, different magical lands. Still worse, where as in Wizard's first rule while Goodkind's own political opinions are evident, they do not spoil the book, later books turn more and more into political and social warrants, made all the worse for the fact that those characters represented as opposed to Goodkind's own political views are straw men whose opinions are parodied and caricatured, even when they are not represented simply as evil for their own sake. Thus, reasonably good fantasy is replaced by badly argued political ethics, which rings even worse when the positions being argued against have cogent defences which Goodkind seems unable to wish to engage with. Still more problematically, Goodkind's political opinions are often put into the mouths of completely inappropriate characters. I can just about accept that Richard Sypher, a woods guide albeit one who has studied various books could give an inspiring right wing lecture (though not perhaps the affect that this has on his audience), but when a 12 year old girl gives a long rant as she murders someone about being on the side of life, then my credulity is stretched. It also does not help that Goodkind's political opinions are often of a rather harsh nature which make his good characters take actions I myself would regard as pretty evil. Combine this with a very blatant sexist and social Darwinist streak and you have what begins as a series of good, if somewhat standard fantasy descending into preachy raving and justifications for totally unpleasant actions against an enemy who's opposing view is in no way representative of the view that Goodkind claims it is. Of course this is a gradual decline, and throughout the rest of the series there are still beautiful moments or fine elements of characterization or humour spread through the preaching, but these become fewer as the series progresses, and really the only way to avoid that entirely would be to read Wizard's first rule and then stop. Thus, Wizards first rule is a book I'd recommend as a fun if not exceptional fantasy, however unless people have a strong stomach for unrealistic opinions and being preached at I'd not advise reading any more of the series. The six star rating however is based on Wizard's first rule alone, I'm only sorry that Goodkind managed to get worse and not better in his later books since the potential at least in this first book is there for him to create something truly memorable.

from England, UK

10-stars

This book is utterly fantastic! I understand what people say about seeing parallels between this series and others such as LOTR. But that's part of the writing business. Ideas get used again and again. It has a lot of it's own originality, it grabbed me from the first page and I have gone on to read them all. I found myself loving, laughing, crying and I was completely enthralled in following Richard through this adventure. Don't miss out on something that could give you an amazing outlook on truth and honour.

from California

9-stars

The plot was sort of familiar but overall, a fascinating book that kept you reading.

from Iowa

10-stars

Are you kidding me!? These books are the most amazing series in the world. I read all 10 of them in less than 6 months! And i hate reading! The plot sucks you in and you always find yourself trying to be like Richard! THIS SERIES ROCKS!

from London

3-stars

The first book in this series is fairly readable, but I can't give it a review with a higher score than this because the author well and truly betrays himself later in the series by taking far too long to advance plot, instead opting to spend enormous amount of time on fairly inconsequential matters. On top of that, the author particularly likes to preach about the evils of political issues that he doesn't agree with, in effect making his protagonist his own personal soapbox for modern political issues. In short, I enjoyed the first few books of this series, but I hate the fact that it goes so far downhill.

from Maine

10-stars

I loved this book. Life like characters that become even more drawn over the series. An excellent read for everyone.

from Filey

10-stars

Enjoyed the book from start to finish, and enjoyed the whole seris even though some of the mid seris books are hard going. The main charactor Richard goes to hell and back several times for love and honour. By the end of the seris I had loved and hated, laughed and cried along with the whole saga. Don't care what any other reviews say about these books, I say miss these and you miss a fantastic fantasy read.

from Madison

6-stars

Definitely not anywhere near my favorites from the genre, but a classic cookie-cutter good vs. evil story that is good filler while waiting for new books in other series.

from Nottingham

8-stars

I found that this book draws quite heavily on other fantasy novels - possibly a bit too much. I constantly had the feeling that I had read this book before. That aside, I still think its a great book, and would recommend to people who have perhaps enjoyed Pullman or Paolini and are looking for something a bit heavier.

from UK

6-stars

A good read, yet I couldn't help seeing parallels in the story and characterisation with The Lord of the Rings and Start Wars (young apprentice, old wizened scholar, beutiful princess type etc etc.) Not good enough to tempt me into continuing the series though......

8.2/10 from 13 reviews

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