“…if Darken Rahl takes the whole world into madness, then we will die with a sword in our hands, not chains on our wings…. We will fight to our last breath if need be, and in our death, let us inflict a wound on him that will fester until it claims him”- p 242.
Wizard’s First Rule (WFR) is the first book in what was originally the twelve book Sword of Truth (SOT) series written by Terry Goodkind. The series now has over eighteen books and counting, though I am still getting around to reading the recent additions.
Richard, a simple woods guides from Hartland, is thrown into war when Darken Rahl, the tyrant of D’Hara, invokes magic that could provide him ultimate power over everything OR destroy the world as they know it. Named the Seeker of Truth by a powerful wizard Richard must search for a way to stop Rahl before the first day of winter. Richard is guided through the Midlands by a mysterious and powerful woman named Kahlan and aided by a number of people along the way.
Things I liked:
I found the characters in this series fairly realistic and relatable. The characters regularly show weakness and make mistakes – some mistakes more substantial than others.
While Richard strives to stop Rahl he wants nothing more than to return home and continue living as a woods guide after, but fate has other plans. Richard also isn’t your normal swoonworthy hero. In the start of WFR he is fairly naive of what lays beyond his own home, but with Kahlan’s help that changes quickly.
This first book reveals some of Kahlan’s past but I feel her character really takes hold in later in the series. There is a lot of character development throughout the series for Richard too as more responsibility is dumped on his shoulders and everyone turns to him for answers.
“…We all can be only what we are, nothing more, or less” – p 28.
While written simply at times this book is thought-provoking; examining basic human nature and redefining the traditional views of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. I particularly liked this quote because in many cases someone who is sure their view or reasoning is right is far more dangerous than someone who knows they are in the wrong, but acts that way regardless.
“…no army has ever marched into battle thinking that the Creator had sided with their enemy” – p 117.
There is a lot of internal monologue and lengthy explanations for certain characters or past events. I know some people would view this as a negative but I feel it really sets up the whole series and provides a solid base for a number of key characters.
WFR wasn’t one of those cookie cutter ‘let’s go on a quest!’ fantasy books. There was quite a bit of dark content and while some of it can be hard to read it provides an explanation for certain reasoning and actions of characters later in the series.
Things I didn’t like:
About 3/4 into the book one character is captured and tortured at length. I’m aware this part of the plot was essential to the development and introduction of certain characters but I won’t lie – it was hard to read.
Sometimes Goodkind repeats himself over and over to cement certain points. It can become tedious after a while, but I feel he does it less after this book.
Overall this is a fantastic series if you can stick with it. I will totally admit that there were a few books in SOT I didn’t really like *cough, book 5 & 7, cough* but the series as a whole makes up for it. Don’t be deterred by the slow pace at the beginning, it picks up!
This book features violence, torture, almost rape among other things so I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under 16 years old.
Thanks for reading my review!
*Sticker in both images purchased from RedBubble (Artist: MythicPhoenix)