Wizard’s First Rule: a book review

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Image from http://sot.wikia.com/

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.

Overview

Richard Cypher is a man on a mission: after the curious murder of his father, he sets off on a personal quest to find the killer, despite all misgivings. The only evidence he has is a branch of thorn that he soon finds in the forests near the boundary – carnivorous, semi-sentient thorn. On his way home, not much closer to finding out his father’s killer, he encounters a beautiful woman hiking through the woods in clothes not at all appropriate for hiking: and she is being followed by four men.

With Kahlan’s help, Richard saves her from the men and they hurry home. Soon, Richard and Kahlan both are swept up in a dangerous adventure out of their control, and together they must save the land from evil reminiscent of dark magic from many years before, with the help of eccentric wizard Zedd and boundary warden Chase.

Wizard’s first rule: People are stupid.

Pros

This is a seriously entertaining read. I was completely swept up by the relationship between Richard and Kahlan, and the mystery behind Kahlan’s station in the world – and everyone’s explicit fear of her. Zedd was a great addition as well; a lecherous, worldly wizard always is. He was a great comic relief character, and I absolutely loved him. The lore of the underworld was neat, as well – as well as the magic, especially the things Zedd does and the magic of the Confessors. When the con dar is introduced, I was stunned by how badass Kahlan suddenly got, being an already pretty three dimensional character to begin with. As well, I really liked the culture of the Mud People. I might start slapping the people I respect.

Cons

It’s sort of a disjointed read at times, as Goodkind has a tendency to ramble a little and repeat himself. There’s also a fair bit of telling instead of showing, but not so much that the book gets boring. Richard’s behaviour sort of gets confusing and irritating at times. He starts out as a totally placid and lovely young man, but after Zedd gives him the Sword of Truth and he learns to harness the anger that comes with it, he just gets weird. His temper, understandably, gets shorter and he gets a little rash, but it’s a completely awkward transition. I remember reading about how nice he was, and the next minute he’s screaming and threatening to kill people and Kahlan’s afraid of him, and I was extremely confused by it. Once I got used to it, it wasn’t so bad, but the change was a weird one.

The other thing that sort of got under my skin but is totally nitpicky were the names. Goodkind jumped between completely normal names – Richard, Chase, Michael, George, Rachel, etc – to the long, weird things we expect from epic fantasy – Zeddicus, Kahlan, Darken, Panis, Savidlin, etc. The normal names bothered me, because I wasn’t expecting it and it totally threw me off. Richard, Chase, and George weren’t so strange, but when I encountered Rachel and Violet, I was completely thrown. Again, though, this is personal preference and I’m being nitpicky.

All in all

I really enjoyed Wizard’s First Rule, and I’m reading the second one now. It was recommended to me, and I’m really glad I followed through with it.

Wizard’s First Rule gets three out of five stars.

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