13 February, 2012

(Audiobook) Review - Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind

Richard and Kahlen's Relationship Timeline:

Day One:
Richard: "Kahlen, now that we just met, we're the bestestest friends aren't we?"
Kahlen: "We sure are."

Day Two:
Richard: "Kahlen, we're the bestestest of friends and I would give my life for you even though we just met."
Kahlen: "Me too!"

Day Three:
Richard: "Kahlen, I love you more than life itself. What? It's only been three days? Well, that still seems sensible."
Kahlen: "My sentiments exactly!"

Days Four through 20:
Richard: "Love, love, love."
Kahlen: "I love you, but we can never be together ever because of the magic."

Days 21 through 30:
Random Mord Sith comes in out of nowhere.

Days >30:
See Days Four through 20.


So, I didn't quite go into this with the best of intentions. I wanted to jump on the bandwagon since I felt like the only one not making fun of Goodkind. I do have to say, as much as it pains me to admit it, I kind of enjoyed Wizard's First Rule [US] [UK] [Kindle - only $4.99].

Ten years ago, I would have loved it more than anything. Five years ago, I still would have really really liked it. Today, I've realized I'm not quite the same reader I was before.

I've always loved what many term the "traditional" fantasy. Farmer/scullion learns true history that he/she is the ultimate of awesome, the supreme queen of butterflies and aardvarks, the master and commander.

While I enjoyed Goodkind's twist on this traditional tale, it was still a bit much for me at times. Richard is the boy-who-would-be-insert-title and he's just too perfect. He's good at EVERYTHING. Okay, he's a wilderness guide, so he's good at tracking and woodsy stuff (that's the technical term, believe me, I'm a woodsy guide). I can get behind that. But then he can fight and solve riddles and do rubik's cubes and everything.

Then, there's a distinct lack of foreshadowing. I'm sure there's another term that describes this even better, but 'foreshadowing' works at least at my level. We jump from one adventure to the next really without any warning. I don't think Wizard's First Rule will ever be considered a classic, but it's also hard to find even the most belligerent detractor of Goodkind saying a bad word about it.

There's the ultimate good versus bad tale going on, but to get to the end, there's so much padding with so many adventures in between. We have to go to the mud people so they can tell us stuff. Oops, the mud people can't tell us, we have to go to that mountain over there and it's such a dangerous mountain. Oops again, now we have to call a fairy by tapping our ankles twice while holding our breath, doing a somersault on a donkey and spelling the word Goodkind backward.

I know Eddings' Belgariad does much the same thing, but that has a special place in my heart, whereas The Sword of Truth was just too late in my reading career. Add to that the less than stellar feelings toward the later volumes in the series, you may not see me carrying on.

I will say, the ending was pretty good and will actually be moving my 3 star rating up to a 3.5. I can see why so many were suckered into having to finish this series.

3.5 out of 5 Stars (Really liked it)

Ps. For the longest time I honestly thought Wizard's First Rule was referring to to a Wizard's first time ruling a land or territory when in fact it is referring to something much more dumb.


Todd Newton said...

Nice. Yeah I bought (used) and read this AFTER watching the TV series ... found Richard and Kahlan to be a lot less enjoyable in literary form. Not a bad book, but not exactly an instant classic.

Bryce L. said...

Yep, I watched the show a while back, but lost interest in that after season one.

Jamie Gibbs said...

I was one of those who were suckered into reading the entire series (I got wise in time to not read The Omen Machine).

WFR was my first fantasy, and so I thought it was the bee's knees. I'm glad my tastes have evolved since then.

mathias said...

I really don't get it why people still waste their attention on such authors. There are enough good or great writers out there, there is no point bothering with such weirdos (including others, like Orson Scott Card).

Bryce L. said...

@Felix - I had to get in on the party of those who bash him. :) While I can't say I'm there yet, I actually semi-enjoyed this one, I can at least say I've read him. Will probably not do so again.

I'll be honest, I've enjoyed everything I've read by Card. Goodkind I've heard writes crap whereas Card at least has yet to fail me in that regard.