Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wizard's First Rule: Sword Of Truth Series Book Review

When Terry Goodkind decided to finally add to the amazing world and story of Richard and Kahlan from his Sword of Truth series I was so overcome with glee.  His last book was recently released and I had not read the Sword of Truth series in about 7 years.  Although the basis of the story will never leave my mind, I wanted to have all of the little details brought to the forefront, I wanted to be sucked back into the epic world that Goodkind created with the life adventure he takes you on in this series and then add to it the 2 recent books.

With that being said I have started over with book 1: Wizard's First Rule...  Now before I get too far ahead of myself I want to give you some background knowledge on what a truly gifted writer Terry Goodkind is.
Terry Goodkind wrote Wizard's First Rule in 1994.  He was previously a painter and had no interest in writing due to being dyslexic.  He has been influenced greatly by the objectivism in the books written by Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged).  This is apparent in many of his novels.  Wizard's First Rule was the first novel that Terry Goodkind has ever written and it was auctioned off to the record price of $275,000.  The most money ever paid at that time for a first time author fantasy novel.  

Now back to the book Wizard's First Rule.   The first time that I read this book in 2006, or 2007 I remember speeding through the first three books in the series, I was SO into them in fact that for Christmas I got the remaining 8 books and was thrilled and didn't need anything else.  I can't even tell you what else I got for Christmas, because this ruled my mind at the time.  I have since shared this book with so many people.  To date, not a one who has taken the chance to pick this series up has been disappointed and everyone I know has always felt like they have been connected with this world. 

The Sword of Truth starts out introducing you to Richard Cypher, the woodsman and guide.  He is in a distraught state of mind as his father was killed violently with no real clue as to who the killer may have been.  While out in the woods clearing his mind and on a constant search to clues for the killer he spots Kahlan Amnell on a mountain pass being followed by 4 men.  He decides that she appears to be in danger and due to his huge heart he goes after her to try to help.  From the very first chapter Goodkind sucks you in with his incredible attention to detail and with giving you the feeling that you are actually there watching and taking part in the adventure.  He does an amazing job of telling the story from the point of view of almost every character that has any sort of significant role at all.  He makes you feel like you are in that person's mind.  From man to woman from child to elder, wizard to Seeker to Confessor, from "good" guy to "bad" guy.  He makes you really CARE about his characters throughout the story.  He humanizes them all.  He does not present a formidable foe without showing you glimpses into what made them who they are.  Richard as a man is able to objectively look at situations and people from more than one side by the end of the story to really show the entirety of things. 

The title Wizard's First Rule actually comes from the first rule of being a wizard as taught by Richard's mentor and friend the wizard Zedd:
"Wizard's First Rule: people are stupid." Richard and Kahlan frowned even more. "People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People's heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.
"Because of Wizards First Rule, the old wizards created Confessors, and Seekers, as a means of helping find the truth, when the truth is important enough. Darken Rahl knows the Wizard's Rules. He is using the first one. People need an enemy to feel a sense of purpose. It's easy to lead people when they have a sense of purpose. Sense of purpose is more important by far than the truth. In fact, truth has no bearing in this. Darken Rahl is providing them with an enemy, other than himself, a sense of purpose. People are stupid; they want to believe, so they do."
—Chapter 36, p.560, U.S. paperback edition
*The truth in this philosophy can be applied in every day in watching the news and what is reported and the way that people react to it.  

This and all of Terry Goodkind's books go beyond just the simple art of story telling.  They are also philosophical and make you think.  You find yourself looking forward to the next time that you can be in the world of the series no matter how bleak things may be.  I at times would get to anxious for what was to come that I would find myself momentarily skipping through some of the descriptions to see what was about to happen to one of the many beloved characters.   This book does a wonderful job showing that everyone is good or bad in their own way.  And that we are all humans working towards the purpose that seems to be right in our own eyes based on our own world views and our culture and values.  We all have different backstories and no two purposes are exactly the same.  Although some may lead us on a path together or may make us seem more "right" or "wrong" to someone else. 

I realized that no, I have not given a very detailed explanation of this book and I do that on purpose.  Wizard's First Rule is your initial glimpse into this atmosphere and this world and this way of thinking and living and the fantasy.  So many small parts within the story constantly play upon one another and adapt and grow into a much larger picture in this and in the following books.  It is for that reason that I merely invite you in to explore for yourself.  I do not want to ruin the start of your journey for you.  Within you will see through the eyes of  Richard Cypher, a TRUE seeker, Kahlan Amnell the Mother Confessor, Zeddicus Z'ul Zorander a wizard of the first order, Darken Rahl, a powerful wizard with a powerful agenda and much vengeance in his heart, Rachel, a Princess's plaything.  These are merely the characters whose eyes we see through and dosn't even come close to covering the many unforgettable characters that you will meet along the way.  Take a chance and dive into this amazing world, or revisit it if you have been away for too long like I have.  I can guarantee that you won't regret the time spent there. 

 Terry Goodkind's Official Site


  1. After all of this time of following Goodkind, I never knew that much about him. You’ve done a really good job of capturing the foundation that sets up the series. Great insight Britt, Do you ever think about writing stories?

    1. Thank you very much I am flattered by your comment. I just write what I feel. I am in the process of writing (very early stages). However I did have a dream not too long ago that gave me a VERY clear direction of where I could take the story. So I am very excited about the prospects just need to get it down on paper.