Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Review: Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind

I’ve decided to read Wizard's First Rule after watching a few episodes of the TV series The Legend of the Seeker. I really didn’t know what to expect when I got hold of the book. Would I enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the televised adaptation? (Not as much as Merlin though) Would I like it more? Or would I just be disappointed? I have to say that even now, after reading the first outing of this multi-volume opus, I cannot really say how I feel about it; a bit confused maybe. And that is only because in some parts I prefer the TV version and in others the written. But also, I have to say that every now and then the series ill serves the text, while at points the text becomes kind of boring. However…
     However, I cannot really say that I’ve wasted my time reading it. It took me less than a week to slip through the more than 750 pages of the paperback edition and at the end I left it behind with a wide grin on my face, while at the same time wondering about what is going to happen next. No, I don’t know that since in their effort to adapt the books the TV people decided to move back and forth through the various volumes and thus make things complicated for any future readers. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.
     Now, let’s take a look at the story. A young man who works as a Forest Guide and goes by the name of Richard sees his entire world falling apart from the one moment to the next as his father falls dead in the hands of some foreign intruders. At the same time a strange yet beautiful woman comes out of nowhere looking for him and his good old friend Zed who has quite a lot of secrets to share. She’s on a mission to lead them across the liquid and terrifying wall that divides the world to the other side where they are to fight the good cause against the legions of a new tyrant in the land of D’ Hara. The latter, Darken Rahl, intends to unite the three parts of the world and rule them as one. Richard, according to the legend, is the Seeker, the only one who can oppose his plans, despite the fact that he’s still ignorant of his special fate. So we follow his steps as he’s struggling to find his way in a yet unknown land; a land much tougher that he could ever comprehend. His journey will be a journey of blood-baths and hard-earned experiences, which will lead to his self-fulfillment and a new sense of knowledge that will hang heavy on his mind and soul. During the best part of this ordeal he’ll have Kahlan, the mysterious woman, by his side; a woman unlike any other: strong and fragile, logical and at parts quite out of her mind, brave but weak in the face of love.
     The Wizard’s First Rule is a fantasy adventure, with tones of mystery, which takes place in a strange land where the metaphysical is the rule not the exception. Its author may not be Tolkien but he sure knows how to create an imaginary world and help the reader travel through it. But, and this is an important But, I think that the book would be much better if it was, let’s say, a hundred pages shorter. I’d point out to the part of the story during which Richard travels with the Mord’Sith; that could really benefit from some editing. Who knows, though; maybe the author is yet another victim of the publishing world’s demands of… writing bricks of volumes.
    Anyway, despite the above, I’m sure that the friends of fantasy writing will enjoy this book just as much, or even more than I did, since it more than serves its purpose.

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