When I picked up Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind, I kinda knew what to expect from the novel. A start to a long-winding Fantasy series somewhat on the lines of Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time” series, and yes…it is similar in some ways. This book is the first of the “Sword of Truth” series.
The story is mainly about this guy, named Richard Cypher, who finds out he’s destined to be a True Seeker (read the book to know what it means). He joins forces with the heroine of the book, Kahlan who has magical powers. They embark on a quest to defeat the evil Darken Rahl, a mighty wizard who is trying to use the Boxes of Orden (again read the book to find out what they are) to gain power to rule the entire land.
Terry Goodkind is obviously making a case against communism here. Darken Rahl is a dictator who wants people to divide the fruits of their hard work amongst others. Therefore, hard-working people have to starve because lazy people who cannot provide for themselves depend on the state for assistance…hehe, this concept sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
The story moves predictably but quickly. Richard travels long distances and encounters various scary people and beasts, whom he is either able to convince them to support him, or subdue them. 500 pages or so into the book (this is a gargantuan book of about 800 pages), and I was still gripped by it.
However, the last couple of hundred pages really killed it for me. Too many gratuitous sado-masochistic sex and torture scenes. The scenes where Darken Rahl tortures, kills, cooks, and eats a young boy were beyond disgusting (this actually happens in the beginning of the book itself). Also, the S & M scenes between Richard Cypher and Mistress Denna (a true-blue vamp) were completely unnecessary…even from a plot perspective, these sections did not move the story any further along, or in any way develop the character of the personalities.
The ending of the story was pretty good though, and sets the stage nicely for the rest of the novels in the series.
Last word: This book is definitely for people with a strong stomach and lovers of hard-core Fantasy novels. If you don’t like violence, don’t pick up this book.