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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, yet formulaic
This book created quite a stir in the fantasy genre. Some people loved it and some hated it. I wanted to give it a fair chance and just finished it. I can't tell you whether you'll like it or not, because this is a book where it really depends on what you want from a story. So I'll tell you what it offers and where it comes up short.
First you need to know it follows...
Published on April 12 2004 by Aaron Lohr

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An insult to fantasy
If you're a rabid fantasy fanatic willing to grab whatever trash comes off the fantasy mill that day to get your daily dose of flaming fireballs and "farmer to hero" junk, you've found your book! Please, make yourself comfortable in the Terry Goodkind home of repeated plots, cardboard characters, and endless rapes. If you're out looking for a powerful, well-done fantasy,...
Published on Sept. 9 2003 by Katie


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, yet formulaic, April 12 2004
By 
Aaron Lohr "Visionary" (Maryland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wizard's First Rule (Hardcover)
This book created quite a stir in the fantasy genre. Some people loved it and some hated it. I wanted to give it a fair chance and just finished it. I can't tell you whether you'll like it or not, because this is a book where it really depends on what you want from a story. So I'll tell you what it offers and where it comes up short.
First you need to know it follows an over-used fantasy theme. An unknown man who doesn't want to be a hero, finds out he is very special and needed to save the world. He ends up being a fierce warrior who wins the heart of the beauty. The bad guy is super evil, and the good guys are super pure. There is an old man who serves as the mentor and he's wise yet spunky.
Many of you will be turned off at this point. But hold on. As formulaic as it is, Goodkind really does string together a nice adventure. Just when I would begin to think it was getting mindless, he would have a really beautiful scene.
There are torture scenes that are vivid, and I was wary of that going in. But he doesn't use them for shock value as some may think. He has a point and makes it very well. It was one of the only scenes that really gripped my emotions. It was quite inspiring.
The female roles in the book are fairly weak. The leading lady is often controlled by her emotions and love for the main character. Lots of crying.
The world Goodkind has constructed, the different creatures, and the way he uses magic are unique and creative. He often explains why magic works the way it does, and it isn't too way out there.
And while this book is one in a series, you can read just this one and it ends well enough so you don't feel you have to read the next one. So it doesn't hurt to give it a chance. If you like this kind of story, you will certainly enjoy this book. I think it is a good one. However, if you're tired of this storyline, you may want to check out something else. I hope this was helpful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An insult to fantasy, Sept. 9 2003
By 
Katie (Seattle, WA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wizard's First Rule (Mass Market Paperback)
If you're a rabid fantasy fanatic willing to grab whatever trash comes off the fantasy mill that day to get your daily dose of flaming fireballs and "farmer to hero" junk, you've found your book! Please, make yourself comfortable in the Terry Goodkind home of repeated plots, cardboard characters, and endless rapes. If you're out looking for a powerful, well-done fantasy, I suggest you run for your life-now.
If you haven't run away screaming yet, allow me a chance to let you do so. The jist of the book is that our hero, Richard, meets the mysterious Kahlan in the cut-and-dried forseeable romance, and must confront his evil father, Darken Rahl, with the aid of all sorts of random wizards, and come to grips with the fact that he's a wizard. Plus endless rape scenes, violence scenes, etc. Have I mentioned those? Goodkind clearly opperates under the belief that the more violence and sex, the more adult. Wrong. All elements of "adult fiction" are misplaced. Don't get me wrong, I'm no priss when it comes to fantasy. I love George R. R. Martin. But this is just misplaced and gruesome...and the rest of the series is worse. Plots are re-hashed, places disappear, and everyone but our stereotypical "heroes" die at the end of every book to no effect...no emotional involvment, or intellectual. It just gets worse from here, folks. Trust me-I made the mistake. Run while you have a chance! This is one of the most horrid abuses of Faerie that Tolkien so carefully tried to preserve, and should disgust any seasoned fantasy fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Predictable, Awful and Ridiculous, Dec 26 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Wizard's First Rule (Mass Market Paperback)
To repeat others ..If I could give it a ZERO I would, negative would be even better. You immediately know who the "secret" wizard is, who the Seeker will be and that Richard's brother is already corrupted. DO NOT waste your time or money on this book.
Some of the more PUHLEEZE plot points? Richard's father entrusts him with memorizing a very important magical book but doesn't bother to tell him ANY of the history of the three lands and the barriers to prepare him for what may come? PUHLEEZE. The TIME sequence in the book seems totally wrong. It hasn't even been a full generation since the barriers went up but the people in Richard's homeland know NOTHING of the other lands. The story itself tries to imply that the barriers and separation of lands are old, long ago but that just isn't the case and to repeat myself makes NO SENSE. And further more how does the son of a ?Trader? definitely not someone even middle class or political reach the highest position possible in the land as Richard's brother did?? Richard's brother mauls Kahlan the first time he meets her, at a formal function. How realistic is that? The first of many hints that Goodkind DOES NOT LIKE women. Kahlan is supposed to be a very powerful and feared woman in her land but everything turns her into a bawling mess. Was Goodkind afraid of a strong female character?? He constantly talks of women being raped, maybe raped or disposable and unimportant in one way or another. The bad guys are truly, stereotypically evil. A child molester who also kills his victims and Darken Rahl who also willy nilly slaughters people. Between him and his friend they will have killed ALL of the younger men that they would need in the future to be their military force.
I expect intelligence and thought in the books I read. It may be fantasy but it should still be intelligent and well written. This book is neither.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars one of the dumbest storylines ever, March 19 2003
This review is from: Wizard's First Rule (Mass Market Paperback)
I just figured I'd share -- I tried five or six times to try and read this book because it has gotten such good reviews. However, the storyline and characters are atrocious. Clue 1: Richard's evil politician brother early on delivers a diatribe against the evils of fire and how they have to strive against it, and the people listening to him don't think he sounds like a dork, railing against fire? give me a break. Clue 2. After the aforementioned speech, the brother goes over and [touches] Richard's new woman friend Kahlan upon being introduced to her, and while Richard and Kahlan are naturally surprised, their reactions are very inauthentic, and the narration does not bother to point out how ridiculous it is for the brother to come over and [touch] a woman he's never met right in front of his brother. Clue 3: Richard, who is not the adventuring sort, gets the Sword of Truth; he and the woman Kahlan meet up with some ranger friend of Richard's, who despite knowing that Richard is not the adventuring sort, listens to Richard explain how he must go on a quest for about 2 minutes and then very solemnly declares that he will protect them -- as corny as it gets. Other clues -- there's very little originality in the book. Maybe if it had an original concept or magic this would redeem it, but it doesn't. Even the bad guy Darken Rahl has a very derivative name.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Annoying, Jan. 21 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Wizard's First Rule (Mass Market Paperback)
I really tried to like this book. Yet, right from the start, I found the protagonist, Richard, extremely annoying. He's just another in a long list of whiny, crying, vomiting main characters that often turn up in fantasy novels, which lead you to find some secondary character to latch onto. Unfortunately, neither Zedd nor Kahlan themselves are all that interesting. Zedd is your stereotypical wizard-type who can do all sorts of magical things and speaks in riddles. Kahlan is a little better, but then Goodkind kills it by making her the "Madonna" who can't have sex. I was very troubled by Denna as well, the dominatrix-type who tortures Richard in a sequence that went on way too long. She plays the "Whore" to Kahlan's character. Of course, Richard breaks his torturer (Denna), she falls in love with him and then he kills her. I don't know what kind of message Goodkind is trying to send with this but, then again, maybe I do. Once again, women are defined by their sexuality. All in all, I didn't find Goodkind's world very imaginative, but if you like your main character crying, pleading, begging for his life and then in the next microsecond killing people, maybe this is for you. Ridiculous.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Run away! Run away!, Aug. 10 2002
By 
not4prophet (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wizard's First Rule (Mass Market Paperback)
If you like lengthy discussions of pedophilia and descriptions of sexual torture, then you'll probably enjoy "Wizard's First Rule". If, on the other hand, you believe that those topics are best excluded from fantasy writing, then you should probably avoid this book like the plague. It would be no exaggeration to say that "Wizard's First Rule" is, by a considerable margin, the worst book I've ever read. It trundles along without any hint of originality or inspiration, and the bizarre and unpleasant sexual content is added frequently in a failed attempt to break the monotony of the paint-by-numbers plot. At the end, all you can do is gape in awe at the author's total incompetence and wonder how anyone with an IQ higher than 30 could possibly find as much as a single redeeming quality in this mess.
We start with an evil overlord, who bears the idiotic name of Darken Rahl. (His father is named Panis Rahl. I kid you not.) Darken happens to need a magic object (in this case, it's a box) to fulfill his desire to take over the world. Starting to sound familiar? It gets worse. We meet a noble but somewhat reluctant hero named Richard Cypher. Richard is mentored by a wise, gray-haired wizard. He also falls in love with a beautiful woman named Kahlan. Unfortunately, an ancient form of magic prevents Kahlan from having sex with any man that she's in love with (D'oh!), but she does the next best thing, following Richard all over the place and offering up dialogue so corny that it would make George Lucas blush ("I can't go on anymore without telling you about me. About what I am. It's cleaving my heart, because I'm supposed to be your friend.") The three heroes march off, fighting various monsters and bad guys along the way, and eventually have their final showdown with Darken Rahl (spoiler: the good guys win). Amazingly, Goodkind takes this already thin storyline and stretches it to over eight-hundred pages, filling the space with tediously predictable events such as a scene where Richard must choose between saving his girlfriend or saving the world. For those who haven't studied the art of comic-book plot development, I'll ruin the suspense by saying that the author dodges the dilemma by having him save them both.
The characters are unbelievably thin. Darken Rahl has no personality or motivations whatsoever. Will fantasy authors ever realize that undeveloped villains are neither frightening nor interesting? Richard fares little better. Whenever he's not fighting, he spends most of the time wallowing in self pity and wishing he were home, yet these emotions never seem to get in the way of his heroic quest. The behavior and emotions of Kahlan and the Wizard Zedd are almost exactly the same, to the point where you wonder why Goodkind bothered to make three separate characters. The cast of supporting characters is even worse. For example, we have a spoiled, arrogant princess (hey, there's an original) who seems to exist only so that we can have the emotional satisfaction of seeing her get humiliated several times.
Whenever the plot slows down, which happens quite frequently, the author tries to keep us awake by providing some violent sexual content. Women are raped, many children get abused and/or murdered, and I'm not even going to mention the man who is forced to eat his own testicles. The high point, or perhaps I should say the low point, of this phenomenon comes towards the end, when Richard gets captured and tormented by a Mord-Sith, one of Darken Rahl's personal torturers. Consider this passage: "There was a stunning explosion of pain in his head. Denna's grip on his hair was all that kept him upright. It was as if she had compressed the pain of an entire death training session into that one touch. He couldn't move, breathe, or even cry out. He was beyond being in pain; the shock took everything from him, and in its place left an all-consuming agony of fire and ice." Now try to imagine this nonsense going on for close to one-hundred pages, and you may start to see the problem. It's interesting to compare the violent content in this book to that in "A Game of Thrones". While George R. R. Martin also included scenes of rape and torture, he always kept them short and never went into unnecessary graphic detail. Furthermore, his episodes always had a purpose, helping to build the characters involved or describe the societies that they live in. In contrast, Goodkind's uses of rape, torture, and pedophilia are pure exploitation. They contribute absolutely nothing to the novel as a whole, and could easily have been omitted without losing anything other than a sizeable chunk of the book's excessive bulk.
Believe me when I say that the problems listed above are only the tip of the iceberg. There is literally nothing in this disaster of a novel that is done right. Due to amazon's size constraints, I don't have time to describe the needlessly long and tedious descriptions, the unsubtle sexism and homophobia, the insults to vegetarians and the physically handicapped, the painfully bad fight sequences, the absurd plot contrivances, and the ending that's worthy of a third-rate Disney movie. Suffice to say, "Wizard's First Rule" is a painfully awful exercise in overused stereotypes, without as much as a single redeeming quality. A vengeful Mord-Sith couldn't make me pick up the sequel to this piece of excrement. Nonsense like this is one of the reasons why many people simply choose to avoid fantasy fiction entirely. Luckily, we have masters like Martin or Guy Gavriel Kay to defend the dignity of the genre, but they're going to have an uphill battle as long as talentless hacks like Goodkind continue to crank out garbage like "Wizard's First Rule".
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach., July 5 2004
By 
W. Schardein "Whisper" (Louisville, KY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wizard's First Rule (Mass Market Paperback)
I had a lot of trouble putting this book down. The times when I did were times when I absolutely could not stand the torture being put on characters I loved.
This novel, as far as genre novels go, is pretty cliche. There aren't a whole lot of big surprises. You have your ranger, your wizard, your evil baddie who's so strong they have to work up to him, yadda yadda yadda. You have your impossible quest, your beautiful woman, and even a dragon. Yippee!!
All that being said, this was a wonderful, character-driven piece that had me on the edge of my seat. Every single character lived and breathed with his or her own personality, and there wasn't a weak character in the batch. The good guys were *so* good and so charismatic that at times I had to get up and walk away because I couldn't stand what was happening to them anymore, and with one exception, the bad guys were *so* bad that I rejoiced when bad things happened to them. I have no problem with black and white, and there was no doubt in this one who the good guys and bad guys were.
The sole exception was the Mord-Sith, Mistress Denna, who had more layers than you normally see in a genre novel. At first, I hated her and really wanted to hurt this fictional character. But by the end, I nearly wept for her and what her life had been.
Warning: The torture and murder scenes are graphic. If, like me, you have a vivid imagination and can't stand the thought of someone being in pain, open the book at your own peril. If you love children and can't stand the thought of anyone hurting them, think twice before you read the book. But if you love a good, character-driven story where you really get to know the people in the book, it's a wonderful read, and a fast one, considering it's an 800-pager.
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4.0 out of 5 stars more than meets the eye, less than expected, June 11 2004
By 
Lucinda A. "lucinda2002us" (Philadelphia, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wizard's First Rule (Hardcover)
I did not mean to write a review, especially when noticing that Wizard's First Rule is but the first installment in a lengthy fantasy series (something which rings alarm bells for all disenchanted fans of Jordan's). And then I came across the editorial review from the Publishers Weekly. While this book is by no means the best fantasy I've ever read and not in the top 20 either, I also think the said review does the author an injustice. Big the book may be, bland perhaps, but in my opinion not exactly hackneyed. For me, the first rule (which the editorial review disclosed as proof of the book's triteness) was actually the key for a metaphor superimposed on the sword & magic conventional action. I had the impression that the author also meant to make a statement about the power of unchecked ideologies, be them extremes of religion (personified by Kahlan), rational inquiry (personified by Richard) or politics (personified by Rahl). Not coincidentally, I thought, the roles of both the Mother Confessor and the Seeker were to arrive at the Truth through their different means, ultimately as invasive and inhuman as Father Rahl's (allusion to Father Lenin) totalitarian despotism. At least that is what passed my mind halfway through the book. Now that I finished it, I am not so sure whether to give the author extra points for attempting a social critique, or to subtract points for him not succeeding very well.
Leaving these musings aside, which may well be misreadings, I found the fantasy plot entertaining and easy to follow. Richard Cypher has powers he doesn't know about. As we might expect, as innocent as he may be, he is also the key to a cataclysmic conflict between good and evil and he has to undertake many journeys and trials to grow into his heritage. I thought the trial of pain administered by Mistress Denna was a neat piece of writing which, contrary to some dire predictions, did not shock my sensibilities. While Richard is well developed as a character, the others are less so. The inevitable traitor (whose identity wasn't that hard to figure out) has a paper-thin motivation. Kahlan's "awful" secret failed to convey to me a sense of drama. I also thought the episodes with Father Rahl were insufficiently developed. For all the terror we are supposed to feel for Father Rahl, he certainly fizzled out in the end. However, I did stay up all night immersed in the action, which suggests that, if one makes allowances for the inevitable missteps of a first book, the book is ultimately a worthy read. Can't wait to read the next volume.
I think the book should have a 3.5-star rating, but I give it 4 to offset some overly harsh reviews.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Cliche and Drab, but promising, May 26 2004
By 
Zdenko Juskuv (Rhode Island) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wizard's First Rule (Hardcover)
Well, this is definitely someone's first book. Obviously Goodkind felt the urge to write a Fantasy novel and hacked together all the cool stuff he in Lord of The Rings, Earthsea, and maybe Wheel of Time. The thing is, I don't think he took a hard look at the book and failed to insert enough of his own unique vision into it.
This book hits almost every fantasy cliché: Old wizards, a blurry and ill defined magic system, prophecy that is conveniently vague, big, sweaty heroes, sexy and submissive women that fall in love with the men instantly as if they were walking gods of sex, villains evil to the point of silliness, magic swords only certain people can wield, and of course, dragons that are evil and capricious creatures of fire and magic.
His plotting is kind of retarded: You can see every twist coming and the heroes discover or reveal a new kind of magic every time they get into a fix.
Still, there are a lot of points in the book that are very cool and this makes his second book look promising. The bottom line is that if you really like the Fantasy Genre, especialy its hokey conventions, then you will tolerate or even like this book. But if you are unsure of fantasy or just tired of cliché, then skip this one for Eye of the World or Gene Wolfe.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but the sadism is intense and over the line., May 25 2004
This review is from: Wizard's First Rule (Mass Market Paperback)
I have read fantasy by Brooks, Tolkien, Feist, Jordan, Weis and many others. Goodkind's first book was, to me, good but not great. While I do agree with many of the other harsh critiques, I still enjoyed the book overall. I was engaged with the characters and the plot. I could even handle the brutal torture (of the adults) and felt that, while excessive, IT did contribute to the characters' development. But there was one side plot that bothered me - almost enough to not buy further sequels. Innocent children were involved in sick torture and abuse. While this did make me loathe the characters involved, it also ripped away much of the enjoyment I took from the book. Really folks, it was over the line from my perspective. In scenes children are raped (rather it is hinted at) and in one scene motlen lead is poured into a child's mouth.
They are so brutal that in the end, you may be haunted by the scenes. As a child psychologist who has seen lots of bad stuff, this still bothered me greatly.
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Wizard's First Rule
Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind (Mass Market Paperback - July 15 1997)
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