on January 21, 2003
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.
on September 2, 2001
To heck with it...I'm going to write a fantasy novel. I sure as heck thought one had to be better than this. Don't get me wrong- i was looking for some "chewing gum for the mind", and got it- compelling in its simplicity. A quick read, for all its length.
A couple of neat little things- i didn't think the additive/subtractive magic angle was any less hackneyed than most "good" fantasy. Comparisons to Jordan are irrelevant- I enjoyed the first 6 or so WOT books (and read the rest), and Jordan rips off just as freely and sometimes more shamelessly- but Jordan at least has panache... Goodkind has a few really fresh ideas, but they are amateurishly played out in the Fantasy Novel Equivalent of those towns in old Westerns with nothing behind the storefronts. Places, people, and history are provided only to place arbitrary obstacles in the path of the plot. No depth.
The casual use of the rape of children in "Wizard's First Rule" is unacceptable. Hundreds of instances of child molestation are alluded to in this book, some more directly than others. The main villain in this area certainly gets his just desserts, but this whole theme is just trashy writing. The frequency and ubiquity of rape in this novel goes beyond plot/theme/character development and goes straight toward a revealing look at Terry Goodkind himself.
I actually thought that the S&M Mord Sith(yes, a dart-board name if i ever heard one) sequence was pretty original and well thought out, at first. It did go on a bit long- i would have forgiven the length, however, if the payoff had been a bit more lucid. However, it totally came out of the blue- no mention of the Mord Sith or their HUGE part in the villain's plan until Denna shows up to take Richard away. Seemed almost like an excerpt from another book, shivved and shimmed to meet the needs of the current plot. Unfortunately, the current plot features repeated and extended prurient violence. Is Goodkind justifying these acts by having Richard see the good in his S&M experience? probably not consciously, at least I hope not. The context kills the spark of the whole sequence and reduces it to vacant, morbid self-gratification.
I have read other, more horrific scenes in better books. The violence in THIS book, especially against children, is far out of proportion to the needs of the plot.
NOTE TO OTHER REVIEWERS: Please refer to RAPE as RAPE, not SEX. You are unintentionally misleading your readers.
Goodkind's gift is to be able to churn out 800 page novels that actually move fairly quickly- but, to have covered so little ground while dwelling on his base fantasies is unforgivable.
on May 21, 2003
I should've known this book was going to be bad, when the most original fantasy name the author can think of for his main character is "Richard." (Groan). Here's the deal: I purchased the unabridged audio book, and after listening to one tape, found myself gritting my teeth at the thought that I still had 11 more tapes to go. This novel reads like someone's pen and paper D&D game gone bad. Let's see: we've got the innocent farmboy, the evil conniving rich older brother (and we all know in fantasy novels, rich = BAD BAD, BAD), the wise old sage, and the poorly-written fantasy babe. Yawn. Been there, done that.
Dialog was really poor. Main characters seemed to run around in the woods, with no sense of purpose. Characters act stupid to further plot goals, for instance: why did Richard conveniently forget his knife when he was attacked by the thorn bush? And I'm sorry, if I had a LIVING thorn wiggling its way in the flesh of my hand and up into my palm, I would try to get it out! And yet Richard or the author seems to forget about this little plot point for most of tape 1.
I just couldn't get into this audiobook, which didn't live up to my expectations. If you feel you simply MUST read it, pick up the paperback - at least then you can skip the dull parts.
on October 20, 2002
The only reason why I have read up to 180 pages of this book is because it was a recommendation. I haven't read any fantasy before unless you count Harry Potter and Neverending Story. I don't think that it is the fantasy gendre that has the problem, but after reading this book I'm not the keenest to read more of the gendre.
I'll mention the main thing that bothered me about this story: The dialogues are [simplistic]to say the least. Characters get obvious conclusions and are promptly praised by all comrades present. We can actually listen to the protagonist say something like this to himself several times: "If I'm the only one who can kill the Bad Guy, and I can't use my neat sword, then how am I supposed to do it! It makes no sense! No, no...I have to stop looking at the problem and find a solution. I AM The Seeker"
Come on! Every chain of thoughts is presented in this [backward]manner throughout the 180 pages I read. I got so bored to be pointed out the obvious that I had to stop. I just couldn't bear it any longer.
There's other things that I detested but I think they are portraided better in other reviews. Read it? Gosh no!
on August 19, 2002
I am just glad that I read Robert Jordan first. Me and my friend found this series and gave it a shot. Both being Wheel of Time fans, we started reading these books with fairly open minds and high expectations. Then we discovered that most of Goodkind's ideas were less-creative versions of something RJ had already developed in this series years before. It got to be almost comical to us how many things he had stolen and given a new name to, sometimes barely even changing it that much. Jordan has a tendancy to make women more annoying than they really usually are, but Goodkind made everyone in his books abnormally stupid. It makes them more instantly likeable, yes, but it also makes them less interesting after 2 or 3 books. The plot is OK in the first novel, but progressively gets worse and worse as you get further into it. We started to wonder if Robert Jordan would have a winable case for copyright infrengement with some of the stuff Goodkind "invented." The ripping-off is that blatant. I'd like to represent RJ.
Save your money and read WoT first. Trust me
on August 10, 2002
My girlfriend was ranting and raving about this series. She was saying how she couldn't put it down, etc... I was apprehensive but, I thought, "why not?" I didn't even finish the book. I totally didn't like the characters, and couldn't sympathize with them at all. Mr. Goodkind kept stressing throughout how the main character, Richard, and what's her name, Kahlan, couldn't be together. Ok, he spelled that out to us. One minute, everything is fine, the next, they're lamenting about not being able to be together. Then, the next minute, they're prepared to kill each other for their cause, then they had to explain to the readers and each other how they couldn't be together and it would be wrong. HELLO!!! We've already been told a few dozen times. I don't think his characters stay true to who they are supposed to be. Maybe i'm wrong, but, one chapter they think and feel one thing, the next it's the opposite. Very frustrating. And another problem with this book: Darken Rahl, is this ULTIMATE bad guy, and can travel through the boundries with no problems, and seems somewhat omnipotent. And we're told the ONLY person that can stop him is Richard Cypher. Well, what about one of the only remaining GREAT wizards, skiny-naked-guy-on-the-stone? The one that's helping Richard? He knows the whole history and how Richard is "the one" and blah, blah, blah, but he isn't strong enough to defeat Darken Rahl. That doesn't make any sense to me. This old, all seeing, great wizard, has to rely on this guy who doesn't know what the hell he's doing or how to use his sword. Is it me, or are there little(or big) inconsistancies, with the characters? This has to be the worst book i've ever tried to read. If others like it..good for them, god bless. I've read better books, geared towards teenagers. By the way..My girlfriend doesn't like my choice of books, either. The Raymond E. Feist, Riftwar Saga stuff. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
on January 2, 2002
Nothing in fantasy has amazed me more than the fact that Goodkind has been able to get as many books out of this series as he has. I bought the first four books in this series after reading all of the rave reviews and I wish I would have spent the money on lottery tickets. That would have given me greater satisfaction than this drivel.
Never has there been a fantasy "hero" who was as much as a total wuss as Richard. Is this supposed to be fantasy for the politically correct? And the whole romance between he and Kahlan was just sickening. If I wanted to read that kind of ... I'd pick up a Harlequin Romance.
And here's an idea...how's about a little excitement every few hundred pages or so? It was as exciting as watching paint dry.
Needless to say, those other 3 books that I never read were traded in at the local used book store. Honestly, I think writers (and publishers) go for these over-inflated epic fantasies because they know readers will continue to buy them no matter how awful they are because they have already invested so much time and money that they won't give up.
on August 19, 2001
Where to begin, I could start where Mr. Goodkind started, in the "Big Book of Fantasy Cliches". It is books like this that remind me utterly of why I stopped reading Sci-Fi and fantasy novels when I was 14. I read the reviews, and the premise, seemed if not typical, somewhat promising, I could not have been in error more.
Firstly, how many authors are attmepting desperately to be Tolkien? Each review of any work of this genre, is heralded as the new "Lord of the Rings", Goodkind is not Mr. Tolkien, not even close, he is sadly, a cookie cutter, book a year word mill, who churns out long predicatable stories with little insight. if verbosity is a virtue he has it, among few others.
Secondly, aren't we getting sick of the woodsy, coming of age hero, and the myserious woman from another land schtick (please). The whole, I've got a secret, you've got a secret (OH NO!!), and the abominably tedious literary path to the eventual (and in this case dramatcally anti-climatic) revelation. The character's are poor at best, the villian incredibly...well, lame. Goodkind has come into the post-modern writing idea that a quirk makes a character.
Furthermore, the old wizard, the witch in the swamp, the rough but likeable warrior, all drawn from the realms of "SEEN IT ALL BEFORE". The book is so predicatbly tiresome, that all the characters end up "ironically attached", to these "likeable" (more like annoying) people, one is overwhelmed by the sheer fatuity of the novel, that by the time the token Native Americans show up, one's eyes are too tired to roll anymore.
Hmmm... Quirky but boring characters, the most blatant Tolkien rippoff of Gollum that has never been sued for liable, an all to evil and pointless villian out for world domination or destruction (whichever comes first), and a world with no basis for culture or country, one's gotta wonder, why people publish these books. Horrible
I am further dismayed that many more trees will be ruined,or waste paper recycled and laboriously remade to print the 2nd and 3rd installmentof this very boring story. I'll spoil the end of the trilogy for you right now... The good guys win, and you won't care.
A poor idea, set into hundreds and hundreds of pages, I finished out of sheer dedication to never leaving books unfinished, I'm going to burn my copy and hope Mr. Goodkind stops writing, he is niether clever, nor profound and his attempt to do so are tiring. If you didn't like this review you'll hate the book, because everyone you meet in this book lectures for pages and pages of things you already know. Trust me, if you've read any fantasy novels at all, you've read this book already, and chances are the books you read were better.
P.S: This book stomps good taste and reason enough to create the single lamest thing I've ever seen, A red dragon , named Scarlet with a Southern drawl...no I'm not kidding. I hated this book and am returning to literature, vowing never to pick up any fantasy except Tolkien, and this to be read sparingly.
on June 13, 2001
This may be the worst fantasy novel I've ever read, although I have to say that I haven't read that much fantasy recently. On the other hand, there's no way I could rate this less than 4 stars LESS THAN Tolkien or even George R.R. Martin's Fire and Ice series.
Where to begin? The characters are stereotypes. The plot is poorly realized. The wizard's first rule that the book is named after is trite, less than clever, and poorly executed. The ending is unrealistic in that the villain could not possibly be that dumb.
What else? Oh yes, the S&M. There's the immensely disturbing scene where the villain turns the child into a demon. Then there's the scene where the hero is endlessly tortured by the woman who somehow ends up falling in love with him. Then there's the scene when the bad guy rapes (or tries to rape) the priestess. The loving detail in which these things are described seems out of place in a fantasy novel.
What else? Well, there is the name of the single most annoying villain's name I've ever heard, although that's pretty minor. Well, I guess I don't have anything more to add. This will be my last trip into the work of Terry Goodkind. Do yourself a favor and avoid the heck out of this novel. Certainly don't buy it for your kid.
on November 28, 2000
I was thinking that perhaps the book would pick up it's pace, but found that when it was supposed to, and the main characters are being followed and chaced by the villain's minions, I really don't care. Kill them! take over Goodkind's boring world! they can have it! And how long did it take Goodkind to come up with this world anyways? one review I read guessed 15 minutes. that might by pushing it. I am currently working on a fantasy novel and I spent hours working on the world, making maps, histories, calendars, even attempting to make a language. All Goodkind did was take a blank piece of paper, drew three sets of mountains going down the middle and put some cities here and there, then talked about a history that only goes back some hundred years, if that and only talks about one single event. YEAH! just look at Tolkien's Middle Earth and Jordan's world to see what a real map should look like . TIME was put into them. and what about the characters in this story? they are boring! can they even stay mad at each other for more then a few sentances without hugging to make up? well, anways I feel like I have wasted 2 days of prescious reading time by picking up this novel. while I wait for my friend to finish the first Wheel of Time so I can read that again, I will start the second book in the Otherland series, the first of which was truely excellent. Tad Williams, like Robert Jordan, knows how to weave a good story with believeable characters. Goodkind does not. hey Terry, if you read my review here, send me and e-mail and I'll give ya some pointers. if you don't like this series, like me. try reading Robert Jordan, TolKien, Williams, any number of others. don't waste your time with this.