You Are What You Read

Reviews of books as I read them. This is basically a (web)log of books I've read.

My Photo
Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States

I am a DBA/database analyst by day, full time father on evenings and weekends.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Wizard's First Rule

Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule is the first book of a high fantasy epic. The lands of D'Hara and the Midlands are ruled by Darken Rahl, a ruthless wizard bent on controlling the entire population. Rahl's goal is to open one of the three magic boxes that will give him ultimate power, but if he chooses wrong, either he will die or all humanity will die.

Richard Cypher is a woods guide in Westland, a land separated from Midlands by a magic veil. Richard knows nothing about Rahl but learns quickly when he helps a beautiful young woman named Kahlan escape from four assassins. For the first half of the story Richard is ignorant of Kahlan's powers and why Rahl would want to have her killed. Kahlan is the last surviving woman in a line of Confessors, who have the power to bring a person under their complete control. As such, she is a big threat to Rahl.

The story unfolds as Richard and Kahlan search for the third hidden magic book, to keep it from Rahl before the first day of winter. All the fantasy tropes are there. There's Zedd, an old man and friend of Richard who turns out to be a wizard with much knowledge of Rahl. There's the constant traveling from one goal to another as they get clues to the box's location. There's the helpers give the clues. There's a magic sword that is both boon and bane to the person who wields it. Richard can channel the sword using his anger, but he must be careful not to let it overwhelm him. The story is done well enough to keep the reader interested for the first two thirds of the book.

It is the last third that gets exciting. Richard and Kahlan's relationship grows even as they keep secrets from each other. They are caught in a trap between love and duty. But when Richard is captured by a mysterious woman the story takes a big twist. Richard must face new levels of physical pain with only the memory of Kahlan to sustain him. He is broken down and rebuilt as a slave, willing to do Rahl's bidding. The depths that Richard experiences and how he survives is the real center of the story.

The first several hundred pages are readable but nothing extraordinary for a fantasy novel. Outside of the complex relationship between Richard and Kahlan, it is full of moderately inventive fantasy plot. But the story gets fascinating with Richard's capture and transformation. There is a truly interesting plot development when he meets Kahlan and Zedd for the first time after his capture. The conflict between Rahl and the protectors of the world is crystallized perfectly in the last chapters. It is a fulfilling story. A-

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home