While Goodkind’s first book in his now complete 11-book Sword of Truth series begins with an eerie thorn bush that sends its thorns burrowing beneath your skin as if they were alive, immediately grabbing the reader’s attention and interest, Wizard’s First Rule is a classic first epic fantasy novel that sets the stage for a good series.
Richard Cypher is your classic, innocent, ordinary guy who has grown up in a simple family with a relatively simple life. His mother died when he was younger, but his father has supported him and his brother since then. Early on, the reader learns that his father died mysteriously, to the point where he may have been murdered. Then he meets a woman, Kahlan, fleeing for her life from four men who he helps her to kill. The woman is very beautiful and Richard is immediately smitten with her. When Kahlan meets Richard’s good old friend, Zedd, there is a strange connection between them, as if they know who and what each of them are.
It is then that the story begins to unfold. Zedd is a powerful wizard who has been in hiding for some time. Kahlan is what is known as a Confessor, a woman with the ability to “touch” someone and make them become obsessed with the Confessor and will do whatever they are told. And then the decision is made by Zedd that Richard Cypher is to be the Seeker and bearer of the mighty Sword of Truth. There is an evil man in the far east, Darken Rahl, who is taking over, killing many, and looking to control all the known world. It is up to Richard, with the help of Kahlan and Zedd, too stop him.
From this description, Wizard’s First Rule seems like any ordinary fantasy series, where Richard is a Frodo-type or a Rand-type from Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. And yet there is a startling harshness to this series, it is a gruesome world, there is sex and lust, unlike that of Jordan’s or Tolkien’s worlds. It shocks the reader, but keeps them reading, wanting to know what will happen next.
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Originally written on December 12th 2007 ©Alex C. Telander.