Tag Archives: Wizard’s First Rule

Uncomfortable, but I Can’t Look Away

I went to work for the third time this year. I’ve been working every day so far. It’s January. And it’s cold. Not only that, it was humid last night, so everything got frosty. This is what I saw near work.

Looks like some nice scenery, doesn’t it? But it was -19 degrees Celsius at the time. Cold! It can simultaneously be beautiful and very uncomfortable.

That had me thinking, have I ever been unable to stop reading, yet uncomfortable about what I was reading? Yes, I have.

When I was reading Wizard’s First Rule, some scenes with Darken Rahl were incredibly uncomfortable, as he was a completely asshole. He was a monster. Some of the things he did were so bad, I really hated the character. Yet, I couldn’t stop reading.

Have you ever been in this situation? Let me know in the comments below without revealing any spoilers.

The Best and the Worst of 2014

The year 2014 ended with 17 books read, which was way off my intended goal of 30 books.  Again, the problem is that I read some very long books.  In fact, the number of pages was almost as many as 2013.  However, I will challenge myself with 30 books again this year.  But this time, I’ll be reading every night before bed.

In 2014, I was a bit harder on books in terms of ratings, though it may be because I didn’t read many really great ones.  I only gave 2 books 5 stars.  I gave a 4 1/2 and some 4s, though.  I also rated a book that was only 2 stars.

I think that’s where we’ll start.  Let’s look at the worst book I read this year, down at number 17.  After that, the top 5.

Worst of the Year

#17 – The Somali Doctrine

I got this book as a freebie from Amazon, and noticed it had some low ratings on Goodreads.  I went into it with an open mind, though.  I like things like James Bond, and this was somewhat reminiscent of 007, but there weren’t many similarities.  It was filled with improbably situations, like the hero getting captured many times, only to escape each time somehow.  The villains were completely one-dimensional with very little in the way of depth.  I was glad when it was over.

Top 5 of 2014

annihilationofforeverland#5 – The Annihilation of Foreverland

This was my pleasant surprise of the year, and also the first time I’ve included a self-published indie novel to my top five.  It was imaginative, quite well-done, and filled with interesting characters.  There were so many twists to this story, it had me guessing what was going to happen.  I thoroughly enjoyed this science fiction offering.

wizardsfirstrule#4 – Wizard’s First Rule

Despite my somewhat negative review, I did give this 4 stars and I did actually enjoy reading it.  This epic fantasy novel opened The Sword of Truth in a good way with some good world-building, interesting characters, and a completely surprising Wizard’s First Rule.  I couldn’t believe it.  In general, it’s left a more positive memory now, and I want to get back into the series and read more.  I liked it.

angelfireeast#3 – Angel Fire East

The Word & the Void became dark and serious! It was the best of this Shannara prequel series, and has me excited for The Genesis of Shannara, which I hope to start reading this year.  Terry Brooks usually doesn’t get such acclaim, but I think this was one of his better works.  I’m a fan of Shannara.  In this book, we get to read about the effects of drug abuse and see some of the darkest deaths I’ve seen Brooks write about. Great ending.

theriseofendymion#2 – The Rise of Endymion

The truly epic Hyperion Cantos ended with this novel, and in my opinion, it was the best of the four books.  I was pulled in and enjoyed the roller coaster ride that this book put me through.  Incredible characters, beautiful and wondrous worlds, and lots of mysteries were tied up.  This was going to be number one choice until I read another book later in the year.  More on that soon.  This book was very difficult to predict.  I had no idea where it was going.  But one thing had me hooked, and it was the characters.  Endymion and Aenea’s relationship was wonderful, and there was an amazingly touching moment later in the book.  Truly a great book.

astormofswords#1 – A Storm of Swords

George R. R. Martin returns to the top after being #2 in 2013.  Things in Westeros really picked up in this book, and while the first part of the book was a bit slow, it blew me away so many times in the rest of the story, I couldn’t wait to see what happened.  He kills a lot of characters again, of course, and changes the course of the story drastically.  And shockingly, Jaime Lannister has become my new favourite Lannister.  Sandor Clegane is also very interesting.  There are so many twists that I can never figure out what’s going to happen next.  Incredible! And this is why it’s my favourite book of 2014.

Agree or disagree with my choices?  Let me know in the comments below. And what was your favourite (and least favourite) book in 2014?

Book Review – Wizard’s First Rule

wizardsfirstruleWizard’s First Rule, the first novel in the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, is an epic fantasy story that gave me mixed feelings.

Set in a world where magic is common, the story begins in the Westland, where magic is not permitted or trusted.  The people are protected by a boundary that keeps the magic and people of the Midlands and D’Hara out.  It starts out with Richard Cypher meeting Kahlan Amnell, a woman with a mysterious power. He vows to protect her, and this results in a very interesting relationship between two unusual people.  The main cast is rounded out with Zedd, an eccentric old man who is Richard’s friend, and Chase, a formidable man who patrols the boundary.  Richard turns out to be our hero who has the Sword of Truth, and must try to defeat Darken Rahl, a man who wants to rule the world.

The characters are quite interesting, though I found many of them a bit unbelievable.  Richard is your typical hero in some ways, but he starts out with some pretty strong skills in tracking and surviving in the wilderness.  Kahlan is always secretive with Richard, but the two form a strong relationship, even though they cannot follow through with their feelings with each other.  Zedd comes across as a sometimes senile, but usually brilliant wizard.  I often thought he was a source of comic relief.  Chase isn’t as well developed, but he’s a very dependable character.  On the other side, Darken Rahl proves to be one of the most sadistic and cruel antagonists I’ve ever read.  He is brutal and the way he does things makes the reader want to hate him.  He has no redeemable values.  Denna, a Mord-Sith, is an intriguing character.  Although she is on the side of Rahl, she seems to be a more complete character than him, and shows both good and bad sides.  Queen Milena and Princess Violet show nothing good, and are one-dimensional characters.  There are several other characters, but the cast is fairly large.  I found that the dialogue and interactions between some characters were a bit unnatural.  For a serious epic fantasy, some of it just seemed so goofy and juvenile.  I couldn’t really connect with the characters.

The story itself was fine.  It’s fun to read, and quite engaging.  I became more and more involved in the story as it went on, and I couldn’t stop reading toward the end.  The beginning started off slowly like most epic fantasy stories, but it became more interesting as it continued.  The whole episode involving Denna was a surprise to me, and contributed to the story in a big way.

The world is very interesting.  It consists of Westland, Richard’s homeland, Midlands, a broad and rather undeveloped land, and D’Hara, Darken Rahl’s land.  I found that there were a lot of interesting places, such as the Mud People’s land, but it was overall fairly standard fare.  I’m hoping to see more chances to explore the land in future books.

Despite the lighthearted mood in parts of the book, there were very dark periods.  One aspect is that the torture and rape of young children is present, though never described.  This may turn off some people.  Another thing I found detracted from the story is that some of the people were very one-dimensional.  There were some characters that were completely good, and some that were completely evil.  I like to see more grey area than that.  Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd were all in the grey area, but just barely.

The title, Wizard’s First Rule, is explained very plainly in the book.  At first, I thought it was going to be about some wizard who rules the land, but I was wrong.  It’s about an actual rule that wizards have.  When I read what it was, I was dumbfounded.  I couldn’t figure out if it was stupid or brilliant.  My thoughts where this: “What the?  You have got to be kidding!”  It was that big of a surprise.

Overall, I found this to be a fun story with decent world-building.  I wasn’t able to feel most of the characters, which is a shame.  It could’ve been a top rated book.  So, I must give it a 4 out of 5 star rating.

How Much Violence Is too Much in Fiction?

A recent discussion on a Facebook group I’m a member of asked a similar question to this.  I saw a variety of answers.

The typical answers said that as long as it contributes to the story, any amount is fine.  Other people said that they didn’t like violence and avoided it like the plague.  They couldn’t bare to read it.

Novels like A Game of Thrones shows an incredible amount of violent and graphic violence and deaths.  Is it necessary?  Well, considering that the world is similar to the medieval world, and that was a violent time with wars involving swords and gruesome deaths, it’s completely justified.  War is not pretty.  It’s very graphic.

I’m currently reading Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind, and while it started off like a typical fantasy story, it soon proved to have an incredibly sadistic antagonist.  Some of the things he does is sickening.  Is it necessary?  I think so.  It shows how insane he is and what he’s willing to do to win.

Those are only two examples.  My opinion is that violence is often quite justified.  That includes extreme violence.  It doesn’t turn me away from a novel, unless it’s completely out of place and makes no sense.

What do you think?  Do you have a problem with violence in novels, or are you fine with it?  Please leave a comment.