I finished Wizard’s First Rule today and took me a total of about 3 1/2 days of actual reading. 800+ pages, I mean come on. The review itself will probably be pretty short because all I can really say about it is that it’s unadulterated fantasy with all its tropes and predictable plot lines, as well as following Campbell’s Hero’s Journey pretty much to the T. If you like plain and simple fantasy, this is highly recommended. Offended by some BDSM? Then I don’t recommend. Now, on to the meat and bones:
- Decent story and plot.
- I admire whenever an author places his readers from the antagonist’s perspective (hell, I’m doing it right now).
- Questions were always raised and curiosities piqued, details included sparingly to accomplish just that.
- Good pacing, not too many dull or preachy moments. Good executions save some minor editing misspells. That’s what future book editions are for. I don’t understand why people get so critical over misspells (unless there are more than 10+ in one book. This one had about 6 that I immediately noticed).
- Favorite part of the book: crossing the Boundary.
Cons: (why are they always so many more cons than pros?)
- Things happen way too conveniently … for everyone.
- Secondary (and tertiary) character perspectives enter way too late in the story. I understand the need for setup but it happened abruptly and, well, you guessed it, too conveniently. Especially when he never really came back to that secondary character (Rachel). Unless she’s going to have a future role in the series? I guess I’ll just have to find out on my own.
- Prophecies. I don’t mind them but when it starts to feel like the author is writing say, the climax, just for the sake of some said prophecy — well, that gets a little annoying. Sure, I like to see how true the prophecy is, but when all the prophecies presented involve the current characters, it gets a little too epic too fast, too conveniently.
- The hero is typical, internally distressed and confused, not wanting any power at all (“I just want to be a woods guide!!”) and reluctantly takes his predestined role. And he’s damn good at it. In fact, he is something of a messianic character because there are a hell of a lot of prophecies that say he is the one and only one able to defeat fill-in-the-blank(s).
- Chase was my favorite character. He looked like he had a lot of potential (and I’ll admit, before Chase passed out, I thought he’d be dead by the end of the book because he’s just that good. Guards always tend to die.) but then Goodkind decided he wasn’t really necessary for the story. Which is true because this is a story about Richard (and Kahlan), not all four MCs. So I won’t hold him against that.
- A lot of tropes, and therefore a lot of predictability. Figures that the hero would be able to control the dragon, too, I mean what hero doesn’t control a dragon?
- I almost wanted Darken Rahl to pick the right box, because then I could foresee where the series is going.
But alas, the honest Seeker didn’t quite tell the whole truth and thereby avoided catastrophe. A tasty catastrophe, it would have been.The ending is kind of happily-ever-after, and well, I prefer alternative endings than fairy tale endings. Decent cliffhanger,though. Rahl’s final words kind of spoiled it, though. No, I would not have preferred something more melodramatic, but maybe something more cryptic?
- Turning people into animals? Eh. The Mord-Sith? Yes, I laughed a little about it but they served their purpose. I couldn’t help but think that well, the author’s putting in some content that he finds interesting, as well as his two cents about what goes on in their minds and the reason why they do thus, but that’s what makes stories unique. Another author would have decided to say something else. This is Goodkind’s story, not yours.
- I wish he’d described the creatures better. I still, for the life of me, cannot picture a gar in my head. And what about that creature in the cave by Scarlet’s egg? Damn, I’d have loved to know what that looked like. Speaking of Scarlet, I wish she had a more unique name than … Scarlet, the Red Dragon.
Now to all the naysayers about how completely unnecessary it was to include the whole BDSM scenes, well, I think they’re forgetting that that experience is actually a step to him becoming a wizard. It was a necessary experience for him to learn and tolerate pain. And yes, I do believe that Richard will become some wizard hybrid in the future. Because the convenient ending kind of foretold that (and yes, I’m frowning about that). If it offends you, well, it offends you. But it provided a decent and (albeit twisted) excursion so the story wouldn’t lag. Most stories tend to drag towards the end of the middle section, and Goodkind kept the pace (and interest) up. It showed the hero’s weakness and that he is still only a human, not a superhuman like some heroes often wind up.
And Demmin Nass liking little boys? Raping and pillaging? They’re bad guys, people. Cliched bad guys, but bad guys nonetheless. Predictable and one-sided, maybe, but bad guys do bad things, and that’s just part of the package. Not all bad guys do, but that’s just the way Goodkind decided to portray his. Forced? Yes. Unoriginal? No. And his paycheck proves it.
Total score: three out of five stars. Oftentimes, the convenience of things falling into place, the small details and objects placed all meant something (which did become annoying.) But technically speaking, he did an okay job with Chekhov’s smoking gun, although perhaps too blatantly at times. The general story, and secondary love story, is one that’s been done many times in many different ways. I look forward to reading Stone of Tears to see how things are different. Hopefully less predictable.