Spoiler alert, Terry Goodkind’s Wizard rule #1 – people are fools.
When I first read Wizard’s First Rule as a young teen, I was blown away by its creativity and enthralled by its mature content. This was before the days of Harry Potter and Northern Lights, when my YA genre options as a kid were any adult book I could get away with. I remember asking my dad to come to the library to withdraw books for me because the librarian felt I was too young for the content. In this particular instance, she was probably right.
Recently I’ve grown weary from reading monotonous, cliched fantasy novels, which the market place is undeniably over flooded with. It is the most common genre we get submitted to us over at Striking 13 and sadly, certainly in the self-published arena, is one of the poorest written.
I was starting to think that I was getting too old to enjoy a sword wielding, fireball shooting saga. So, I thought I should go back to the book that first sparked my love of fantasy and see if it could stand the test of time.
Spoiler Alert – It absolutely smashes it out of the park.
What amazed me was how much of the story I had forgotten, which in part is probably due to just how much Terry Goodkind throws at us. It isn’t just a Hero’s quest but more like an epic Dungeons & Dragons campaign.
Uh oh! Did I just say Dungeons & Dragons… boo…hiss!
Any fantasy writer who has looked around at publisher sites and submission guidelines will know that those words bring doom. That any story based off of your own little role-playing adventures will be thrown onto the fire. Testament to the overabundance of terrible manuscripts.
But, Terry did it long ago, and he did it well. At least he did for his debut book, before the series became burdened with the messages of his own philosophical and political views. But, that’s another story. My advice to you however, if you’re thinking of reading the series, is to go no further than the Temple of the Winds.
Richard, quick, reel it back in, you’ve wondered off-piste…
Thanks, other Richard, good catch.
Creatures like the Gar, who hunt prey with the help of blood-flies, will remain vividly in your mind. The twisted cruelty of the Mord-sith will send shivers down your spine. And, once you encounter Darken Rahl’s calculated composure and seething rage, you’ll give no pause to saying Voldemort’s name aloud. All in all, it is the countless exquisite details throughout the book that make it, for me, one of the best fantasy novels ever written.