Book Review: Wizard’s First Rule

First off, there are two things I would like to admit. Most of the series, The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind, has been sitting on my bookshelf just a few months shy of 13 years! The reason? Truth or what I like to tell meself?

The truth is I was afraid to read it. Everyone around me raved about how good it was. I was a young writer then and afraid it would somehow effect my writing, or I’d come to realize something I wrote was going to be too similar to it. So, it sat on my bookshelf for over a decade. Forgotten. After reading Wizard’s First Rule (Sword of Truth, Book 1), I realize how silly I was being.

Now, this is what I told myself. I didn’t have time to read them. I was in college, taking 24 credit hours, working, and writing in my spare time, which wasn’t a lot of. Yet, I could read other things. Things we often tell ourselves don’t seem to make much sense after the fact.

Time to get into the book.


Sadly, I have to admit, it took me longer to read this, when I actually started reading it, than it should have. The reasons are the way he writes. Some of it feels clunky and almost teenage-like, as if it doesn’t belong in the book but was forced into it, whereas, other areas in the book were beautifully written. Another reason is his over detailing. There were paragraphs I wanted to skip and could have skipped and it would have made no difference to the story. As such, the over description, at least the way it was done, was a big turn off for me and kept me from reading the way I normally do.

The over detailing is one of the reasons, I can only give this book 4 out of 5 stars. One of the reasons, I mentioned before, is the way he writes. Some areas of the book flow so smoothly and pulls the reader into the world, whether other areas pulls you right back to reality and you’re sitting there dismayed at the way it had been written. Another reason, which may be “nit-picking”, but Terry Goodkind uses the word “that” too often and unnecessarily when the sentence would actually read smoother without the word “that”. However, I will admit Terry Goodking is like many writers who use the word too often. I used to be one of them. The third reason for the 4 star rating is some of the scenes seemed to be added only to make the book larger and didn’t really have a place in the story. While other scenes were a little too predictable or sudden.

One of the things I truly loved about this book was it was character driven, once you get past the abundance of description.If you’re a person who adores description and doesn’t get slowed up by it, you’ll absolutely fall in love with this book.

While reading, Wizard’s First Rule (Sword of Truth, Book 1), you’ll come to understand all of the characters; “good” and “bad”. You’ll come to know why they do the things they do. And, like with most novels, you’ll come to love some and loathe others. One of the characters which surprised me was Mord-Sith Denna. She seems to be a heartless, despicable woman who enjoys pain too much, but then you’re shown a side of her you wouldn’t expect, and you’re given her history which explains the way she is now and you start feeling for her. I won’t say more about her as I enjoyed this story line and believe another will, too.

Whereas you’ll find elements in this novel, which are similar to other fantasy novels, as you will with no doubt in our novels, too, I truly enjoyed the story and the individual uniqueness Terry Goodkind brought to it. I enjoyed the characters and their depths. (This is something I feel I struggle with as an author.) Each character, to me, felt unique and real.

The story certainly wasn’t rushed as I have discovered with other novels, nor should it feel like it in an 800+ pg. book. In fact, in some places, it felt like it drug on and could have been sped up a little.

Despite some of the “graphic” scenes, which didn’t bother me one bit, and the other issues I had with the book, it was a good read and recommended to anyone who loves fantasy.


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