In their darkest hour, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword - to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed...or that their time has run out.
This is the beginning. One book. One rule. Witness the birth of a legend.
Epic edge: listen to more in the Sword of Truth series.
©2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Wonderfully creative, seamless, and stirring." (Kirkus Review)
I bought this book because I saw the first two TV seasons based upon these books and I wanted to know what happened later. I found the book different and for the most part better than the show. The performance is outstanding. I highly recommend it to those who like this genre.
The book is engaging, particularly towards the end... that's if you lasted through the 500+ pages. The only drawback is the torture scenes toward the end. It would not be a book for pre-teens. The story is good and the characters are well developed, particularly Richard Cypher who is the Seeker of Truth. As with a typical quest, they encounter impossible challenges. The author does a great job of reframing the challenges to slowly reveal it is possible to overcome them all while the Seeker remains truthful.
I understand that Goodkind is not always a great wordsmith, but the scope of this epic is just incredible. I first picked up this book in the late nineties and found myself re-reading the first books of the saga so I wouldn't miss anything when a new one was released. Sam Tsoutsouvas brought a new life to the characters that made this, my fourth time through this book, even more special than the first three. My only disappointment is that he does not narrate the next book, and I fear for the continuity of the the characterization. I will, however, hold off on my judgment until I've heard Jim Bond strut his stuff.
Wow. This book was bad. Hilariously bad. Let me see if I can stop laughing and crying long enough to explain why:
1. The writing is atrocious. The author seems to have a severely limited vocabulary and describes most things with words like "big" and "pretty important", except for an occasional passage where he suddenly decides he's a poet and spits out such gems as "the crystal formations winked back at him, their flame the only sound in the darkness." Wow. Just, wow.
2. The characters are completely one-dimensional. The main characters are pretty lacking in personality, but the secondary characters are painfully obvious. You can tell who's good and who's bad, which people are supposed to be sympathetic and which ones you're supposed to hate because THEIR EVERY WORD AND ACTION SCREAMS IT AT YOU. Good people always agree with the main characters, bad people oppose them in every petty way imaginable. Good characters always act kindly and are nice to children, bad characters are unfailingly mean, selfish, and usually scowling. No subltety here, no shades of grey or complexity. It's really easy to spot the false friends and the traitors really early on in the book, which spoils what I guess are supposed to be shocking plot twists in the last few chapters.
3. Repetition ad nauseum. Both the characters and author seem to have this obsessive-compulsive need to repeat the same thoughts, ideas, phrases, and pieces of plot exposition over and over, just in case they didn't get their point across the first 50 times. Really, I understand that the heroes need to STOP DARKEN RAHL, it's not necessary to keep repeating it. After sitting through all 24+ hours of this audiobook, I'm pretty sure that a good 80% of the words in this book are completely unnecessary. All in all, the level of this writing is so juvenile that it makes the next point extra-disturbing...
4. This book is REALLY sadistic. The author really seems to delight in the torture scenes, spending pages and pages on them, during which every sentence contains at least one occurrence of the word "pain". Some of the things the heroes do are downright disturbing, too. But it's supposed to be okay, because they're the heroes and hey, they emasculated that man and forced him to eat his own genitals in the name of Justice. Yeah, that really happened.
5. Melodrama. Seriously, everything that happens is a crisis situation. Somebody drops something and suddenly hearts are pounding, rage is flaring, and someone is sobbing uncontrollably with wracking sobs. It gets exhausting after a while, especially since none of the characters are really developed enough to pull off convincing emotion.
In conclusion, I gave this book 2 stars because the constant stream of awful writing, one-dimentional characters, and ridiculously contrived situations was oddly entertaining, though not remotely in the way the author intended. Part of me wonders if the author wasn't somehow being intentionally ironic; surely writing that comically bad doesn't happen by accident. In any case, unless "comically bad" sounds appealing to you, I'd highly recommend that you avoid this book; it really doesn't have much else to offer, and certainly nothing rewarding enough to justify that much time spent listening to it.
By the way, in case you were wondering about the "wizard's first rule" in the title, the highest and most secret rule of the wizard order, it consists of the following earth-shattering revelation:
"People are stupid."
Somehow, that seems fitting.
I can see the appeal of this book. It doesn't waste any time getting into the action, and there is lots of action. Emotions always run high as the characters are constantly in situation that put them in harm's way, and the few times they aren't there is no lack of angst. This is all by design no doubt, since the main character's magical weapon is fuelled by righteous anger.
It's that design that finally burned me out on this book. Every situation is emotionally intense, and after a while I stopped caring. Richard, the main character, is in emotional turmoil even when he's feeling emotionally numb. I never really connected with Richard for this reason. He is always distressed unless it's all gotten to be too much and he is righteously enraged.
Also, did you know good and evil are perspectives and that sometimes people have to make hard choices for the greater good? You did? Well, get ready to hear about it over and over again! It's a fairly simple point of view and most people will understand this concept in full the first time it is discussed by the characters. However, it will be discussed many times, sometimes at length, as a group and by nearly each character in private conversation with the main character. These conversations fill the rare moments the author didn't fill with emotionally stressful situations where the characters are about to be killed.
All that said, the threats are almost always something new and imaginative. The villains are really evil, creatively so many times. The action doesn't stop, and if that's your cup of tea, I'd recommend you give the series a try. For me, however, Richards's constant emotional state has become very annoying and I'm not sure I'll make it to the end of this story, let alone continue with the series.
The sign of an exceptional author is one that can write around his or her own worn plot, and still breathe life into it, In this case, Goodkind can really write a novel, despite the somewhat tired premise. Once again, an unsuspecting hero comes into his own, as his future destiny will shape and save a nation. Hmmm. We've heard this before from other audiobooks, but in this case, Goodkind takes the prize. You'll look past this issue, and love the way he brings the story, characters and magic together to create a powerful listen. And even better news - there are MANY other audiobooks in this series, and the plot DEFINITELY gets better at times.
So, this sweeping epic saga begins with this single audiobook, and is well worth your time.
This was my first choice for a fiction audio listen. I was a little worried about a narrated fiction because my own imagination is usually better, but I was not disappointed. In fact, I'm half-way in love with Sam Tsoutsouvas' voice! He narrated this story beautifully, made the characters and story absolutely come alive! I highly recommend this audio book for anyone who enjoys a good escape into another world with the bonus of a wonderful guide found in Tsoutsouvas's voice.
i was never a big reader, when i was introduced to this book by my cousin i payed him no mind. one day at work a friend of mine was on break reading the last book to the series. i figured if two people i know liked it maybe it was worth getting into. im so happy i did! this book/series changed the way i feel about reading and listening to books! sam tsoutsouvas is amazing too, i wish he would have done all the books! GET THIS BOOK!!
Truly amazing characters, especially the idea of the confessors and Kahlan Amnel's character. The narrator of this book did good, especially with Zed's voice, although I will admit I laughed when I heard the night wisp's voice. That was a little strange. Overall, the reading was good, and this is one of my favorite medieval fantasy series. Side note: the series on television just isn't the same, but I'm watching it anyway.
I'm really unhappy about how bad this book is. Yes I did read some bad reviews but most were not and there is a whole series - so I thought it must have some merit.
If it wasn't for the graphic horror/romance, I would say it must have been written for the young adolescent crowd. There is no depth to these characters - in particular Richard - who isn't even likable. The bad guys are soooo bad and all the author's prejudices are thrown into their characters: vegaterian pedophile communists - a pathetic attempt to sell his "philosophy".
Don't waste your time, for really good writing, character development, and just new and interesting story lines, get George Martin, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, David Durham's Acacia, David Weber's Safehold, and my personal favorite character writer Lois Bujold - Chalion Trilogy.
"Very Good. For adults only though."
Very enjoyable. I wasn't sure about the reader at first but once you get used to his style it turns out he's quite good.
The story is standard fantasy fair.
There's an ordinary guy for a hero who turns out to have a big destiny and a secret past.
There's a beautiful heroine with a dark secret.
There's a love story of doomed love.
There's an old wizard very much like Gandalf.
There's a magic sword.
I defy anyone to not think the Samuel character isn't a copy of Gollum from LOTR.
There's a mega baddy wizard for the enemy.
There's quest for a magic item needed to beat the baddy.
However despite all this standard fantasy stuff, it is a very entertaining and gripping story.
I did find the early chapters of part 4 heavy going with its graphic descriptions of torture and abuse. This part may have gone on a bit too long for my liking. There's also an attempted rape later on towards the end of part 4.
Not for children, this book.
Anyway, I must have enjoyed it as I've just bought the second book on Audible too.
"Not normally a fantasy fan"
This book was a really refreshing change from my normal choices. I am not normally in to this type of book. I find this much easier to follow than Terry Pratchett, which I struggle with. This is enough like our world to be easy to follow, and has loads of magic, adventuring and questing to make it a really good read.
"Better read than listened to."
I agree with many of the other reviewers in that there are clear LOTR parallels and that the torture aspect goes on for far too long. Of course, when you read it yourself is isn't so blatant somehow and doesn't last for so very long so it is less painful. The descriptions are rather drawn out on an audio book (naturally) so it doesn't always have pace. Having said this, the scenes with Rachel are really enjoyable and sufficiently tense. I am still finding that I enjoy listening to books I have enjoyed reading rather than coming cold to them. That way, your own impression of the characters isn't coloured by the narrator's depiction. From the reading, Richard is one of my favourite characters ever - and I'm an Austen fan! Still the narration hasn't put me off - I am just finishing book 2 and about to download book 3. Book 2 changes narrator and he doesn't do women too well, and I notice there is yet another narrator for book 3!
"Good start, slow middle, great ending!"
I agree with much of what the other reviewers have said, however having now listened to the second and third books, I would say that it is a little slow to get going. The opening is sufficiently interesting, however like the first LotR book, the whole 'travelling endlessly through the wilderness' bit gets a bit tiresome!
Seriously though, stick with it to the end. Yes, there is the whole graphic torture bit, however I disagree that this is pointless like others have said, and it's purpose becomes clear as you read on into later books.
All in all, a good book, but the subsequent ones are better, so haste ye through this one and get one with them!
This book got me hooked into the Sword of Truth series. Well worth the money.
"Not for me ......"
Never again! This book has totally put me off Terry Goodkind. It was the first of his books I had downloaded and it will be the last. It didn't even inspire me to finish it. My original intention was to work my way through the whole series.
I like descriptive detail in a book but this book is ridiculous. A moment that would have passed in about 10 seconds is described for 5 minutes comparing it to every possible thing the author could think of to compare it to! You left thinking - JUST GET ON WITH IT!!! If I was reading and not listening I don't think I would have got past the first couple of chapters.
The narrator was awful. His type of voice and the way he read it was totally out of context of the book. He would, I'm sure, be great a children's books. I kept thinking, will you just shut up!
None of the characters need cutting, the detail needs to be cut down. And some of the things the characters do, you are left thinking why? what was the point in that? And it doesn't make sense - unless I misunderstood it due to my lack of interest. It tells you Richards tooth prevents the creatures of the underworld from seeing him and yet before he went across to the midlands the creature pretending to be his father saw him and tried to draw him in to the underworld.
Perhaps my opinion is tainted because I quite simply couldn't bear the sound of the narrators voice. I love this type of story and have been reading them all my life. I'm sure it would be a great book if it was a third of the size. Words for the sake of making the book longer in my opinion. Boring boring boring.
Big, dramatic, enthralling
Richard and Kahlens first meeting.
Zeds voice - perfect!
Richard and Kahlens developing love and the realisation they could never be truly together.
I was not really expecting a huge amount from this book. The reviews all said it dragged on and the narrative was just too in depth. The narrator brought everything to life, especially Zed whose portrayal he nailed exactly! I love this series and an on a mission to complete all 11 books one way or another.
"Had to give up! Dissapointing and over rated"
Maybe it's because I'm British and find the narrator's voice very annoying but this was simply too annoying to even finish. I found that the narration emphasised all the wrong expressions in the narrative leaving me with the impression that the characters had no depth and little to distinguish them from each other.
Maybe I was spoilt by reading all the game of thrones books and guilty of trying to find something that might kill the time waiting for Martin's next book, however I listened to The name of the wind by Patrick Rothfuss and found it brilliant. This is not a patch on either so I'm still looking for the next series, preferably with British narration or at least someone with the concept of how to pause, express punctuation and build characters with their voice.
"starts promising but badly disappoints"
The narrator is excellent and his voice acting is superb. The quality of the production is also excellent. The story starts out good with lots of promising characters and imagination. Unfortunately in the later half of the book the story falls apart and the writer seems to give in. After unbelievable plot coincidences and further unbelievable failures by the characters the story takes hours to arrive at a dull and predictable end. Very disappointing.
I found this story to be quite easy to follow though as some have mentioned it was a little boring in places. When the narrative did become interesting the spell was often broken by the use of Americanisms which soon became an irritation. The use of 'real bad' instead of 'really bad' and 'I guess' instead of 'I suppose' to name just two. The number of times characters 'scrunched their eyes up' I lost count of.
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