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)
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.
In my opinion, this is absolutely terrible, and that's giving it too much credit. The writing seems adolescent, the characters aren't likeable, the plot is beyond horrible, and the whole thing is just a bad rip off of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I made the mistake of buying the first three audio books at once on sale. They're all just as bad, and I wish I could have the time I wasted on this drivel back. The author's name should be Terry Badkind! Go to his website, he seems like a narcissist. For the love of God, stay away from this book!! Check out Robert Jordan, RR. Martin, or Patrick Rothfuss instead.
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.
Commodities broker, father, husband, and avid scifi/fantasy/self help fan.
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.
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.
I bought "Wizard's First Rule" based on ratings (might have gotten a deal too, can't remember).
Read the low-star reviews carefully - they're pretty accurate.
If you have low standards for what pleases you, then by all means. But this is your standard "clueless yokel turned hero" with a linear plot, tired characters, lots of unnecessary repetition, stereotypical bad guys ("Darken Raahl"? Really?), and predictable "surprises."
If I hadn't sunk 18 hours listening to this already, I would have stopped. The killer was a stretch during this last third of the book (I have a few hours to go) where the main character gets tortured for two hours. Not two story hours...two hours of having to listen to different forms of torture. Frankly, I just wanted the main character to die and for the author to say "THE END." But you know there's some way he gets out of it. Surprise. That whole stretch represented at least an hour and a half of unnecessarily abusing your readers.
Now I just want to see how it ends. I will NOT be buying any more of Goodkind's books. I'd suggest Lois McMaster Bujold or Jim Butcher - great authors, far more creative, and characters you actually give a hoot about.
Listening to Goodkind story was like reading a story dumbed down for 12-year olds - except for the endless gratuitous torture.
The narrator is fantastic, and I feel so bad for him that his talents were wasted on this book. The story is so bad that can't listen any more. It feels like the book was written by a sexually deviant socially incapacitated adolescent boy with revenge fantasies.
Its starts out dumb. Too many unbelieveable coincidences, and scenes that don't make sense, without any context. Powers come and go, information that no one had a minute before is all of a sudden clear. The people on the quest will give their lives to each other, but all keep secret information that is clearly vital for each other to know for no other reason but to give the author an excuse to come up with some additional conflict later- but its completely unbelieveable that they don't tell each other. The man and woman are all of a sudden in love- nothing leads up to it. The Characters have the dumbest "powers" that come and go without rhyme or reason, I could almost picture a 40 year old child molester sitting home in his mother's basement writing this book saying - wouldn't it be cool if he could (Blank), and he writes it down. The protagonists uncontrollable rage takes him over as if it is a good thing- at one point, he gets this magic power - that he has never had before and has no explanation- in order to kick in the face in of a 9 year old girl. First she threatens to catch his girlfriend and let every man in the army rape her, and he's OK with that, not happy, but there's not much he can do about it at the time, But then she sticks her tongue out at him- and that's the last straw- whamo! magic powers and he kicks in her face- severs her tongue with her teeth before they smash apart. I just listened to SIX HOURS of part 4 that's just one long bad S&M scene, one after the other- rage,pain,rage,pain,rage,pain. Its Creepy. Really really creepy. The book is just plain bad.
The narrator is pretty good, but seems to get a little too excited at times, though I find his voices better than the reader of the second book in this series. As for the book itself, I found it predictable in all the wrong places, fraught with juvenile angst, and disappointing on the whole. If you are looking for a easy listen with complicated, but not unexpected plot turns, this will fit the bill. I purchased the first three in the series on a "three for the price of two credits" deal and will listen to them because I bought them, but I doubt that I will continue the series beyond these three.
If the author had actually written a story with interesting characters and not simple, stock, stereotypical:Wizard, Protagonist, Damsel, Antagonist.....blah
Really, what made me stop listening was the pedophilia.
Severe over dramatization.
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.
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