book-reviews

Wizard's First Rule

by Terry Goodkind

Rating: ★

Here is the history of my rating of Wizard's First Rule:

Before Reading The Book: "Man, I've not read much fantasy this year. I could really do to sink into another world. Oh hey, there's this book on my shelf, which I picked up because I've heard it mentioned a lot. Something this widely-known should easily be a four-star read."

Page 1: "Uh, rough start. But once it gets going it could still be a three or four-star series."

Page 7: "So probably we'll be shooting at three stars, then."

Page 36: "What the fuck. Is this going to get above two stars?"

Page 55: "You're actually shooting for one star, aren't you, Goodkind?"

Page 67: "Well done. One star. I think this might actually be the worst-written of my one-star books, too."

Page 86: "Am I actually going to be able to finish this?"

As it turns out, I managed it. But boy, it was painful along the way. I don't know what to complain about first: the is-this-character-meant-to-be-stupid level of the writing (the only sections that sounded right were those meant to be written from the perspective of a young girl), the unrealistic and vomit-inducing character development ("Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but do you want to make really fucking awkward dialogue about us being the best of friends?"), the cringeworthy monologuing sequences where everyone either heaps praise on the main character or listens astounded to his Psych 101 insights, or the if-I-need-motivation-for-this-I'll-just-invent-some-new-magic goddamn travesty of a plot. No really, it's hard to choose. Hey, some fantasy is redeemed by its worldbuilding, right? The world built here is 'there are three kingdoms' level.

Here are some things that happen in this book:

It really was pretty horrible. And okay, I know that a lot of fantasy writing is a sort of sublimated power-porn at some level, but this is the most crude and blatant form of it I've seen. The main character isn't just a cipher for the reader and/or his penis, the main character's name is Richard Cypher. That's right, Dick Cipher. And everyone loves him and he defeats sexy torturer women with his thrust of love and he overcomes the bad guy (his dad) because of the power of his love for his Mother Confessor and he gets to ride off on a dragon at the end after everyone bows down to him.

I really did expect more from this, before I began.