Sword of Truth Series
Author: Terry Goodkind
Series: Sword of Truth
Genre: High Fantasy
Rating: Three Petals
On the Author's Website: http://www.terrygoodkind.com/books-01 wizardsfirstrule.shtml
Summary of the First Book in the Series, Wizard's First Rule:
In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, appears in Richard Cypher's forest sanctuary seeking help... and more. His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence.
In a dark age it takes courage to live, and more than mere courage to challenge those who hold dominion, Richard and Kahlan must take up that challenge or become the next victims. Beyond awaits a bewitching land where even the best of their hearts could betray them. Yet, Richard fears nothing so much as what secrets his sword might reveal about his own soul. Falling in love would destroy them--for reasons Richard can't imagine and Kahlan dare not say.
In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, 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.
If I were writing this review on just Wizard's First Rule, this would be a much more positive one. I loved the first book in the series. Since the plot in Wizard's First Rule is fairly contained, it is possible to read it as a standalone and I highly recommend you do that. Whether you continue on to the rest of the series is a separate decision.
At its heart, this series is not about magic or wizards. Those are present and certainly are a very large and active part of the series, but they are secondary in nature. The series is about philosophy and family and how those two intertwine throughout the books is always well done.
One of my favorite examples of the philosophy in the series stems from the first book. Any reader would immediately think that Wizard's First Rule would be something about the first steps of learning magic, but that's not true at all. Rather, Wizard's First Rule is that people are stupid. It's about finding trust in others and having the intelligence to know and understand what makes people tick. What weaknesses make them stupid and how can Richard and other leaders in the world help them overcome that to make the world a better place. I like books that make me think and this series does that extremely well.
The story is also about family. Richard's struggle to find a family of his own when his parents are dead, his brother isn't a great guy, the love of his life is revered and coveted by all, and children might be an impossibility. I loved reading every moment of that.
However, Wizard's First Rule is the best book in the series and each subsequent one continues in a downhill path. I only read nine of the fifteen books in the series. When I picked up the tenth I was unable to finish it. The series wanders from plot to plot and doesn't seem to have any continuity. There isn't a larger, overarching plot to carry the series and make it feel cohesive. It instead began to feel preachy and somewhat whiny.
Maggie's Final Recommendation:
You should definitely read Wizard's First Rule. I highly recommend it. I am unable to recommend the rest of the series. The beauty of the prose and the crafting of the philosophy in the first book quickly turned preachy and whiny in the later ones.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.