I wanted a fantasy book. Never mind all the unread books sitting
on my shelves. I wanted something different. So I went out
and bought this book, and read it as if it was the only book on my shelf.
And I enjoyed it.
Just about every fantasy book Iíve read has a different kind
of magic, but the roots are all the same. They all have different
types of creatures that are either made of magic, use it, or both.
Wizardís First Rule is no different.
In this case, the world is divided into three parts, kept separate
by ďboundariesĒ, part of the Underworld brought into the real world to
make sure nobody can cross. In Westland, there is no magic, and people
fear magic. In the Midlands, magic is everywhere, and very few things are
as they seem. In DíHara, it appears that strange and powerful creatures
The world is complex, and it requires almost every page of this
book to introduce us to much of it. And thereís a whole lot of this
world that is hinted at, which we donít get to see in this book.
The book starts off a little slow, where the author describes
things down to the smallest detail. Itís annoying while reading it,
but it helped make the characters and the world more real later on.
Richard is a forest trail guide, who rescues a beautiful woman
(Kahlan) from an assassination. She tells him that she came through
the boundary from the midlands, something that he thought was impossible.
Richard immediately takes her to his best friend Zedd, who we are not surprised
to learn is the wizard Kahlan is looking for. In yet another moment
that is not a surprise, except to the characters, Richard is named Seeker,
a dangerous and powerful position.
It seems that the son of a man Zedd killed a generation ago is
destroying the boundaries and wants to control the world. It is
that a Seeker can defeat him. But the magic Sword of Truth that a
Seeker carries leaves its bearer in pain, and so he is quite vulnerable.
This isnít the first book that shows how magic bears a terrible price on
the soul, but it is the most blatant about it.
From there, Richard must take Kahlan and Zedd across the boundary,
to the Midlands, where they must find a way to defeat their enemy, Darken Rahl. Through that journey, we meet the Mud People, a witch, a sorceress,
a pompous Queen and her bratty daughter, the Princessís playmate, Rachel,
who gets beaten all the time, and several magical creatures, most evil,
some good, including a red dragon, who is both.
If anything, the journey goes too easy. The length of time
it takes to tell the story gets us into the characters heads through their
experiences, but their path never deviates significantly from their desired
route. Sure, they have setbacks, but once an obstacle is overcome,
they continue on as before.
Most of the setbacks are not all that suspenseful. I wouldnít
have been surprised if one main character had died, and I fully expected
her to, but I really had no doubt that they would find what they were seeking
The suspense, and my doubts, came at the very end. I honestly
didnít know what the characters were doing Ėif they had gone crazy.
I thought it plausible that Darken Rahl would gain mastery of the world,
and that Richard would spend the next couple of books undoing it.
But, in the end, it was as easy as his journey through the midlands, but
with a very nice twist right at the last moment.
One thing that came off very well was Kahlanís weakness for Richard.
She knows she canít fall for him, because her magic would destroy him,
but at every turn, she falls more and more in love with him. This culminates
in a very erotic passage in the Mud People Spirit House, where they almost
give in, which would ruin their chances of defeating Rahl. I felt
the resolution of their love was a bit of a cheat, but it is a plausible
one, and one that I can live with.
At one point in the book, it seemed as if the end was so near,
and I wondered what was going to happen in the two hundred pages that followed.
Suddenly, a whole new plot emerges, where Richard is tortured and his spirit
broken Ėsort of. Although I liked the character of Denna, the whole thing really comes out of nowhere, and
its purpose is barely justified by the events that follow it. The
torture scenes were a little slow, but I did enjoy the part where the Princess
gets a beating. But it makes my blood boil to see the dialog she
was given. Even in fantasy, I hate to hear children talk that way.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable book. The writing style
was simple, and made me think it was written by a slightly immature writer
at times, but the intense moments outweighed that. The final few
pages set up for the sequel, but Iíll wait for a while before starting
the next one. The length of the book ensures that the few characters
that existed will stay with me. Despite the slow moments throughout,
and the simplicity of completing the journey, Richardís exploration of
himself and Kahlan were very well written, and completely enjoyed.