A preview of the new series Legend of the Seeker on TV last Fall got me to finally pick up Terry Goodkind’s Wizard’s First Rule, the novel upon which the first season of the show is based.
Wizard’s First Rule is long and detailed, but not really epic: it concerns a fairly small cast moving in a linear plot line with only a handful of major episodes. Reading it, one gets whisked away and wonders how the book doesn’t get bogged down when it lovingly explores every nook and cranny of a scene, for chapters at a time. But, magically, it doesn’t.
Although sometimes the magic wanes and it does get a bit slow. One long sequence in the middle, about the two main heroes sojourning with an indigenous tribe, goes on too long. It presents the reader with some excellent daring-do, but we must wade through quite a bit of exposition to be so rewarded.
Still, despite the occasional speed bump, Wizard’s First Rule engages us and invents far more than enough originality to make the slow patrs worth it. However, (he said, reversing himself again), on the subject of originality, I must add that some parts of the book are poor copies of the genre classics. The obvious example here is a creature called Samuel, whose every single characteristic is exactly like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings. Goodkind clearly doesn’t need to crib ideas from anyone; why not write Samuel differently?
But the best part of Wizard’s First Rule is its unabashed politics. That’s right; this is a very political novel. Continue reading