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Starts off good, goes downhill
First Installment Wins, and how.

Wizard's First Rule is, and remains, one of my favorite fantasy books of all time. It is an excellent story with genuinely good themes, characters, suspense, plotting, and an excellent ending. The writing is a little sub-par, due to Goodkind's rather mediocre skill, but if you can tolerate the typos, awkward paragraphs, and run-on sentences and appreciate the story for what it is, you'll likely enjoy it. Since it can stand on its own, I recommend reading just Wizard's First Rule, and then closing it and deciding, "And then Richard and Kahlan lived happily ever after," and never touch any of the others.

The other ten books are vastly inferior to Wizard's First Rule in every way, shape, and form. The morals and themes go from genuinely good ones to one long Objectivist Author Tract that endlessly repeats itself as the heroes become increasingly less like heroes and more like sociopaths intent on winning no matter who they have to kill to do it, much like the villain of the first book.

Goodkind can be a good storyteller at times, but he's only a mediocre writer, and an unlikeable and somewhat fanatical person to boot. As the books go on, the plot takes the back seat to his preaching, particularly in Naked Empire, which fails to advance the story by more than a few inches and simultaneously feels like 650 pages of fluff.

The later books have a couple of saving graces, such as the gradually larger role of Nicci, one of the most interesting characters in the whole series, who's effectively one of the main cast by the Chainfire trilogy. However, they have a feel of massive wasted potential to me, especially when I think of how good the series could have been if it had lived up to the mark set by Wizard's First Rule.

To sum it up, first book is great, second book is almost as good, everything goes downhill from there and the overall potential of the series is wasted. The first book makes a good stand-alone, but continue the series through to the end and you'll likely be disappointed, especially considering the time that it will take you to get through the whole thing.
I basically agree with this. I'd say that both Wizard's First Rule and Stone of Tears are worth reading, but you should probably stop there.

And Naked Empire might as well have been written by Adolph Hitler.
comment #5674 Ronfar 7th Jan 11
I agree, but i believe all the books, especially Wizards first Rule, Blood of The Fold, Temple of the Winds, and Confessor, are the best. My reasoning: Temple of the winds: that crowning moment of awesome: "I am the weapon" As for Confessor, I loved the ending, it was very intuitive. As for Wizards First Rule: It is the first, and definitely amazing. As For Blood of the Fold: It was when Richard finally took control.

My opinion on naked Empire: I tried to only read half the book, Reading only the parts focusing on Richard, and it wasnt too bad! The rest however... Not too great.
comment #5966 Frostfef 20th Jan 11
I continued to enjoy the series past the first two. I'm not sure when I'd say the series stopped being worth bothering with, but it was definitely well before the point where I actually stopped reading (Faith of the Fallen.)
comment #5975 Desertopa 20th Jan 11
AHEM, I didn't know you were a fellow troper! I wonder what Mike (you know, the bloke from the Fact Pile threads, particularly the Richard Rahl vs Rand al'Thor battle)would think if he saw this post.

As for my personal opinion, I kinda disagree. While I do concede that the Author Filibustering was pretty pronounced from Faith of the Fallen onwards to Naked Empire, where it got really bad, I still think that if you choose to overlook these flaws, it should not really take away much from the overall enjoyment of the series. The last three books in particular (the Chainfire trilogy) really got back to the roots of the whole epic, and I especially loved Confessor, the ending actually made sense, in a nicely done way that was believable and not too deus ex machiney. As with all things, opinions differ but these are my two cents.
comment #16027 MaximusAlcarinque 6th Sep 12
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