Wizard’s First Rule is the first book in Terry Goodkind’s epic fantasy series, Sword of Truth. This first installment is a mixed bag with some decent parts, some absolutely appalling parts, and a few moments that are epicly remarkable.
Richard Cypher is a lowly forest guide, who one day spots a woman being hunted down by four men in the woods. He saves her, and this action spurs a series of events that leads him on an epic quest to save the world from evil. He must stop Darken Rahl, the sinister ruler of the Midlands, from finding three magic boxes that can possibly kill the one who opens them, grant ultimate power, or destroy the world. In the course of things, Richard is named “The Seeker” and wielder of the Sword of Truth.
Let’s get the bad parts out of the way. The first half of the book is dreadful and in need of a good editing. Let me sum up the beginning of the book for you: “After a time, they stopped to make and eat spice soup and then talk about friendship and secrets.” There, I saved you a few hours of reading.
Another huge annoyance is the bad guy himself—Darken Rahl. He is an utterly despicable person who had no redeeming qualities. He is a sociopath of the lowest sort. His evilness is so over-the-top that it becomes laughably ridiculous.
This book was hovering in the two-star category until I came across an delightful scene that involves another sociopathic character (one of many that keep cropping up–this time in the form of an eight-year-old girl), who gets hit so hard in the chin that her jaw shatters, she bites off her own tongue, and she gets launched across the room. Mr. Goodkind, I applaud you for doing what some people would never dare! Because, seriously, I wanted to punch that little girl in the face a lot, so reading it was cathartic and satisfying—a point which pumped this book up to a 3-star.
Even though Wizard’s First Rule is the first book in a long series, there’s enough closure that I don’t feel the need to run out and get the next book immediately. Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll be picking up the second book anytime soon.
Wicked after Midnight is the final chapter in Delilah S. Dawson’s Blud novels, which is really a disappointing statement as the Blud novels have become some of my favorite paranormal romances. This is also where I should say that I do know Delilah, but that does not totally influence my reviews, at least I don’t think it does… Anyway, the books are super-awesome and Delilah herself is super-DUPER-awesome.
Now back to your regularly scheduled review.
After playing a background character through the previous Blud tales, Demi the Bludman contortionist leaves Criminy Stain’s magical traveling carnival. With her best friend Cherie in tow, she sets of to Paris and her dream of being a cabaret star. In route, however, Cherie is kidnapped by slavers. Demi must partner with the dashing Vale Hildebrand to find and save her friend. While gathering information, Demi works her way to the top of Paris’s cabaret, where she learns that it’s not all glamour and glitz.
Wicked After Midnight contains some of Dawson’s best steamy scenes to date, which are foiled nicely by perilous action, witty repertoire, and damned fine storytelling. There’s even a giant, clockwork elephant. While not fun for the entire family (though I’m sure grandma would get a kick out of it!), this book is a wonderful choice for anyone who loves (deep breath): Vampires, Carnies, Moulin Rouge, Steampunk, Romance, French impressionism, or a fun story.
City of Truth is the Nebula award winning novella written by science fiction author James Morrow. It explores a dystopic world where people cannot lie. Novellas usually don’t have a lot of depth to them, but this relatively short narrative will leave its readers thinking.
Truth rules in the city known as Veritas. Nobody can lie. It is brutally conditioned out of people when they turn ten years old. Cars have names like “Ford Sufficients,” and burgers are called “Murdered Cow Sandwiches.” Everything is lackluster, and there’s no passion, art, or excellence to be found.
Jack Sperry is a citizen of Veritas. He is a critique who looks at literature and art of old to determine whether or not the piece is truthful. If anything about it is a lie, he destroys it (bringing up vivid allusions to the firemen from Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451). His life is turned upside down when he receives word from Camp Ditch-the-Kids that his son has been diagnosed with an incurable, deadly illness. Finding no comfort in the stale truthfulness of the diagnosis, Sperry goes on a quest to find the dessemblers, people who have somehow relearned how to lie, thinking that hope, faith, and lies can save his son.
On the surface, City of Truth is a bit of a dull story. It isn’t until you start reading between the lines and thinking about the scenarios that it blossoms into worthy literature. It makes for a great book club book. Since it’s short, witty, and thought provoking, it provides multitudes of interesting material for conversation.