Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth Series #1)

Wizard's First Rule  - Terry Goodkind I read this book the same week I was trying to read Game of Thrones and I can honestly say that I liked Terry Goodkind's fantasy universe better. For one, the women have more power and that's always great. Kahlan Amnell is badass. She is a Confessor, a person of leadership in the realm she lives in. The Confessor's power is a unique, unexpected superpower, and Kahlan wields it with expertise. She is, also, the anti-damsel. It's Richard Cypher, the hero, who is clueless and Kahlan who must both guide and protect him. Another reason I like this book? HIGH STAKES. Now, I'm not ragging on other fantasy books, but oftentimes some supervillains come off as absurdly supervillan-y. I mean, they would be just as absurd walking into a Starbucks as they are existing in their respective novels. (This cliche involves a lot of beard-stroking, oversimplified backstories, random bursts of rage that are never explained, and slapping people they don't like. Not punching, but slapping.) But Darken Rahl, the villain of this novel, is much more complicated than that. For one, he is less interested in ripping people apart with a sword than he is manipulating them into their own downfalls. He also has a competent army. Yes, competent. The Mord-Sith are single-handedly the coolest and heartbreaking characters in the series. They are girls who were taken from their homes, tortured into obedience, and exist to protect Darken Rahl and torture any who threaten him. So even the villains aren't entirely beyond sympathy. I could go on about all of the other characters, but I don't want to spoil anything. I only gave this book three stars because of the slow beginning, but this series is absolutely amazing. Highly recommend.