dragons · fantasy · swords · witches · wizards

Wizard’s First Rule: Terry Goodkind

I’ve started this series as a journey of sorts as there are twelve books in The Sword of Truth series.  My brother read these many years ago and declared them his favorites series; although I don’t think he’s actually finished it.  I had previously avoided the series because the book covers and illustrations did little to draw me in.  Yes that could be considered shallow of me as I’m judging a book by its cover but I’m trying to break out of that habit.  I have a seriously long commute (90-120 minutes one way) and I’ve decided to listen to this book on audio versus reading it.  This is a first for me as I’ve never done audio before.

Wizard's First Rule - The Sword of Truth Series - Terry GoodkindDay 1 – I begin Wizard’s First Rule. I’m a few chapters in and have gotten used to listening to the story versus actually reading.  I find it hard to concentrated sometimes as traffic pulls my attention away but so far I’m enjoying the experience.  I find myself getting slightly impatient with Goodkind’s writing style as I’m excited for the story and want the plot to progress.  It is in no way a compliant about the author’s writing style but rather a self observance that I’m too impatient when reading due to lack of time to actually read!  I need to slow down and enjoy the story and all of its detail (even though some is repetitive).

The characters names always intrigue me.  I used to try and write my own fantasy short stories and found developing the names the hardest part. It amuses me that the main character’s name is Richard (which is a fairly common name in the “real world”), and his brother’s Michael, and the rest of the characters have very unique names that seem more suited to a world of fantasy.  Zed has a very unique name with both middle and last starting with a Z as well! Chase and Addy are also more unique than Bill. Perhaps this coupled with a lackluster cover made me skip over this series so many times in the past.  When I pick up a book to consider reading it I always read the back cover and then one or two pages in the middle to get a sense of writing style.  It could be the names Richard and Michael bored me at the time?  No offense to all Richards and Michaels out there, they’re not boring names … just not what I expect (or have been used to) in fantasy writing … the names tend to be more abstract?

Okay so the voice of Zed has totally grown on me and I love his character!  Rachel is a sweetheart who pulls at the heart strings as she is treated so poorly. Hope it works out for her 🙂  I’m not sure how I feel about Brophy …we’ll just leave it at that.
By the way…started to watch The Legend Of The Seeker and it is so different from the book that I couldn’t bring myself to continue watching it.  It also had a certain level of cheesiness that I have a low amount of tolerance for.
I love that moment when you realize why the book has the title it does. We get there about 3/4 through this book.  Incidentally the world of wizards is better explained at that point as well.  I’m impressed with how patient Richard is with everything, seriously this group keeps too many secrets from each other.

This book definitely builds as it progresses.  The chapters on Denna of the Mord-Sith were intense.  Goodkind truly explores and tests the limits of the human mind and what it can handle.  For some reason all I can picture in my mind when I think of Mistress Constance is Virgo of Fairy Tail and her gorilla appearance.  I know … not even even close but the voice + description cause me to think her!

Fantastic start to a new series! I’m thrilled that there are so many to read!  Moving on to the second book!  5 out of 5 stars for this one!

draconian · Dragonlance · dragons · elves · gully dwarf · kender · Krynn · mages · magic · Paladine · Takhisis

Dragons of Autumn Twilight: Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

This is the first book in the Chronicles Trilogy. It’s called a trilogy because they’re are three books but later on the authors added a companion novel (The Second Generation) followed by a conclusion novel (Dragons of Summer Flame).  This is not the first DragonLance book I have read; that prestigious position goes to The Legend of Huma.  I remember reading through this series in grade/middle school and becoming thoroughly enraptured.  The character and world development is fantastic.  The writing style is such that a reader can enjoy the story at both a teen and adult level without feeling too challenged OR feeling that they are reading a children’s book.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragons_of_Autumn_TwilightThe Dragons of Autumn Twilight starts with a group of companions that are meeting again after a period of five years (read The Companions as a prequel if you want).  Their world is changing and the old gods are coming back to Krynn.  It’s a tale of darkness and dragons.  The character development is fantastic and you become invested in each of the characters.  All seems to have a dark and light side; except that of kender, Tasslehoff whose “dark side” is never darker than that of a child’s.

Characters (core)
Tanis Half-Elven (half elf: leader)
Caramon Majere (human: warrior)
Raistlin Majere (human: mage)
Sturm Brightblade (human: knight)
Flint Fireforge (dwarf: warrior)
Tasslehoff Burrfoot (kender: thief)
Riverwind (human: barbarian)
Goldmoon (human: barbarian cleric)
Tika Waylan (human: barmaid – skillet master)
Gilthanas (elf: brother to Laurana and childhood friend of Tanis)
Laurana (elf: sister to Gilthanis and childhood friend of Tanis)

Fizban (human: mage)  –> one of my favorite characters (compare to Zifnab in The Death Gate Cycle).  Authors having a bit of fun here:)

Once you finish reading this book you’ll want to jump right into the next.  The DragonLance book series is quite large (something like 150+ books).  DragonLance Nexus has put together a great summary of the books and their time periods.  The Chronicles is not a bad place to start but there are plenty of books that are dated before this storyline that create a back history on these characters (and others) as well as Krynn as a whole.  It’s been several years since anything new has been written for DragonLance but I think you’ll find that there is more than enough to keep you going for awhile.

They even turned this book into an animated film featuring Keifer Sutherland and Lucy Lawless as voice actors! Keep and open mind and appreciate the story line.  Don’t cheat and watch the movie first …

I seriously hope you enjoy this saga as much as I do!  This book is so worn from reading that the cover is tattering and the spine is cracked so much that I can’t make out the words on the side.  I’m going to make and educated guess and say that I’ve read this book at least a dozen times (probably closer to 20x).  More to come on these books as reread the entire saga!  It will certainly take some time but I’ll suffer through it 😉

Alliance · dragons · fantasy · Horde · mages · Theramore · World of Warcraft

Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War by Christie Golden

I absolutely love the World of Warcraft novel series that delves further into the heroes and character found in the MMPORG World of Warcraft (WOW).  I have read other works by Christie Golden which I will also review but I felt she did an excellent job with this tale.  It was almost as though I was actually playing a campaign in the game. Her descriptions of the people and places were spot on and I could see them clearly in my mind’s eye map.

I love how it touched on other characters in the campaigns but I think I read it out of order.  I should have read Thrall first as some of the storyline is better explained in that book (which I’m currently reading)!  I’ve already read Arthas which was a fantastic novel that further explained the beginning and ending of the death knight.  Jaina’s history was so closely tide to Arthas that reading that novel first made this one so much more enjoyable. Yeah for powerful female characters that actually act feminine but not helpless. 

There was mention of yet another important character in her life, an elf I think?  I know nothing of that character and I don’t know if he is/was of any importance in the grand scheme of things but I wish the author had elaborated a bit more on that thread. 

While I hate when main (and sub) characters are killed I think that it lends the story a certain level of credibility.  It’s nice to have a happy ending but I think that the stories with a bittersweet one captivate the reader so much more.

The degree of relationships between the different characters regardless of their factions, Alliance or Horde (or even neutral), created by the author exhibited enough intrigue and politics that offset the action quite nicely. I never used to care for politics in fantasy genre and maybe it was a maturity thing where all I wanted was plot progression and epic battles filled with action and excitement.  Now I find enjoyment in the forming of treaties, trade agreements, alliances, etc. Christie Golden does an excellent job of mapping it all out and making it interesting versus tedious.

And of course you can’t forget the dragons.  Dragons make my day!  The story of the Aspects in WOW and the political unrest between the different flights is extremely interesting and being able to read more about it and follow characters that span multiple novels as well as quests in the game is an enjoyable experience.  Kudos to you Christie and keep up the good work!  I’m almost done with Thrall and then I’ll be reaching for Vol’Jin, Dawn of the Aspects, and War Crimes.