Wizard's First Rule (1994)
Anthologies: Year's Best Fantasy (2001)
Wizard's First Rule (1994)
Michael has been reading Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series for several years now, and has mentioned repeatedly that he thought I should read it. So, with two weeks off from work, I decided I'd read the first book, just to see.
It's good, and it's interesting, but I definitely did not like it as much as Michael did.
It's very long. 820 pages, which even in paperback is heavy. The story was interesting, and I liked the characters, but at times he just went on too long. I mean, it took 100 pages to tell us who the different characters were, when we'd figured it out 80 pages earlier.
Because of that, there were several sections that I skimmed, looking for important details, but not caring all that much about the scenery and precisely what kind of clothes they were wearing, or exactly what the room looked like. And I really did not care for the section on the Mord-Sith. I got the point in a couple of pages, I really didn't need seventy pages of S&M.
Maybe I just don't have the patience to read epics.
Occasionally, I didn't believe that certain characters would act as they did. Kahlan in particular didn't seemed inconsistent which bothered me as she was the only major female character.
Also, for reasons I can't explain without giving everything away, I hate the cover. I have to wonder what on earth they were thinking when they created this cover. Or perhaps they weren't thinking, which was part of the problem. So if I read further, I'll have to make a point not to look at the covers of the remainder of the books. Just in case.
I did like Chase, and wish there had been more about him. He was interesting and amusing. And I also liked the Mud People, but again, I don't know that I needed 100 pages of them.
Was the writing good? Yes. Was the story good? Yes. Were the characters likable and interesting? Yes. Will I continue with the series? I don't know.
NOTE: Michael loves these books, and eagerly awaits each new addition to the series. So it may well just be me.
Year's Best Fantasy (2001)
I'm a sucker for short story collections--I love short stories, and fantasy collections are my favorite, so if I come across a collection, I usually buy it. This has, of course, led to some rather poor choices, such as "The Sorcerer's Academy" and "Earth, Air, Fire, Water", neither of which I've been able to finish. But for the most part collections tend to be good, and help to give me that reading fix, at times when I just can't get involved in a novel.
I'm not certain that I'd agree with the tag at the top of the book "A dazzling treasury of stories," but it is a nice collection. Some stories I liked, other I didn't care as much for, but on the whole it is a good collection.
The Hunger of the Leaves - Joel Lane
Greedy Choke Puppy - Nalo Hapkinson
The Golem - Naomi Kritzer
The Devil Disinvests - Scott Bradfield
A Serpent in Eden - Simon Brown and Alison Tokley
Wrong Dreaming - Kain Massin
Mom and Dad at the Home Front - Sherwood Smith
The Fey - Renee Bennett
GOlden Bell, Seven, and the Marquis of Seng - Richard Parks
Making a Noise in the WOrld - Charles de Lint
Magic, Maples, and Maryanne - Robert Sheckley
The Prophecies at Newfane Asylum - Don Webb
The Window - Zoran Zivkovic
And Still She Sleeps - Greg Costikyan
The Walking Sticks - Gene Wolfe
Debt of Bones - Terry Goodkind
"Hunger of the Leaves" by Joel Lane was one story that particularly struck me--it was more horror than fantasy, but still good. Although from a biological point of view, I did take issue with the premise of the tale. I also liked "The Golem" by Naomi Kritzer, but then I've always been fond of golem tales and Jewish folklore. This story has many of the elements I like about folklore--especially the dark side of the tale.
Scott Bradfield's "The Devil Disinvests" was very short, and very good. There's something about very short stories that are well done that is perfect. "Magic, Maples, and Maryanne" by Robert Sheckley I also liked, although like many of the stories in this collection, it was set in modernish times rather than a fantasy realm (as one would be lead to believe by the cover of the book.)
I have two other collection, volumes two and three, of which I've read volume three I believe. I'm not sure that they live up to the year's best fantasy, but the stories are good.