My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is not one for the squeamish or those with a history of unresolved physical abuse.
That being said, Terry Goodkind's understanding of the human psyche showed in numerous places throughout the book. This book had many elements I liked, man vs man, man vs self and of course, plot twists. It is rare for me to read an author who can plot twist without me seeing it coming, and this book did it more than once time. I would recommend anyone who does not mind seeing the darker side of human nature to pick up this book. I would also suggest if you are upset by torture and crimes against women and children, that you do not!
That being said, working as a counselor, I can tell you that for the most part the Wizard's First Rule is in many ways true. Words have more power then we has humans give them credit. The old saying that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me was an attempt by our ancestors to protect us from this magic.
The human brain is an amazing thing. No matter what mental ailment you seek to treat, if you do not break the false beliefs that the person has accepted as truth, you will not help them. If a person with depression truly believes there is no hope of anything better, you must target that belief before you can ever help them. Politicians know this and prey upon it in their home countries. Cult leaders use it to control.
The best lies ever told, the best cons ever created all have a measure of truth in them. You add to that something that the person you are targeting wants to believe and they are yours. As a counselor, I work to reverse this, however, sometimes the belief is too deeply entrenched much like a powerful spell and cannot be reversed. This is what makes a true zealot so scary if their beliefs include bringing harm to another. If they truly believe that what they do will further the cause of what they believe, no matter how erroneous, only death will stop them.
The best authors know this fact. You can see it in their writing and in the manipulation of their characters. Terry Goodkind has some insight into this but used it more in the darker sections of his writing. With this are some themes that are popular: True love can conquer all, the truth shall set you free, and the greatest enemy is yourself. I learned a lot from reading this novel as an author. Some things that I should consider as elements to my writing and I definitely saw a few things I wish to avoid.
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