Sword of Truth vs. Wheel of Time. Before starting to dig into fantasy series I had asked this question myself and I am sure that many others have as well. Let’s take a look at what the first installment of each of the series has to offer and see who actually comes out on top. Time to answer that question: “Which series should I read?” Full disclosure is due here. I have not read more than the first two books in both series so this comparison is based off the first book only.
The first book in the Sword of Truth series is Wizard’s First Rule. The book is by Terry Goodkind and was released August 15th 1994 by the publisher Tor Books. The book is a hefty 836 pages long.
The first book in the Wheel of Time series is Eye of the World. It was written by Robert Jordan and was released January 1990 by Tor Books. the book is 685 pages long.
I think it’s fair to base the start of both these series as their overall plot is similar but they both have plenty of details that separate themselves. Something that these books have in common is that they follow a Tolkien like adventure facing a Dark Lord of sorts that threaten the world as the characters know it with their small world views before starting out on an epic adventure that will last several books long. Both of the first books to these series end quite similarly as well but I will not spoil anything here in this comparison for those looking to find the right book for themselves.
Surprisingly this is where the deviations start already. Sword of Truth has a much smaller party of characters to follow that allows for more focused character growth. Wheel of Times characters is utilizing a significantly larger pool of characters. This allows Robert Jordan to explore the world from multiple character perspectives. Though Sword of Truth does this. Wheel of time takes this method and runs with it. I think that the two books tie here for methods of character perspective. This could really just come down to how personal the reader wants the story to be.
Originality between these two series based on the first book here is tricky. It’s clear that they both borrow heavily from fantasy tropes. Sword of Truth does this very egregiously almost to the point of plagiarism. I found that with A Wizard’s First Rule had me making many comparisons to Lord of the Rings based on characters and even Star Wars characters despite this being a medieval fantasy series. Eye of the World also follows some of these tropes but the ideas are expanded on in a way that make the situations unique and the characters unique as well. The winner of this is easily Wheel of Time.
The magic systems for these series are pretty different based on what is known from the first book. They do however share a common thread with who seems to usually be allowed to use magic. I would say that Wizard’s First Rule goes more off the Merlin type magic system whereas Wheel of Time treats magic as this underlying power that some are able to access for better or for worse. I have to give the edge to Eye of the World. When I first finished Eye of the World I preferred Wizard’s First Rule, but, Eye of the World grew on me as both book ends simply due to how magic affects the ending to each of these books.
The pacing of both books are slightly different. It felt to me like they both took their time, but, Wizard’s First Rule was good in the beginning and at the end of the book, but the middle of it dragged on making it a chore to read through. Comparing it to the Eye of the World, the book started slow for me and ballooned all the way through to the end of the book. the middle part of the book ended up being the most enjoyable fantasy I have read in awhile and it clung to that pace up to the end. Eye of the World wins this category as well.
Overall story is tough after having read through the first two books of each series because this is based off only the first book of each series. The world of Sword of Truth is interesting and unique, but it really stops right there. The story is just some more plagiarized feeling story that feels so recycled that I sometimes feel that I have read it before or wanting to reach the material it took the ideas from. Eye of the World does not suffer this fate. The world feels more bland off the bat but makes up for it getting to the middle and end of the book that really shows the world and how the current events will impact everyone in the world. It feels unique enough to keep me tied to it and makes me want to continue on with the series. Eye of the World wins this category.
So it appears that Eye of the World is running away with this comparison and that is no mistake. I want to note that I have given both of these books a fair shake. I started with Sword of Truth’s Wizard’s First Rule and then read Wheel of Time’s Eye of the World. Robert Jordan clearly has a talent for world building and making me care about a multitude of characters while still expanding on mystery and story of the world as a whole.
If you are looking for which series to pick based on the first book I would tell anyone to skip Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series and read Eye of the World from the Wheel of Time series instead. You can purchase either of these books by using our amazon affiliate links below or by going to your local bookstore.