I read Wizards First Rule in one extended sitting during a 30 hour trip from Sydney to Frankfurt. I wanted a book that would take my mind off of being cooped up in airplanes. It worked really well for that.
I read Stone of Tears because WFR got me hooked on the characters, particularly Richard, the hero, and I wanted more. For me, Stone of Tears was an even better story. Do you know that feeling when you identify with a character so much that you start writing your own dialog for him? I hope that's not just me who does that...
I agree with a lot of reviewers who talk about wooden dialog and some unbelievable situations. Most of the men and some of the women in the story seem to have physical abilities and endurance that would sweep the olympic games if they ever tore the veil between that world and ours. But, listen: that's not important. To me, emotions are important, and intelligent characters. I don't want to be yelling at dumb characters, in my head.
I identify with Richard. He's an angry young man with a strong personal code. He's no wuss. He's smart. I once was a young man like that, too, so it felt good to slip into his skin.
Ultimately, my test for a good book is whether it changes how I experience the world. This series is doing that. I'm thinking about my own experience as a Seeker, and my own personal Sword of Truth. Sound silly? In 1999, I quit a safe job and became a consultant. I had no savings, nor equipment, nor preparation. This was a Sword of Truth moment, I now realize. It's a moment that comes rarely in life-- when you see what you must do and you do it despite the pain it will cause you. We're caught up in so many complicated threads in our modern lives, Terry Goodkind is the kind of writer who helps me reflect on how I can maintain my moral compass.