I just finished Terry Goodkind's new book, the Law of Nines. Before I go on, I will warn there are spoilers in this review.
I loved Goodkind's Sword of Truth series. Finally, some fantasy with depth and vision. What made that series so incredible was the way he mixed in philosophy (the objectivism found in Ayn Rand's books) with a really great and entertaining fantasy tale. Richard and Kahlan, the two main characters in that series, were believable as lovers and as heroes. They both progressed and developed in very natural ways that made the reader get really attached to them. He had created a world that did not seem irrational because it mirrored our own so well except it had magic. The ending of the series was particularly interesting because it was unexpected. Lord Rahl, Richard, ends up sending those who are against his philosophy (the bad guys) to our world. What a cool commentary. Goodkind essentially said, in the end, that those bad people live in our world and they are trying to push the same philosophies here as they were there.
I needed to tell you all that information for you to understand my review of the new book. Now, I had heard that Terry Goodkind was going to write in the thriller genre. I was ecstatic because I don't think that authors should always have to write in one genre. Certainly, if you are a good enough writer, you should be able to write in several genres.
It was a little weird, at first, to realize I was reading Goodkind when all that was happening was on our world and in a modern time. Not only that, the writing quality was nowhere near the quality of the Sword of Truth series. I read a review that called the writing "blocky and strained." I was willing, however, to overlook the lower quality of writing because I believed in Mr. Goodkind.
Then he started throwing in all these hints about the world from his other series. I was shocked and a little excited because it was unexpected. But then I found that the fact that he tied in this book with the other world made no sense. We get 1,000 years worth of history between the end of Sword of Truth to this book in just a chapter. I felt like someone had taken a beautiful painting and written all over it with marker. Oh wait, that's what happens in The Law of Nines not only once, but twice, a detail which was confusing because somehow the bad guy, Radell Cain, had been watching Alex Rahl the whole time.
That brings another point. Alex Rahl. Rahl is Richard's last name. How the hell did a Rahl get to our world? This is a detail Goodkind never addresses. Then, not only that, his love interest is Jax Amnell which is the same last name as Kahlan in the other series. Correct me if I'm wrong but, if Richard and Kahlan got married (which it's not outlandish to think that they did), Kahlan would no longer be Kahlan Amnell. She would be Kahlan Rahl. So...in that case...wouldn't this relationship between Jax and Alex be a form of incest? I was really confused. Her last name was supposed to be some big revelation, but I found myself wrinkling my nose in distaste because of the implications. Whether or not that was intended, I know not.
Moving on. Alex is a nice guy, right? He's your average Joe at the beginning of the novel when he saves Jax from a van that's about to run her over. Somehow, in the midst of all this, Alex goes from regular Joe to a killing machine. There is a gruesome description of Alex strangling a nurse at the psych ward where his mother is being taken care of. The nurse is a bad lady, but this is one of the first acts of violence in the book. It makes me less sympathetic to Alex simply because we have not seen the bad guys do anything really terrible up to that point.
Another thing. The action scenes drag on forever. And I found myself skimming a lot toward the end because I wanted to get to the main point of the story. It took forever for the climax to come around and it was disappointing. It all felt like a rehash of The Wizard's First Rule. Well, more like a cheap imitation of it because WFR is fantastic. This book is just mediocre.
I guess I could sit and nitpick at the book all day long. Kudos to Goodkind for trying to get out of the fantasy realm. I've been trying to figure out if it is best to read this book without having read the other series, or if you should read SoT and then read this book. I don't know. This book relies so heavily on you understanding what happened in SoT that it would be even more confusing if you had not read them.
So...I would only recommend this book if you're a die-hard Terry Goodkind fan. I am still a fan because he was able to produce an amazing series, but I hope his next book is not as hard to get through as this one was. It was entertaining, but not worth getting excited over. I kind of hope he returns to fantasy. We shall see.
Here are the links to some other reviews on this same book:
Jake Taylor graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a Bachelor of Arts degree in professional writing. He is the author of The Tales of the Unluckiest Lucky Girl series. He is also an avid reader, traveler, movie-watcher, and music lover. He currently serves in the US Navy and is stationed in San Diego, CA.