19 January 2010
Comments on Terry Goodkind's 'The Law of Nines'
First of all, the lead character is called Alexander Rahl, (the lead in The Sword of Truth is called Richard Rahl) so from the get go we either assume it's a homage to his own work or that there's a continuation of this series in some way. Also, lead female character is called Jax Amnell (from Kahlan Amnell, the female lead in the Sword of Truth). Any doubts about where the book is going with these links are quickly proven because is turns out that the world that we live in is the world that a number of people were banished to at the end of Confessor.
There are also a number of things that mark Alexander to be more or less the same person that Goodkind wrote in The Sword of Truth, not least of which is his strange ability to suddenly be experienced in whatever he sits down to do; be it fighting, sword play or magic. There are also some elements of the novel which, given the definite link to the world in The Sword of Truth, don't make sense (but to talk about these here will border on a fanboy rant, so I'll stop there).
So, is The Law of Nines a fantasy? It certainly has a lot of elements in it, even if these elements are almost identical to those used in Goodkind's previous works? Should we take it, as Goodkind wants us to, as a paranormal thriller? I don't think we can, and the problem that arises out of this is that those who aren't familiar with Goodkind's previous work i.e. the people his publishers are most likely aiming for (that 'hitting a new corner of the market' schtick) will be a bit confused as to what the hell they've gotten themselves into. On the other side, the people who are familiar with his fantasy work will probably be, like I was, a mixture of excited at the mention of the elements of The Sword of Truth and the reappearance of something you weren't expecting and feel doesn't quire belong.
Don't get me wrong, I love Terry Goodkind's work, and I think his writing and his worlds and his characters are excellent. It's just that this sudden injection of the fantastic into what was given the pretence of a paranormal thriller hit a bit of a sore spot with me (more on this in my next review).
Damn, this ended up almost as long as a review, so I'll end here. By all means go and read The Law of Nines. It's a great read and for the most part you'll enjoy it. Just prepare to be slightly confused and/or disappointed depending on how familiar you are with the author's previous material.