The Law of Nines
Most people will recognize Terry Goodkind from his Sword of Truth novels, which he published from 1994-2007. In 2009 he released his newest novel, The Law of Nines. Despite the fact that this novel contains none of his familiar characters and is not even set in the same world, readers will be able to recognize clear threads running from his previous novels into his newest book. At the end of the Sword of Truth series the people of that world were separated; some remaining there and others were transferred to a world without magic. The Law of Nines picks up in that new world thousands of years later where we meet a descendant of the main character of the earlier novels. His name is Alex Rahl.
Alex is turning 27, the very age at which his mother began to go insane. Alex's fear that he too will soon go insane is heightened when odd events erupt around him which force Alex to question his sanity. He soon falls in love with a mysterious young woman named Jax who turns out to be from another world. Jax joins him on an exciting journey, the outcome of which the fates of two worlds depends upon. Alex must come to terms with his heritage and find within himself the strength to live up to the burden which his ancestry entails.
I enjoyed this novel because it brought Goodkind's fast paced narrative to bear upon our own world. Goodkind sets the story, for the most part, in places that actually exist, which lends to the novel a feeling of reality and draws the reader into the action. Goodkind paints Alex as a normal 21st century guy and this allows readers to identify with his fear and confusion when faced with death threats and seemingly impossible magic. Goodkind sets this novel up as a much distant continuation of his earlier books and this allows his fans to feel like even though so much has changed they are getting back into familiar territory. That does not mean that you need to be familiar with Goodkind's earlier work to follow the story. There is enough background and detail filled in that the new reader can follow the story without any trouble, although readers might miss out on some of the references which are made toward the earlier novels.
In trying to establish the link between his older books and this one, Goodkind at times strayed toward being overly repetitive or seeming to be uncreative. There were times when Alex and Jax seemed to be exact copies of Richard and Kahlan. At points in the novel Alex talks about the special smile which Jax gives only to him, which was the same thing that Richard used to say about Kahlan in the Sword of Truth novels. Also, the underlying conflict that moves the plot along is a little too similar to his earlier novels.
Repetitions not withstanding, this novel was an extremely enjoyable read. It will bring a comfortable feeling of familiarity to veteran Goodkind fans and will be engrossing to any newcomers. From the first pages you will be drawn in and filled with a desire to understand what exactly is The Law of Nines.