Tag Archive | Game of Thrones

Book Review: The Law of Nines

BookNerd

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

There are so many defining elements that one can use to determine whether a book qualifies as being good or bad. Does it have a relatable protagonist? Is the plot of the story unpredictable? Does it abide by rules that make sense? Is it something that no one has ever done before?

Those are all  important elements that can amount to an amazing story, but to me, it doesn’t mean anything if the book doesn’t somehow engage you on an intellectual level. I want a book that makes me think; a book that gets me to question everything I thought I knew about life. I’m basically saying that I want a book that goes out of its way to mess with my mind, forcing me to see the world from perspectives I’d never even considered before.

In The Law of Nines, Terry Goodkind creates a version of our reality in which we truly are not alone, but not in the way you might think. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say that the world Goodkind created in the Sword of Truth series and our world have a lot more in common than you may have thought. In this book, we get the chance to see our world from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know how it works, and is fascinated by things as simple as making tea or using a hair dryer.

Now, how much do I like it and would I recommend it? Let’s take a look!

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Review: The Law of Nines by Terry Goodkind

Three stars

Synopsis:

“Turning twenty-seven may be terrifying for some, but for Alex, a struggling artist living in the Midwest, it is cataclysmic. Something about this birthday, his name, and the beautiful woman whose life he has just saved has suddenly made him – and everyone he loves – a target. A target for extreme and uncompromising violence…”

I knew absolutely nothing about this book going into it, except that it was written by one of my favourite authors. From reading the synopsis, I was able to glean that it was a story of a conspiratorial nature, that focused on a guy named Alex. Then there’s the ‘beautiful woman coming into his life and changing everything’ cliché, a rather overused premise, but one that can still hold some intrigue if done right.

I had no idea, until the main character’s last name was revealed, that this book had any connection whatsoever to the Sword of Truth series. It didn’t give that impression at all, what with the lack of seekers, confessors, magic and Gar’s. Granted, it’s been a while since I read any of the Sword of Truth books, so it’s possible that there’s something in one of the –  I want to say fifteen, although when I started reading them there was only ten, which is how you can tell it’s been a while since I read them – books that hints at some kind of connection between these two different storylines. This made it a little confusing for me once the two storylines collided, but it did succeed in making it refreshing, yet still familiar.

Designing a good female character who is the perfect balance between strength, courage & tenacity, and empathy & femininity is challenging. If they’re too much of either, I find they become immediately unlikeable, like Sansa Stark during the first season of Game of Thrones, and Cersei Lannister during… well, the entire series, really. On the one hand, you had Sansa, who very much behaved like a proper lady, and dreamt of meeting a handsome man who would sweep her off her feet and make her feel like a queen, both figuratively and literally. Now, this isn’t the bad part of her personality. The bad part comes with how incredibly naïve she is about the ways of the world, especially her inability to see that Joffrey is a sadistic creep, and the worst possible choice for a husband. Her life just keeps getting worse and worse, but you can’t help but feel that it’s her fault because of those aspects of her personality.

Cersei’s character is an example of a female character from the other end of the spectrum, one who is very strong, manipulative and understands very well how the world and the minds of men work, which aren’t bad qualities in and of themselves, but she portrays them in a way that basically make her look like a… well, you know. Not a very pleasant person, let’s put it that way.

Both characters have admirable qualities, but they lack balance, resulting in characters that you love to hate. In The Law of Nines, the female protagonist Jax is what I would consider a decent balance between the two extremes. She’s strong, vicious even when she needs to be, extremely loyal, and despite how out of place she feels being in our world, she learns quickly so that she doesn’t get taken advantage of. Jax is certainly one of the main reasons I kept reading this book, but sometimes, one reason is just not enough.

My overall impression is that it’s not a great book, but it’s still worth the read. It’s certainly an interesting side story, and there are several moments where I could feel my heart pounding against my chest when our protagonists found themselves with their backs against the wall and their lives on the line, but it was a bit of a struggle to read it through to the end. The story felt rather repetitive at times, even a little simplistic in its plot, and from start to finish, it kind of felt like I was reading two completely different stories that only sort of meshed together.

There was one part of the book that I really liked though, and I feel like that alone made it worth reading. I actually mentioned it in a previous post, which you can check out here. In short, the protagonists Alex and Jax were having a deep discussion about the similarities between magic and technology, and what our world would be like if we suddenly didn’t have access to any of our modern day technology. I find myself often saying that I’d be able to live without my phone and my computer if I had to, but I never stopped to consider it on a global scale, where the majority of humanity relies upon having access to technology to survive.

I also enjoyed the conspiratorial tone at the beginning of the book, evoking plenty of paranoia and suspense, as neither you nor Alex had any idea what was going on. I even enjoyed how they introduced Jax, this mysterious woman who comes out of nowhere, and initially gives Alex the cold shoulder following his rescue attempt.

So, not a great book, but not altogether terrible. If you want a sneak peak into the Sword of Truth series before reading it, then The Law of Nines might not be a bad place to start. I would classify it as the kind of book you read a few pages of before going to sleep every night. I don’t normally like to give a book a bad review, but I just found it too difficult to lose myself in this one. However, even bad or moderately good books have their merits and deserve to be read. You never know what you might glean from them.

What do you look for in a good female protagonist? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or on my blogs Facebook page, and until next time, keep on reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

 

 

 

 

 

From “Good Golly” To “F*** You”: How Did We Get Here?

I read to live and I live to read. That's my circle of life.

“I read to live and I live to read. That’s my circle of life.”

Greetings Fellow BookNerds!

Every now and then, my mind will pick out something at random from my everyday life and analyze it from every possible angle. Usually it drives me nuts, especially when it happens at one o’clock in the morning when all I want to be doing is gently drifting off to sleep. But every once and a while, the random thoughts and questions that plague my mind cease to be a hindrance and instead allow me to see the world around me with eyes that have not been clouded by what others want me to see.

I watch a lot of television. I won’t deny it. I’m the kind of person who will watch just about anything once, just to see if it’s worth my time to see it through to the end, and nine times out of ten I get hooked. Much of what I watch varies depending on my mood; if I’m feeling stressed, I’ll watch a sitcom. When I feel like my life is a little too mundane, I’ll dive head first into an action packed drama. Heck, even though I’m not big into chick flicks, I won’t hesitate to pop on some Gilmore Girls when I start feeling all nostalgic for the days I used to hang out with my sister like that.

Growing up, and all the way up until high school, I watched a lot of old television series, and when I say old, I mean OLD. I’ve seen most of the original Lost in Space and Outer Limits series, I’ve watched every single episode from the original Star Trek and every other spinoff it inspired later on, and I never set foot on the bus for school in the morning before watching at least one episode of either Mr. Ed, Green Acres, The Adams Family or All In The Family. I can’t say for sure where this love of mine for the classic’s came from, but I’m pretty sure my dad had something to do with it.

What I love most about old television is that it provides us with a glimpse into what the world was like during the years before we were born… well, at least before I was born. Granted, they’re not always the most accurate portrayal, as television tends to embellish certain details for the sake of keeping the audience entertained, but sometimes you can glean the most about a society from what they don’t show on television. Most broadcast companies were much more stringent back then, being very selective about what they would and would not allow to air, a fact which has changed a hell of a lot today, and not just in what watch, but in what we read to.

The first show I ever saw on HBO was the Pillars of the Earth mini series, based on one of my favourite Ken Follett novels. My friends had warned me that the kind of stuff that HBO airs leaves very little to the imagination, so I should brace myself. Based on my experience, I think that was a bit of an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against HBO. I’m anxiously awaiting the next season of Game of Thrones to come out on DVD, and my boyfriend finally convinced me to watch Rome, which in my opinion was a series that was too short lived, much like Firefly. Honestly, I love what HBO has to offer, but the question of why I love it so much is what has got me thinking; how did we get here?

Frankly speaking, if someone from the 1950’s were to be transported to the present time, and the first things they had access to were our books and television, I can’t help but debate whether they would be more amazed by how much our creativity has evolved, or terrified by it. Our creative culture is rife with sadism, masochism, gut wrenching torture, explicit sex, and violence in just about every fathomable way, shape and form. Our hands are no longer tied by censorship, at least nowhere near as much as it used to be, and clearly we’ve taken full advantage of it. Granted, it makes for very interesting and thought provoking stories, but the fact that those are the kinds of things that we get a thrill out of now makes me wonder; just HOW did we get here?

I’ve only been alive on this earth for 23 years, but even I can remember the days when we still got in trouble for swearing if we were under the age of 13. Now, people drop the f bomb pretty much every other word, as if it were the normal thing to do. Swearing has become a part of everyday speech, much like saying hello, or pleas and thank you. I wouldn’t call myself a conservative person, but even I cringed a little bit whenever Debra from the show Dexter went on one of her little ‘fuck’ tirades. It’s as if there is no longer a division between the categories of swear words and regular words. They’re all just words now… although I suppose swear words have always been regular words, just infused with our own subtext and connotations, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Regardless of whether it’s in books or on tv, our language and our attitude towards what was once considered obscene and unwatchable, has done a complete 180, and I just can’t help but wonder what it was that led to such a drastic change, and even more curiously, in what direction it will continue in as we continue to push the boundaries of our imagination.

As always, I welcome any and all comments and opinions, so feel free to leave them in the comments box below this post. Also, as a heads up to all of you wonderful BookNerds, I am halfway through my next novel, and will likely be posting a review for it within the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned, and as always, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd