Tag Archive | terry goodkind

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

 

 

 

 

 

A World Without Technology: Can You Imagine It?

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

 

Having grown up on a farm out in the middle of the boonies, I know what it feels like to be technologically limited. The house was heated with a wood burning stove in the basement, the grass was cut using a hand held scythe, the water was pumped out of a well, and the closest grocery store was very small and took twenty minutes to get to by car. When it came to watching television, one of my favourite pass times, we were lucky if we could get five channels, and that’s only if the weather was nice and we turned the antenna until it was in just the right spot using the rotor [for those of you unfamiliar with the term ‘rotor’, it was basically a device that had a nob that you turned in order to get a better TV signal… my how things have changed]. Then there was the dial up internet, which would often take up to an hour to load anything, and was incredibly frustrating when someone else wanted to use the phone, and were met instead with the familiar dial up screech upon picking up the receiver.

This may sound like a horrible way to live for some of you, but honestly, it’s a way of life that I miss sometimes. It may not have been easier, but it was definitely simpler in a way. It felt like I was living in the kind of close knit community that doesn’t really exist anymore, where people helped one another unconditionally, where parents went out of their way to run programs for the kids of the neighbourhood, and we were more afraid of the coyotes howling at night than we were of other people.

It’s also a reminder that there is so much that the youth of today who take for granted. I wrote an article once about how many of today’s children know next to nothing about cooking, food and nutrition. They think that it all just comes from the store and that there will always be plenty of food to go around. They have no concept of sustainability, of how it gets from the farm to their plate, and how pre packaged or ready made meals are not only less nutritional, but are also depriving them of the joys of cooking. It’s a shame, really, and it’s only going to get worse as society continues to make great strives towards making life ‘easier’.

I started thinking a lot about this after reading this passage from                           9780515147483_p0_v1_s260x420                 The Law of Nines by Terry Goodkind, which I will hopefully get to the end of in the next week or so. For those of you unfamiliar with this title, The Law of Nines is part of the same universe as The Sword of Truth series. I won’t say too much, except that you learn quite a bit more about the world that Richard ‘Rahl’ Cypher grew up in, and how it might not be all that different from our own…

Anyway, there is this one part in the book where the two main characters get into this deep discussion about what our world would be like if we suddenly no longer had access to the technology that we have come to rely upon so heavily for everything:

 

“Well, imagine life here without technology. Imagine life without the technology that heats your buildings, helps grow food in abundance, makes your lights glow. What would life be like without your phones, your trucks, your medicines and cures, without the means to supply the people in your cities with goods and services?

Imagine all the people in cities deprived of every kind of technology, technology that they use every day to survive. Imagine everyone suddenly having to find a way to grow their own food, to preserve it, to store it safely.

[…] Without your technology the fabric of civilization itself would come apart within days – if not hours. Everyone would be on their own. One city wouldn’t know what the next is doing, or if they were even alive. There’d be no plans or cars or anything else. You couldn’t travel to other places unless you walked. Do you have any idea how long it takes to walk just a few dozen miles? A distance that in your cars takes a brief time would be days of hard travel on foot.”

      It goes on for several more paragraphs, and the more I read, the more I realized just how hopeless many of us would be if we could no longer rely on the convenience of our technology to get by. Growing up, I thought it was normal having to walk almost half an hour to get to a friends house, until I visited some of my friends in the city who literally just had to cross the road. It seemed unfair at first, but then I thought about all of the beauty of nature I got to enjoy on my long walk, a beauty that my city friends were being deprived of.

      Having to work harder to get something makes you appreciate it so much more, and I fear that that’s something else that might be lost on the next generation of youth. Having worked in a grocery store, I’ve seen all sorts of different family dynamics. It always warmed my heart to see children who were eager to help their parents carry the groceries, as if it was the most exciting thing in the world. There was even this one kid who really wanted to pass me all of the groceries by himself. Those were the days that made me smile.

Then you had the children on the other end of the spectrum, the ones that made you feel the same pain that the parents must be feeling as they watch their child throw a full blown tantrum in the middle of the store when they could only have one chocolate bar, or when their teenage child is too busy text on their phone to bother helping out when their parent is struggling to pack and carry all of the groceries by themselves.

Where has their sense of responsibility gone? Their respect for those who raised them? Their appreciation for the things that they already have? Everyday, it seems to only get worse and worse, and I fear that future generations will be completely unequipped to handle even the simplest challenges should they no longer have technology to lean back on.

What are your thoughts on this quote? I’d love to hear what all of you lovely BookNerds have to say, so please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below, or on my blogs Facebook page. Happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd   

Things to look forward to…

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!

There are always so many things to look forward to in life; birthdays, Christmas, Halloween, 50% off sales at HMV, meeting your celebrity crush at Comiccon, etc… etc… Even if it’s just the little things, like getting to see your boyfriend after a long day at work, or playing with a cat you just met on the side of the street. There is just no end to the things we can see and do, and I think for many of us, it is those little things that keep us going, especially during those times when we realize the limitations of our mortal lives. When you only have one life to live, those little things should be cherished even more.

For me, it’s the thought that there will always be more books to read that drives me. It’s not the only thing, mind you, for life is never that simple, but if it wasn’t for the knowledge that there will always be another book to lay my hands on no matter how many books I’ve already read, mine would be a very sad existence indeed. We all need an escape from reality every now and again, otherwise we would go berserk from the stress and pressures of everyday life. Things like dragons, wizardry, hobbits and elves may be nothing more than fictitious concepts, but for some, these things are a symbol of hope, justice, courage and the possibility of better things to come. I would not be the person I am today if it wasn’t for a dear friend of mine introducing me to the world of Harry Potter in the fourth grade.

I was a quiet, awkward and anti-social introvert for a better part of my youth, struggling to find my place amongst those who already seemed to have everything figured out. Everyone has moments where they feel like a complete outsider, and for those fortunate few, the feeling is only temporary. I still find myself struggling to find my place, but ever since the day I first read Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone, my world has steadily undergone a change, and mostly for the better.

Now, reading and writing have become two of the biggest parts of who I am in the present and the future, right alongside my family, friends and the love of my life. This is why, even though I used to feel guilty about buying books when I still had so many in my possession already that remained unread, I can now buy books without experiencing that same guilt. Why? To put it simply, books are kind of like food; if you can’t see the food in front of you, then you’re less likely to eat it. It’s the same with books, in these sense that if you can’t see the book right in front of you, you’re less likely to read it. I wish to read as many books as I can, so if I can find books for a decent price, then I don’t see anything wrong with splurging a little bit every now and again.

In one of my previous posts, I started a list of places that I highly recommend people to stop by if they’re looking to purchase books at a reasonable price. My favourite’s to date are mostly used bookstores, and I have another one to add to the list.

4. Value Village

Yes, I realize that this is not strictly a bookstore, but you would be hard pressed to find a better bang for your buck. I usually drop in to browse their clothing selection, but there hasn’t been a single time when I haven’t found myself wondering over to their little book corner. The great thing about used books is that you’re more likely to find books that you’ve never seen or heard of before, or in other cases, you’ll find that one book you’ve spent ages searching for.

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These are just a few of the little beauties I stumbled upon during my most recent trip to Value Village. Each one of them stood out to me for a different reason. The Alice Munro collection, for instance, reminded me of the journalism internship I completed last summer out in Huron County. One of the articles I wrote required me to go on a self-guided tour of all the locations that Alice Munro had either visited herself or wrote about in her short stories. It’s always fascinating to see how much a person’s writing is directly influenced by the people they meet and the places they’ve been. The novel by Terry Goodkind is based on the same universe as the Sword of Truth series, which I’m still trying to make my way through. I feel inspired by authors who are capable of organizing a story in a way where it can keep going from one book to the next. I’ll be lucky if I can complete a trilogy, let alone an 11 book series! Arctic Chill was recommended to me by my friend/roommate from Sweden, who is really into mystery and crime novels. Although not usually my cup of tea, I must confess that the synopsis did peek my interest somewhat. The last book… actually, that’s one I borrowed from my sister-in-law over the Christmas holidays which I have yet to get around to reading.
I’m going to have to teach myself some techniques that will help me to read books at a much quicker pace. That being said, here’s this weeks question:

Q: How do you read books quickly without missing any of the crucial details?

This is all to say that there will be many more book reviews to come, which means a great deal more for all of you lovely booknerds to look forward to. In the meantime, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

Cheap Books are Good Books!

So, the other day I made my first trip ever to Value Village, which shocked most of my friends and colleagues. Just another reminder of how I have failed to remain in touch with this generations shopping habits, but I digress. The purpose of this little adventure was to find clothes that suited my rather bizarre fashion sense – or lack of one, to be more precise – but somehow it did not quite work out that way. Alas, after finding only a few articles of clothing that met my picky criteria, I couldn’t help but notice a nicely stocked book shelf calling out my name. Although it paled in comparison to places like Chapters, the prices just couldn’t be beat, and I talked myself into buying two books that I have always wanted to get, but was too off-put by the price to actually purchase. I have yet to read them, but the premises sound most intriguing:

1. The Law of Nines by Terry Goodkind

“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.”

 

2. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman and Ed Kramer

“There is a dark king who rules our dreams from a place of shadows and fantastic things. He is Morpheus, the lord of dreams. Older than humankind itself, he inhabits – along with Destiny, Death, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium, hi Endless sisters and brothers – the realm of human consciousness. His powers are myth and nightmare – inspirations, pleasures, and punishments manifested beneath the blanketing mist of sleep.


I have read work by both authors, and I fell in love with their imagination coupled with their unique writing styles. However, I would still appreciate some feedback from those who have read these two works in particular, preferably without any spoilers 🙂