Tag Archive | the sword of truth

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Thoughts from Aboard Via Rail

Hello All!

I was glad to see that so many people found my Writing Tips from yesterdays post to be useful. To pass the time for the next four hours as I travel by train to Ottawa, I decided to continue that train of thought (pun intended) by focusing on some of the places where some of the greatest novels were written, and what it was that inspired the ideas behind these literary masterpieces.

Travel Writing

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

The witches and wizards we have all come to know and love came into being aboard a train traveling to London, England. I don’t thin it could have been written any other way. It only took about four hours on a train for the dark haired, bespectacled wizard to take shape, and the world that he was soon to be thrown into.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

This fantasy series was an interesting one, as it was not only written during and following World War 2, but it wasn’t even written in the order that it was meant to be read. Many of the tales are a reflection of what took place in his own life, combined with his initial inspiration sparked by the illustrations, which were cobbled together before the series was given life.

The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind

This twelve book series seems like like your average fantasy series, but there is actually more to it than that. This series was heavily influenced by the work of Ayn Rand, who took a more philosophical approach to her books. Goodkind was more or less intent on presenting certain human and philosophical themes in the guise of a fantasy adventure, exploring certain human dilemmas and emotional situations to give an in depth look into the human experience.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

This is yet another series that was written during the turmoil brought about during World War II, beginning with the newly rejuvenated The Hobbit. This is one of those series that has undergone extensive analysis, from the various themes to its many origins, all in the hopes to get inside the authors mind. The completion of his was slow going, since he was in the midst of his career as a university examiner. This just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what you end up doing in life; there is always time to write an epic tale. The Lord of the Rings portion of the series was written a few years later, the chapters of which were sent back and forth between himself and his son, Christopher, who at the time was away serving with the Royal Air Force.

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

This work is a classic, with a rich history of being both an amazing novel, and a mischief maker. H.G. Wells wrote this story in response to multiple historical events, resulting in a projected scenario of what would become of humanity if it were to fall prey to an alien race. The main event to spark the idea for this novel was actually in 1894, when Mars had fallen into a position in the sky where you could actually see it, which led to the speculation of the possibility of life existing on the surface of Mars. Wells has a history of making certain predictions in his writing, most of them revealing worst case scenario’s such as aerial bombings, gas warfare, advanced lazer-based weaponry, and even robots.  Through his writing, Wells revealed a side of humanity that was not exactly positive, but which provoked deep philosophical discussions about human nature and how it reacts to threats of an unknown nature.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Only these two authors could take such a serious and complex concept and turn it into a comedy that is both entertaining and insightful. The idea of this story is that of the Four Horsemen – War, Famine, Pollution and Death – coming down to earth in order to pass judgement on the human race, and the attempts of and angel and a demon to stop this from happening, having become quite comfortable living among humans. All of this is coming to pass due to the birth of the Anti-Christ, or the son of Satan, who must decide between living a life of good or evil. You can see from the topic that this is a tale based, if only loosely, on different religious prophecies, revealed in a humorous fashion reminiscent of Monty Python. Gaiman and Pratchett had known each other for some time, and it seemed like a mutual agreement to set forth in making a collaborative novel, and they continuously swapped parts during the writing process so that they both contributed equally to all of the different characters.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Normally I wouldn’t bother giving mention to this series, but knowing that there exists a rather large following, it seemed only fair that I put my own feeling s about the series aside and give it some time in the spotlight.  This was the first book Meyer had ever written, and it is essentially the embodiment of almost every girls’ fantasy; falling in love with a handsome, yet feared and misunderstood vampire. She claims that the main premise for the novel came to her in a dream, subconsciously witnessing the romantic tale of a vampire falling in love with a human, while at the same time trying not to kill her. It resembles the tale of Romeo and Juliet, the idea being that the romance is forbidden by both sides, and it ends up leading to a greater conflict than they initially thought. The concept of human and vampire romance is nothing new, if I learned anything from watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Still, Meyer has started up the vampire craze all over again, both on paper and on the big screen.

These are only to name a few, but there are hundreds more authors who stumbled across an idea in all different manner’s of places, times and situations. Since I enjoyed doing this so much, I have now decided to start yet another weekly segment, with the intention of presenting a book every week which was written under unique or interesting circumstances, and also including where their inspiration came from.

As always, if you have any comments, questions or concerns, I would be most happy to read them from the comments below. Happy reading everyone!

Cheers 🙂