Robyn's Reviews > The Law of Nines

The Law of Nines by Terry Goodkind
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Mar 29, 2011

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Having read all of Mr. Goodkind's previous works, I came to this book with a feeling of Trepidation. Would this be an astounding thrill-ride with philosophical undertones, much like he had given us in Wizard's first Rule or Faith of the Fallen? Would it be a lengthy author's tract, full of sermonizing and light on story, like Naked Empire?

The answer is; neither really.

I found it refreshing to be able to read one of the author's always entertaining "characters are screwed from the get-go" plots without the endless flashbacks that dragged down the later sword of truth novels. (though flashbacks seem to be a bit of a habit for Mr. Goodkind, as he tends to take a short paragraph here and there to remind us of things that happened 200 pages ago. I've decided to think this is endearing rather than annoying, otherwise it would likely prompt me to stop reading his stuff altogether.)

His other great downfall, the sermonizing, is MUCH reduced in this book, and there are plenty of places where he does the philosophy bit right; showing rather than telling, letting the character's actions speak, without the use of a speech. All of the speeches in this book probably cover less than five pages if you picked it all out of the story and put it together. Had it come from another author, one who didn't have Mr. Goodkind's history, I probably wouldn't even have noticed it. However, I've sat through quite a few repetitive speeches from this author, so I was on my guard.

I was disappointed to see that the philosophy didn't cover a lot of new ground. Most of the points he makes were pretty amply covered in his previous works, and his arguments still tend towards the straw-man style. I have yet to see his eloquent protagonists take on any serious criticism of the ideals the author holds, and I find this disappointing. I would like to see such passionate arguments directed at some really meaty opposition; maybe then I would find Objectivism more compelling.

As to the story, well... If you're familiar with the author's work, you see him slipping into many of the same comfortable old motifs: the sexually sadistic woman, the eccentric but secretly powerful grandfather figure, the strong female figure as only Terry writes them. In places it feels like someone has taken all of Goodkind's tropes, dumped them into a blender and poured them into a new mold.

I'm okay with this though. I like these tropes, which is why I liked his earlier novels. I like the way he puts them together, I love the urgency his stories create, and I love reading about people who really stop and consider what is right (I don't always agree with their conclusions, but I like the fact that they're THINKING.)

I had some high hopes for this book, as well as some fears. Neither of them was really confirmed in this book, but he didn't go very far outside his usual. I hope that this is the author taking steps to get outside his comfort zone more, and that we see another of his fine stories, maybe with even more of the good stuff and even less of that bad stuff than this one had.

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