Monday, January 11, 2010

Cannonball Read II - Book #6: The Law of Nines by Terry Goodkind

Warning: If you have not read this book, leave now. It's about to get all spoilery up in here. If you like Terry Goodkind and don't think you can handle someone questioning him, you should also leave now. If you cringe at strong language, you too, should head for the exit and perhaps not come back, cause let's face it, I can make a sailor blush.

What the fuck, Terry Goodkind? What the hell is this shit you are trying to pass off as literature? OK, so maybe this might pass as literature, 'might' being a stretch. But for you, Terry Goodkind? For you? Oh no, Sir. No, if you expect your devout fans to accept this steaming pile of dung, not only have you apparently pissed away all of your talent but you seem to have lost your ever lovin' fuckin' mind too!

*deep breath*

Sorry, let me explain.

I bought The Law of Nines for my husband for Christmas. My husband and I have both read The Sword of Truth series and loved it. My husband had mentioned what a talented writer he thought Terry Goodkind to be. So, upon seeing this new book on the shelf I thought I should pick it up, because my husband liked Goodkind for both his imagination and his ability. I was even a little excited to see what kind of "electrifying new direction" (this is what it says on the inside flap of the dust jacket) he might have taken. It promised "Longtime fans and new readers alike will not forget...THE LAW OF NINES". Because it ruined any good fucking will I had for Terry Goodkind? Sorry, back to the review. Now, Mr. Sprite is still thoroughly engaged with the books I bought him for his birthday, The Outlaws of the Marsh, and I needed another book before I started the next Diana Gabaldon one and I knew I would have it read in a jiffy, so read it I did.

The Law of Nines begins with Alex, a young man celebrating his 27th birthday, standing on a street corner waiting for the light to change when he notices a plumbing truck careening toward him. It's then that he realizes there is woman (whom he doesn't remember seeing before now) waiting for the light as well and she doesn't seem to have noticed the approaching danger. He grabs her arm and yanks her out of the trucks path in the nick of time, saving her life. Then he invites her into the gallery where his paintings are on display. He's an artist, he paints trees and stuff. In the gallery she calls him by his name, he's shocked! But wait, she must have been to the gallery before and seen his paintings. When he pointed out his, she remembered the name, right? Well, turns out.... ....this is your last warning... ...go now if you don't want to be spoilered... ...she's from another world. She's from a world much like Alex's world but her world has magic and his doesn't.

We just slipped outta thriller folks, and put on a nice comfy fantasy. That's okay. I can handle that, because I've read Terry Goodkind's brand of fantasy and it kicks all kinds of ass.

The girl disappears into thin air again and we're left with Alex pondering his sanity because he's 27 and his Mom lost her shit when she turned 27 and she's been institutionalized and heavily medicated ever since. So he goes to see his grandpa because grandpa is also a little loopy but harmless and he always makes Alex feel better, or some shit. Grandpa has something for Alex. It seems Alex has inherited approximately half of Maine! Why, because it's his 27th birthday (grandpa thinks it has to do with the 7, something about the 7) and because he's a Rahl. Yes, you read that right. And yes, I also got all warm and tingly, like any good Goodkind fan should. But it's not what you think, my friends and what it is is not freakin' pretty.

This book is essentially a continuation (1000 years in the future) of The Sword of Truth. But there is no sword and no one names Alex the Seeker. But he has a pretty knife that has a mate with the letter R for the house of Rahl carved in the hilt. Oh and the mysterious woman? Yeah, the hints dropped that she's a confessor would sink a fucking boat, but he never comes right out and says so. Which would all be a-okay, if Terry Goodkind wrote this book in the same style as the others. But he didn't because of that "electrifying new direction" we read about on the dust jacket. Mr. Goodkind wanted to write a thriller! So we have what is either a continuation of the last book or a blatant bloody knock off of the first book of The Sword of Truth with choppy, clipped writing. Examples (the following examples are not only short sentences but entire paragraphs! For emphasis, I suppose): "He looked like a man stepping out of a nightmare." or "The world seemed to rush back in." or "Her voice was as captivating as her eyes." and one more for good measure, "It was as wicked a grin as Alex had ever seen". And this is only the first seven pages! The entire book is like it! It's horrible. It's disheartening.

Don't even get me started on the climax. Honestly, it isn't worth it.

Please, Mr. Goodkind, I implore you; do not change your writing style! Your fall from grace need only be a short one if you go back to fantasy. Hell, I'm not opposed to you beginning a new chapter in The Sword of Truth, but do it right! Oh! But don't let your political ideals and objectivist beliefs seep into the story like you did in Confessor. That was glaringly obvious. Preachy too.


  1. I've never read Terry Goodkind. After this review, if I do feel inclined to give him a try, it won't be with this book! Thanks for the warning. And poor Mr. Sprite...he still has to suffer through it.

    Which Diana Gabaldon are you on. She lost me halfway through book 4.


  2. Mr Goodkind and I had a falling out about half way through the Truth series, when I realized he was heavily spouting Ayn Rand and politics, which I don't appreciate in my dragons and swords and magic and shit. And the end of that series? I mean really? Grr. At least he didn't die before it was over (like some authors.

    Spot, if you enjoy epic fantasy, I highly recommend the Seeker set, all told it was a great read, and Goodkind is terribly imaginative.

    Sadly, I won't be picking up this latest money grab. Thanks for falling on the sword for the rest of us, as the saying goes...

    (and I can't say it enough, read Steven Erikson if you like epic fantasy, he make Jordan, Martin and Goodkind look lazy.

  3. Spot, I'm on book 4, 200 pages in. *fingers crossed*

    Xtreme - I've written the name down. I was going to start the Jordan books (Song of Ice and Fire?) but maybe I'll start your suggestion first.