law-of-ninesCW got me interested in Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth Series which concluded a couple years ago after eleven books. When we heard that Goodkind was going to be writing a new book not related to the Sword of Truth world, we were excited but apprehensive. Turns out we didn’t even need to be: The Law of Nines is related to the Sword of Truth story.

(Let me make my point before I get into what I thought of the book and story.) Here is a quote from Terry Goodkind in a letter to the fans:

I’m tremendously excited to at last have the opportunity to write stories set in this, our world, in the here and now. … It has always been my desire to write contemporary novels and many of you have told me how eager you are for those kinds of stories. That time has come. I am confident that you will recognize my unique voice in the new books and that you will feel right at home. Except, perhaps, you may now be afraid to turn out the lights when you go to bed.

I am not disappointed by the book but I feel that it was miscategorized by being called “fiction – thriller”. There was a large element of fantasy once the main female character was introduced, despite being set in the present of our world. Because you suspend belief with a fantasy novel, you don’t get the same reaction as a pure thriller. Overall the book was entertaining and enjoyable and you don’t need to have read the Sword of Truth series to follow.

The ‘Law of Nines’ is a prophecy revolving around Alexander Rahl, who has the same last name as the main character from Sword of Truth, Richard. As Alex learns after meeting Jax, this is no coincidence. Jax had come from a different world (where there is magic) because the Law of Nines states that someone not from their world will save it. Jax explains that in her world the current ruler is trying to convince everyone to undergo a procedure to rid themselves of magic. For them, magic is an everyday aid (likened to technology for Alex to comprehend) — without magic they cannot communicate, build houses, make food, or any other simple tasks that technological developments allow in our world.

While the premise for the book does take place in our world, as we learn more about Jax and the history of her world, it just pulls us closer and closer to the Sword of Truth world. For readers who are unfamiliar with the Sword of Truth books, this is fine. This book can stand alone and explains just enough for you to understand; however, for Sword of Truth fans, it just raises more and more questions about what happened.

Of course, I had to talk to CW about the book (he read it before me). He agreed with me that it was a bit of a miscategorization because Goodkind ended up writing about the Sword of Truth world anyway. I consider CW my Sword of Truth guru — as I was reading the eleven-book series, I would forget details and characters and events. CW was always there with the answers and a quick recap to refresh my memory. He’s read the Sword of Truth books several times each and As a hardcore fan, CW felt it was a bit of a tease with all the throw-away comments Jax made about her world. In response to my question: “Did you like it?” CW replied, “it was odd” (neither positive nor negative “odd”).

In discussing it at length, CW and I found several similarities and parallels between The Law of Nines and Sword of Truth, which is probably to be expected with an author’s body of work. Overall I have a feeling we’ll be reading the sequel (coming out September 2010) but agree that this isn’t Goodkind’s top work.

Full disclosure: I received this book for review from the publisher. CW read it first as I was reading something else when it first arrived.