Bet you thought that having reached the conclusion of his Sword of Truth Series, Terry Goodkind has moved on to his next fantasy series. Well, you thought wrong. The Law of Nines is just another book in the series. Sort of.
Remember the solution Richard came up with at the end of the series? The one to end the great war between Jagang and Richard? (Don’t read this part if you haven’t!) Well, this book takes place in that alternate reality that Richard created for those who wanted to be free of magic. In other words, our world.
In a not so subtle parallel to Wizards’ First Rule, Alex’s life changes when a beautiful young woman suddenly appears in his life. That young woman, Jax, warns him that he is in danger. It seems that he is part of a prophecy (and we all know how Richard felt about prophecy) that says he will save the magical world. Oh, by the way, Alex is really Alexander Rahl, the last heir of the Rahl family (in either world). After Richard defeated Jagang, the magical world enjoyed years of prosperity but now a new evil has arisen to start where Jagang left off. It is much the same battle: blame magic for all the bad in the world and eliminate it. Jax has come to find Alex and help him fulfill the prophecy because, while she has no magic in his world, she has magic in her own and hopes to save everyone. But she is not the only one to manage to travel between worlds. In fact, she is not even the first. The dark side has been sending people over for years and they have been searching for something that will allow them to conquer their own world, unless Alex and Jax can find a way to stop it.
Now there are many things that brings us back to the series itself:
-an Amnell-Rahl love story that is almost instantaneous
-remember Kahlan’s journey through the underworld to reach Richard in book 1, it’s much like Jax’s journey to reach Alex’s world (down to the fear that is might pull her back in moment)
-Jagang’s war and the current war (complete with over the top preaching) are one and the same
-something with Confessors (though this is only something hinted at since, in Alex’s world Confessor magic is a non-issue)
Despite the predictability and the near mimicry of much of the plot, I loved reading this book. For one, it kind of felt like I was reading about Richard and Kahlan again so the nostalgia was there, while still providing a new backdrop, setting, and story. Goodkind was certainly innovative when it came to how to include magic in a world where magic does not exist and I must say kudos to him for making it plausible and not a poorly explained (or worse yet, unexplained) detail.
It does answer the question of whether or not Kahlan and Richard ever had children (though the question of whether it was an evil boy as Shota predicted remains unresolved), which was a loose end that always bugged me about the series.
The Law of Nines has clearly set itself up for more and I can’t wait to see more. Particularly, I would love to return to the magical world and see how things stand. (It seems that magic has advanced to the point where everyone, not just the magically gifted, have full use of it to some degree or other.) And while Jax and Alex seem to be ready for happily ever after, we know that Goodkind never lets relationships end happily that easily. What could be in store for our newest Romeo and Juliet? (Granted Richard and Kahlan overcame what those star-crossed lovers could not, but you catch my drift…)
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The Law of Nines