Margot Mifflin
October 11, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Those expecting another Like Water for Chocolate will be disappointed. The Law of Love, set in futuristic Mexico, is a tangled tale about romance, karma, and the assassination of a candidate — inexplicably named Bush — for president of the planet. Midway through this overly convoluted novel (which comes with a music CD and is illustrated by the Spanish artist Miguelanxo Prado), Laura Esquivel herself seems to lose interest. In a hasty conclusion, she grants every character a generically happy ending, mostly involving marriage and babies. Despite its whimsical charm and mildly intriguing projections about the future, this is a high-sugar, low-concept effort guided less by love than by the law of diminishing returns. C

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