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The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind

The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind
3.5
Book Name: The Omen Machine
Author: Terry Goodkind
Publisher(s): Tor
Formatt: Hardcover / Paperback / Audio Book / eBook
Genre(s): Fantasy
Release Date: August 16, 2011

Terry Goodkind brought readers into the world of the Sword of Truth in 1994. Over the series of 11 novels, the reader is taken on a journey of magic and war, love and deceit, beauty and death. When Confessor released in September of 2008, the readers were told that it would be the last book in the Sword of Truth series. For some of us, it was the end of an era: Personally, I discovered the Sword of Truth series in 2001, and had read each book at least twice when Confessor was released. The day I finished Confessor was a sad day indeed.

In April of 2010, an announcement went live on Goodkind’s site that there would be a new novel about Richard and Kahlan (the main characters in the Sword of Truth series). The wait for the last year has been excruciating, but here we are: On the other side of the release date that so many have been waiting for.

The Omen Machine picks up the day after Confessor ends, which was an interesting revelation for me. There was absolutely no time lapse between the ending of the last book, and the beginning of this one; it was great to think that one hadn’t missed anything crucial while they had been “away.”

One thing I noticed right away while reading this book is that everyone, except for the main characters, seems to be struck with a sudden obsession with prophecy. In the other novels, it was an important component of the series but no one seemed to pay it much mind. Richard and Kahlan certainly didn’t. In this book, however, there were random people spouting off prophecy as though they were a fountain spouting water. The secondary characters become obsessed with knowing about how prophecy is going to affect their future, and direct this particular brand of crazy at Richard and Kahlan.

Additionally, new characters and places are brought into this novel; places, people and classes of magic users that had never been mentioned in the course of the series, ever. Granted they fit well enough with the main storyline (an example being that we meet one of the people who gave Darken Rahl one of the boxes of Orden that he had before Wizards First Rule began), but it was shocking to be introduced to completely new characters and locations that had never been hinted at before.

One thing I enjoyed was watching how the prophecies that played such a large part in this novel came to fruition. It was interesting to see how fragments of prophecy (such as “Fire” and “Pawn takes Queen”) were woven through the story. There were a few that, when I read them initially, I didn’t understand how they were going to come into play. As the story continued, and the prophecies unfurled, it was interesting to see it all come together.

I hadn’t anticipated for this book to be the beginning of another series of stories about Richard and Kahlan, but the ending leads me to believe that there will be at least one more book while we deal with the newly introduced evil threatening the D’haran Empire. While I’m excited to think that there will be more stories about Richard, Kahlan, and all the rest, I worry that this storyline has become more about making money than telling the story.

Overall, this definitely wasn’t my favorite book out of the Sword of Truth series (that place is held by Faith of the Fallen), but I did enjoy it. The introduction of new character, places, and creatures were interesting and kept me engaged, even if they were a little disorienting at first. I definitely recommend this to anyone who has read the rest of the series; if you’re a newcomer, I suggest you start back at the beginning with Wizard’s First Rule.

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Rating: 6.1/10 (7 votes cast)
The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind, 6.1 out of 10 based on 7 ratings
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4 Comments

  1. Not-So-Bloody-Nine says:

    Not to start off some controversy here but isn’t the Sword of Truth series supposed to be… um, really bad..?

    • Kit says:

      That’s more of a subjective line of thought, in my opinion. I like the Sword of Truth novels; some people don’t. It’s all a matter of opinion. If you haven’t read them, then I suggest giving them a try before you make a judgment.

  2. Great review, Kit. To me, the Omen Machine feels so different from the Sword of Truth series, and I’ve been trying to figure out why that is. Perhaps it’s the inclusion of technology (arcane though it is) with the omen machine, or perhaps it was that all of conflicts that defined that series were resolved. I still liked The Omen Machine and am looking forward to the followup.

    Good choice on the favorite. Faith of the Fallen is one of my all-time favorite books, fantasy or otherwise.

  3. Shadowj says:

    I just finished reading “The First Confessor”. This is my review:

    Where do I begin?

    Like most Terry Goodkind fans, I was really looking forward to reading this story. I’ve read Goodkind’s work since I was a teenager and enjoyed his latest installment, “The Omen Machine”. So my expectations for this book were fairly high. Afterall, in my own opinion, Goodkind always delivers a good story.

    This book just didn’t cut it. There are so many reasons to justify this that I don’t really know where to begin. I completely understand Goodkind’s desire to publish his own book his own way; it’s a smart move for such an established and well-known author. But I think Goodkind is suffering from the George Lucas phenomenon – there is no one around who will say “no” to his ideas. Therefore, Goodkind was given a free creative license to do what he wanted and how he wanted to do it (without those pesky publishers to tell him differently).

    But this fact is why the book ultimately fails to impress.

    The plot, first and foremost, is unflattering. It is very predictable and just solidified conclusions that long-time fans of the Sword of Truth series had already strung together by reading the fist twelve or so novels. But more importantly, there are critical errors within the text that aren’t easy to ignore. For example, I came across two separate instances where “time” was inconsistent. Magda, on the bridge, greeted Sadlar “good morning”, but later had to hurry off before it got “too dark”. That’s one long conversation. Another scene involved a lantern light being flashed in the faces of some guards, catching them unawares. However, the very next chapter, Magda and co. are running through a forest, guided by the moonlight. These inconsistencies grated at me as I was reading.

    The pivotal moments in the plot fall flat. Most of the time I was merely grunting because I knew what was about to happen. However, the plot did shed some light of the Sword of Truth and the first Confessor. But it all seemed a bit artificial, designed to fit around the SOT series, rather than the other way around.

    The characters are unimpressive too. Magda is Khalan; Merritt is Richard; Quinn is Zedd. There is no real fluctuation of personalities this time round. I was really disappointed that I wasn’t able to experience an entire new culture, since it is set over a thousand years in the past. Everything seems like it could have happened the day before Richard’s story began.

    Another irking feature was the frequency in which “things” were stated, over and over again. I reached 45% of the ebook and suddenly thought to myself: “why didn’t the book start here?” It just didn’t make sense. Furthermore, I felt like I was being spoon-fed concepts the entire time; like Goodkind was assuming I was stupid and couldn’t make my own connections. I’m talking about lines that look like this: “Magda knew she had to run, because saving *** was essential”. I found myself thinking: “Um… yeah. That’s pretty obvious.” The book is littered with these lines.

    I could go on and on, but I’ll never be able to sum up my disappointment in one review. This book, unfortunately, may have spoiled my reading of future Goodkind novels.

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