Brandon Sanderson continues to impress me with his latest book, The Alloy of Law. He returns to his Mistborn universe (one of my favorite fantasy sett...moreBrandon Sanderson continues to impress me with his latest book, The Alloy of Law. He returns to his Mistborn universe (one of my favorite fantasy settings) and proves that you can both continue a story and create a world that actually progresses. 300 years have passed in the world, and technology has moved forward. This story combines Sanderson's extremely cool magic system, Allomancy and Feruchemy, with guns and trains and the like. The end result is an extremely entertaining read.(less)
**spoiler alert** Overall I was pleasantly surprised with Terry Goodkind's latest Richard and Kahlan offering, although I was hesitant at first, becau...more**spoiler alert** Overall I was pleasantly surprised with Terry Goodkind's latest Richard and Kahlan offering, although I was hesitant at first, because a) I don't like it when authors say, "That's it! That's the end! WAIT! Surprise! More books!" and b) the last several books of the Sword of Truth series left a bad taste in my mouth. But ol' T.G. managed to crank out an enjoyable read with The Omen Machine.
The Good: Terry Goodkind figured some stuff out with this novel. First off, it's a quick read. He managed to cut out a lot of unnecessary fluff, and as a result the story progresses at a fast and exciting pace. There are no longer 50 page diatribes on the perils of Communism, thank the good spirits. And the tired and overdone villain Emperor Jagang is blessedly not part of this world anymore. The bad guys are cool and creepy, and the book makes a good continuation of the series overall.
The Bad: There's a lot that Terry Goodkind _hasn't_ figured out about writing, unfortunately. His characters are still good vs. evil cardboard cutouts. The good guys are paragons of righteousness and the bad guys are darker than the Darthest of Vaders. His good guys often display superhuman abilities -- Richard can swordfight, do magic, figure out riddles and prophecy, draw, carve statues flawlessly, the list goes on and on. Kahlan is beauty personified and wields the power to turn anyone into her slave. Both characters can apparently survive without sleep for weeks at a time, which is displayed in Every.Single.Book. -- yet despite their superpowers they are unbelievably stupid at times, failing to notice things that have been painfully obvious from the very beginning of the book. Seriously, guys, how can you fail to notice that the bad guy, standing over there seething in a cloud of his own evil, is up to no good?
The background action was oftentimes lame enough to make me groan audibly. At the beginning of the book, Richard and friends were inventing a card catalog for the library. Later, Zedd describes the fantasy equivalent of a Magic 8-Ball. Lame.
And there's a lot of the ol' Sword of Truth formula that gets plugged into the book, too. Richard, in his dashing awesomeness, has to figure out why all of the minor characters are suddenly acting shady, even though it's obviously the work of something bad. Kahlan gets separated from Richard and he has to rescue her. Something large and obvious was somehow not mentioned over the last X books, and a particular place on the map that has also been completely overlooked until now is suddenly really important. The shifty-acting populous utterly fail to see that Richard's way is far far better than theirs, until he shows them. (I didn't give any spoilers here, really - i just described every book in the series).
The biggest problem, though, is that the book doesn't end. It's set up for another...oh, hundred books or so. If this bad guy lasts as long as Jagang did, I'm going to go crazy.
That said, I've kept coming back for 13 books. Bring it on, Goodkind. I'll lap it all up again next time.(less)
This book kept my interest, but overall wasn't terribly exciting. It's in the code-breaking thriller genre and similar to Dan Brown novels, but not a...moreThis book kept my interest, but overall wasn't terribly exciting. It's in the code-breaking thriller genre and similar to Dan Brown novels, but not a whole lot happens over the course of this book. It's about a group of students at princeton trying to break the codes and riddles in an old book called the Hypnerotomachia, and while they figure out the book, they don't ever leave college, and nothing all that exciting happens until the last 15 pages. Even then, it's just not very exciting.(less)
First and foremost, this book is amazing. I'm still incredibly impressed with the way Brandon Sanderson is working with the Wheel of Time. He is movin...moreFirst and foremost, this book is amazing. I'm still incredibly impressed with the way Brandon Sanderson is working with the Wheel of Time. He is moving the plot forward by leaps and bounds, and doing so very well.
My gripe with this book is the huge number of typos that somehow made it through to the final version. It's as if there were no editors working on the book. It's understandable that some might have slipped through this 850-page bomber, but there are quite a few.
Anyway, another fantastic installment of the Wheel of Time, and I look forward to the final book.(less)