Benjamin Plume's Reviews > The Omen Machine

The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind
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Oct 23, 2011

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Read in October, 2011

This book serves as a sort of object lesson in why fantasy epics usually end when the heroes "win" without dwelling for very long on the loose ends. While the story was an entirely new threat, it was hard to take seriously after all of the long-standing villains were no longer in the picture. I did still enjoy it, but there just wasn't the same sense of immediacy. The compelling struggle on behalf of humanity was really absent.

I suppose the point of all that rambling is that recreating the feel of the Sword of Truth series was a tall task. It's hard to blame Goodkind for falling short of that, except that it feels somewhat lazy. This would have worked much better had he created a new cast of characters (and perhaps even a new world) to move through this plot. However, he - and his fans - are so in love with his two principal characters that that, too, may have been a difficult sell.

The book also felt sort of unfinished. I'll avoid spoilers, but it seems obvious that there will be a follow-up, and since this one was so much shorter than his other novels I am left to wonder why Goodkind didn't finish the story here. Even in this shorter format, the story seemed to contain a whole lot of unnecessary conversation about what might be happening in between the events. About two thirds of the novel felt like exposition, which is somewhat perplexing in a well-established world with a broad and deep cast of characters. Then again, I suppose there was a lot of information that needed to be conveyed about the landscape of the world following the events of Confessor.

Now, with all those negatives, how did I still enjoy the book? Richard was still Richard, Kahlan was still Kahlan, etc. I also kept feeling the potential for new beginnings. What new hardships may come for Richard, Kahlan, and their world? If this story continues I could see it working in much the way the second volume onward worked as a continuation of Wizard's First Rule. The newly introduced villain is certainly interesting, and the book does serve as a reminder that life doesn't end simply because one has achieved a major triumph. It also seems to be making the point that one can never know everything about one's world, or even one's immediate surroundings.

I eagerly await Terry Goodkind's next novel, and I do hope that he continues the story from this one's final page. However, I remain skeptical that this new set of adventures can come close to matching the feel of the prior installments.
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