The Omen Machine [US][UK] marks Goodkind’s return to the Sword ofTruth storyline as well a retreat from his foray into the ‘thriller’ genre (seemy review of The Law of Nines). Rabid fans beware. What follows will set you frothing at the mouth.
The Omen Machine is a dull reflection of Goodkind’s earlier Sword of Truth novels. It lacks the fine prose and intricate detail most of his previous works possess.“Dull reflection” might even be too much of a compliment. The Omen Machine is overly mechanical and the plot so linear it makes you cringe. What was once a convincingly plotted storyline with just the right amount of unpredictable twists and turns hasbecome a prime example of linear predictability.
The new crop of villains remains shallow and uninteresting.What little mystery surrounds them is just barely sufficient to keep you turning the pages. They are more elements of convenience than anything else. Richard, after all, has to triumph over someone! It becomes evidently clearfrom the structure of the Omen Machine that the next book will complete this post Sword of Truth duocalypse currently know as “A Richard and Kahlan novel.”
Contenting itself with a regurgitation of the same basicstory line, a tried and true bestseller technique for Goodkind, is the novel’s only saving grace. Fans will find themselves, once again, assaulted by the lovestory between Richard and Kahlan. Fans will also enjoy the excruciating detail with which library science is explained. What a fascinating subject! Last but not least, and this is for the hardcore Goodkindites out there, fans will be left amazed at how noble and smart Richard is.
No review of a Sword of Truth novel would be complete without a proper gripe about Goodkind’s awesome powers of characterization. Yes, I know, this has been chewed to death already, but just a quick little comment and I will let you go. So. I submit to you that the only reason Richard and Kahlan appear so noble and avant-garde is because every other character iscompletely devoid of common sense. Essentially, everyone besides our two infinitely loved protagonists is an idiot. What I mean by this is that they are truly stupid. These are the type of people who would jump into a volcano if you told them not to. No particular reason needed. Which is essentially what happens.
I haven’t said anything substantive about the novel becausethere really isn’t much to say. You can guess at the general pace, story arch and villains if you have read the previous books. That isn’t to say you will know exactly who they are, but you can definitely guess that they are hell bent on destroying Richard because:
a. they hate him personally for some past action
b. they hate his philosophy because theirs is better
c. they hate the fact that he is blocking the road to world domination
d. prophecy says they have to kill him/manipulate him
e. they want his power
Mix and match any three of the above and you have every villain in the series.
Ok. I am done. With this review and this author both. I gave this a shot with the hope that Goodkind would redeem himself. I was wrong. Let me know what happens.