Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Omen Machine

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Cryptic Messages
From the beginning, with Wizard’s First Rule, Terry Goodkind set a new standard for epic storytelling. Now he returns with a powerful new tale from Richard and Kahlan’s world.An accident leads to the discovery of a mysterious machine that has rested hidden deep underground for countless millennia. The machine awakens to begin issuing a series of increasingly alarming, if minor, omens. The omens turn out to be astonishingly accurate, and ever more ominous. As Zedd tries to figure out how to destroy the sinister device, the machine issues a cataclysmic omen involving Richard and Kahlan, foretelling an impending event beyond anyone’s ability to stop. As catastrophe approaches, the machine then reveals that it is within its power to withdraw the omen . . . In exchange for an impossible demand.

Terry Goodkind has stood as one of my favorite authors for years. His Sword of Truth series still holds its place firmly as my favorite fantasy series. The magic of Goodkind's world is the believability and the relevance of the message in his stories. Each book carried more than just a fantasy story that was entertaining. I was fascinated with the idea of a contemporary author actually creating a world and writing philosophical novels in a readable form.

I haven't been too impressed with Goodkind's work lately. His Law of Nines was a terrible disappointment. It was supposed to be a departure from his fantasy genre, but it turned out to be tied to his Sword of Truth series in very pathetic and hokey ways. I was hoping that, with a return to the characters and the world that I had grown to love, Goodkind would redeem himself. I wish I could say that he did, but he did not. For me, this was a weak installment in an otherwise amazing series that he probably should just leave alone.

About 95% of the novel the characters spend deliberating and trying to figure out what is going on. They seem so bewildered and shocked when they shouldn't. The characters I came to love would have acted. Think about it: they had just made it through this huge war with Jagang, they are seasoned warriors and wizards. They should not be shocked that the peace would end so soon. Instead, they should have been like "Bring it. Hannis Arc, you've got nothing on Jagang and Darken Rahl." Really, all Hannis Arc has on those two is that he looks more evil.

Richard has pansied up in this novel. There's maybe one or two scenes (I specifically remember one, but I vaguely remember another one...) where Richard actually acts like the Richard I remember. He is a do-er. He thinks and then he acts. This book Richard just THINKS. And he's just a victim. By the end of the novel I don't feel like he learned anything or that he really ever figured anything out. These omens keep spinning out of control, and I wanted him to kick some ass, but he doesn't.

I found myself skimming through the last 3/4 of the novel because the writing was lazy. The characters became stereotypical and forced into molds. There's a scene where they go down into the room where the Omen Machine is and Goodkind lists them in order of the way they go down the stairs as if I care. And I kept wondering why ALL of them had to be there. It just seemed empty and void of really any point to it. I kept wanting to reach through the pages and shake them all.

The only reason I kept reading was because I love the characters, but this book even made me sick of them because they weren't acting like the ones I came to love. These were just carbon copies of them. I think Goodkind is tired of the world, but he knows a Richard/Kahlan novel will sell. Personally, I think he should have left it well enough alone and created something new and different. Redeemable scene could possibly have been the one with the Hedge Maid and Henrik and Hannis Arc, but even that was mediocre. By the end of the novel I still didn't understand what the hell a Hedge Maid even was, and what Hannis Arc's hold was on her. Why was she doing his bidding if she was so scary herself? What was in it for her? SO CONFUSED!!!

Will I read more Goodkind? Most likely. I will just be more hesitant to read it even if it is a Richard/Kahlan novel. I gave it 2.5 out of 5 Cryptic Messages.

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