Book Review – “The Omen Machine” by Terry Goodkind

The Omen Machine

I love Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series.  The series is intriguing and the characters are compelling.  Of all the fantasy novels I have read, the characters Richard and Kahlan in the Sword of Truth series are the ones I love the most.  So, when “The Oman Machine” came out and said that it was a Richard and Kahlan novel, I purchased it right away and in advance.

The day “The Omen Machine” arrived in the mail I read it cover to cover that same day.  There are two reasons it took me one day to read.  First, I couldn’t put it down.  The second is because the book was much shorter than all the other books by Terry Goodkind that I have read.

Be warned, if you haven’t read the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, you probably shouldn’t read “The Omen Machine”.  The Sword of Truth series begins with “Wizard’s First Rule” and continues with ten more books with the last book being “Confessor”.  In this series, you follow the journey that Richard takes from being a woods guide to Master of D’Hara.  Each book begins with a mystery and ends with a conclusion, but the series as a whole consists of Richard and Kahlan fighting against evil – ie Darken Rahl, the Keeper, then Jagang.  As I read each of these books in the series, I got to know not only Richard and Kahlan, but also Zed, Cara, Verna, Nicci, Nathan, and more.  If you have never read the series and start by reading “The Omen Machine”, you will not get to know these characters.  You will read about them in “The Omen Machine” but you will not really know who they are and you will be left wanting.

“The Omen Machine” brings back many of the same characters, including of course, Richard and Kahlan.  After the final defeat of Jagang, the world is coming to an unprecedented peace.  But that peace is not to last.  Things begin to go awry when a mysterious machine below the palace comes to life.  The omen machine at first appears to be just that – a machine.  But how is it generating its prophecies?  And how does it influence other people in the palace to give the same prophecies?  It doesn’t take long for Richard to suspect that someone is controlling the machine.  The mystery remains as to how.  And another mystery arises when Richard suspects that the omen machine is more than just a piece of equipment – it is a living entity and it is trying to help him.

The machine’s prophecies are disruptive.  People in D’Hara begin to react to the prophecies in an extreme way.  Richard and Kahlan’s rule is at stake and so is the peace of the entire kingdom.  To stop the machine, they must find out who is controlling it and find a way to stop them.

Although I enjoyed the story, I was disappointed with its shortness.  I don’t like to be able to read a book in one day.  I like to get engrossed, put it aside, then reflect.  An adventure should last.  I want to put it aside and know that I have something to look forward to the next time I pick it up.  But “The Omen Machine” moved much too quickly.

Another thing I didn’t like about the novel is that nothing in the book title or synopsis told me that this book was to also be an epic series.  I read it thinking it was a stand-alone book.  And it was a big letdown when I got to the end to find out that it wasn’t.  Why the big secret?  Would it really have hurt Terry Goodkind to tell us that it was Book One of the Whatever?  I would have bought it and read it anyway.  But because it didn’t tell me it was the first book in a series, I felt cheated.  This and the shortness of the book is almost enough to make me not read the next book – almost.  I will read the next one and the one after that.  I love the characters too much to let them go and I sincerely hope that the next book is more fulfilling.


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