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August 22nd, 2011, 07:58 AM #30
Well, now that it's the next day and I've had time to mull it over, I suppose I can give my final impressions of the book as well. I finished it up yesterday afternoon and signed in to write up something about it, but honestly I just felt drained and like I didn't have much to say, so I figured I'd give it time to process.
In that time, I decided to pick up the second novel in the SoT series, The Stone of Tears, open it to the approximate middle, find the beginning of a chapter, and give it 50 pages.
I learned two things from that experience: 1) My memory does not serve me incorrectly in assistance to my evaluation of this new detestable entry to the series that is The Omen Machine, because The Stone of Tears was considerably more engaging, entertaining, and well thought-out. The characters seem much more real, both in their speech and mannerisms, the environments are fleshed out with significantly better detail and reasoning, and the overall tone of the book is considerably different (in that The Stone of Tears is capable of drawing an emotion from the reader at all other than disgust in oneself for sacrificing the time necessary to read the book. And, with that... 2) These books appear to be written by completely different people. Honestly they are so different that if selections from each were handed to me, and I were ignorant of anything to do with those selections (be it author, story... anything), I would never believe they were from the same author. It's nearly the equivalent of Goodkind having suffered a stroke someone along the line and deciding to struggle on with his writing career. The Omen Machine, as someone said above, feels decidedly YA. Dialogue is amateur and rushed, without feeling like anything important is ever being said. The plot is not only ridiculous, it's horribly incomplete. It's very obvious that Goodkind (whoever it is that wrote this thing) had an idea. I'll go so far as to call it a complete idea, in that it had a set-up, climax, and resolution. Then, someone decided that it's going to need to be split into multiple books for monetary purposes. Goodkind, unsure what to add to his complete idea, just bulked his book out to certain word count with repeated dialogue in nearly every conversation, 3-4 chapters worth of a child character running through a swamp and describing his fear and the swamp itself over and over again (e.g., "As he pushed forward, the swamp became even foggier than the previous section, and the trees seemed to push down around him even more."), another 3-4 chapters later in the book with a different character going through the exact same swamp... You get the idea. And then, at the end of the book, there is a climactic "battle" that takes up about 2 pages, nearly all of the secondary characters (e.g. the villains, other characters working towards something, etc.) are never mentioned, so it's just assumed they're still keeping on with what they were doing. Even the motivation for the villains actions in the "battle" are never given. All in all, the entirety of this book feels like a quarter of just one of the story threads Goodkind would have running in one of his previous entries to the series.
That said... am I glad I read it? I guess so, if only because that means I'm back at having read 100% of the series, and that means my opinion is well supported. Otherwise, it's really just depressing to see what this series has devolved into, especially after going back to The Stone of Tears and seeing how it used to be. I am glad I read those 50 pages, though, if only to remind myself that it wasn't terrible at the beginning, and my semi-loyalty is justified. I honestly couldn't recommend this book to anyone, though. I'm not that cold-hearted.