Upon finishing The Omen Machine, one should probably sit back, take a deep breath, give the heart time to stop thundering and let the adrenaline change from a spring thaw rush to a mere trickle. In fact, that's what we who read it need to do to survive.
This novel is the latest in the Sword of Truth Series, and it's main topic is prophecy – its nature, its source, its use, and its influence. Lord Rahl (Richard) and his wife, the Mother Confessor (Kahlan) are celebrating the wedding of Cara (Richard's protector and friend) and Benjamin; while luxuriating in the fact that there is finally peace in the realm. Then it starts. The innuendos. The warnings. The negativity. From all parts of the kingdom there is a rise in prophecies, particularly negative ones. An attempted murder, all in the name of prophecy, even occurs at the wedding reception.
Then there is that feeling – the sense, felt by both Richard and Kahlan – that someone is watching them. They realize, after speaking to those who have received prophetic messages, that responses of those receiving warnings are totally irrational. How can Richard and Kahlan fight an enemy they know nothing about?
When the glass roof of a garden falls in, thus validating one of the prophecies, Richard and Kahlan discover a most peculiar device – a machine in a room with no exits which prints out runes on metal strips. Is it magic? What do the runes mean? By this time, the reader has so much to worry about that doing anything else but reading The Omen Machine is simply not important enough to bother with, including finding food, holding down a job or advancing civilization. What will happen to Richard and Kahlan? What will happen to the people who's lives were destroyed by prophecies? Who is going to read the metal strips?
There are so many concepts to think about in this novel, but who has time to think when we're worried about Jit, the Hedge Maid, Hannis Arc, the vilest villain since Bill Sykes in Oliver Twist, Loretta, the likeable seer/hoarder and poor Henrick who has to deal with much more terror than any kid should ever have to face? What is prophecy and what is manipulation and how do we know the difference? Think about it.
To learn more about this and other books, visit the Boulder City Library at 701 Adams Boulevard, 293-1281, www.bouldercitylibrary.org