Saturday, September 22, 2012

Review of Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz

I find Dean Koontz's books either hit or miss. Some of them, like Seize the Night and From the Corner of His Eye, are beautiful, well-told stories, with great characters and intriguing premises. Others, such as Breathless, are rambling and inconclusive. It may have an interesting concept, but it never really develops into a story.

Odd Thomas is one of his better series. Odd is a polite young man and sometime fry-cook who sees dead people. The silent, lingering dead come to him for help, and he does his best to do so. He has a few other talents, such as the occasional vision or prophetic dream, and a psychic magnetism that helps him find people that he's looking for, but he'd always say that his best talent is fry cooking.

After the death of his girlfriend, Odd left his hometown of Pico Mundo, where the authorities knew and relied upon his abilities, to find his way in the wider world. He's faced down enemies from the evil to the misguided, from terrorists to the mystic, and he's killed when necessary. Now he's come to the mansion at Roseland, where there are no roses, in the company of Annamarie, a mysterious, pregnant young woman for whom he's the guardian.

All is not well at Roseland. Time is inconsistent there, and someone, maybe everyone there, is involved in something very evil. And that's just how the book starts.

Like all the Odd novels, the book's strength lies in its titular character, a gentle, humble soul whose strong belief in the power of good, and the necessity to fight evil, drives him to take on incredible dangers. As I read books primarily for the characters, and as Odd is a very strong one, I imagine that I'd enjoy pretty much any Odd Thomas novel. Odd's certainly been around a while, but that's given him more maturity, coupled with a certain moroseness, that's given him more depth. Unlike some long lived characters, he hasn't yet played out.

The actual adventure is a little more science fiction than most of what he does, although not as much as Brother Odd. But it's more old school, H. G. Wells science fiction, which I think works better with Odd. It leant the book a stronger air of mystery than a standard terrorism plot, and I certainly enjoyed it.

Overall, it was a good Odd Thomas novel, and I certainly enjoyed it, but if you're looking for answers to the mystery of Annamaria, you're still going to have to wait.

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