Customer Reviews: Forever Odd (Odd Thomas)
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VINE VOICEon January 9, 2006
Note: As you can see from both the polarizing response my review has gotten (25 helpful, 29 unhelpful) and other reviews here, this book is a love it or hate it. Ignoring for a moment that it is an Odd Thomas book and looking at it as simply a thriller, I still believe it isn't a very good novel. The writing is sloppy, the villains insipid. Deus Ex Machina abounds, the ending is melodramatic. But I can over-look most of these if the novel thrills me. Forever Odd didn't. Not once was I fearful, not once did a passage grip me and pull me along. In fact, this is one of the first Koontz books that had me skimming to get the gist of what happened.

For those who don't know whether to read this or not, no one can honestly say. I, for one, did not like this book. Others here did. Personally, if you are going to read it and aren't collecting, I would wait for it to come out on paperback. Its just not up to Koontz's (or Odd's) thriller top. And I don't see why we should support weak work; particularly when Koontz is spitting out books so quickly (Husband is coming out next month) and, in my opinion, sloppily.

Unhelpful votes, here I come!

My Review:
Two years ago, Dean Koontz released Odd Thomas and created his most memorable and lovable character ever. That story fascinated me and the characters pulled me along. It was by far one of the most endearing and tender stories, while at the same time tense and dark. When I heard that Forever Odd was coming out and would be another story centering on Odd, I was over-joyed.

What pulled me along in the first book was Odd's use of language. Koontz did a great job making Odd's voice unique and the first person narrative was perfect. Odd's views, his way of looking at life was a perfect counter point to what was happening on the page. And he was a great imperfect narrator.

Unfortunately, that trend and this book is not the same calibur of Odd Thomas. In fact, the only reason the story fits with Odd Thomas is because of Odd's supernatural ability. The beginning starts out great. It catches the readers up with what's happening in Pico Mundo since the sad events of Odd Thomas. It felt like coming home; Dean Koontz had created such wonderful characters the first time around that seeing them again was a treat. About 3/4s of the book, however, was a silly and insipid thriller taking place in a burned out casino. The casino wasn't scary. The villain's motive was silly, the ghosts weren't spooky. It felt like a rushed job. And, considering how many books Koontz has been publishing recently in a year (another book is coming out in May by the way), I'm wondering if he's been replaced by a machine...I felt no connection to most of the characters, there was too much repartee for no other point than to be "witty," and, the worst offense, the plot was a retread of so many thrillers Koontz has written throughout the years. And, I might add, had done much much better with earlier.

As I continued to read, I found myself flipping through pages, summing up paragraphs and basically skimming my way to the end. The thriller is, at time, intense but it also grows dreary as you realize this is all it is: a thriller dressed up and posing as another life-warming Odd Thomas story. What eventually killed it for me was that Koontz utilizes a Deus Ex Machina, not once but at least twice, and that just soured everything that followed. It just wasn't very exciting.

By the time I got to the ending with its insipid attempt at being another "life-altering" and poignant ending that Odd Thomas has, I was ready to be done. One thing I have noticed with Koontz is that he tends to end his novels with a sappy or "poignant" cathartic moment. In Odd Thomas, it works and affected me in the way Koontz wanted it to. In Velocity it was fairly successful. In this book, I just shook my head.

What really brought this book down to below the average rating for me was expectations. Odd Thomas, the book and character, stands as Koontz's best in my opinion, not only in characterization but also in the three important "P's": plot, pacing and prose. It included characters you genuinely care about, thrills that belied the light tone the imperfect narrator kept, and a plot that kept turning and winding. Koontz took an idea that was tired after Sixth Sense and created a world that jumped off the pages with heart and panache. Then to turn around and release this book is, to me, a mockery of Odd Thomas. Nothing in this book worked as intended for me. From the lazy thriller aspect to the ending that tried to be a "twist" like the first book's, nothing worked. The ending was a lip curling attempt to trick the readers; whereas the first book's ending genuinely worked to provoke catharsis, this one made me shake my head. I was so excited and thrilled to see another Odd Thomas book and then was sorely disappointed at what was given. Here's hoping that if Koontz does write a next book, he will keep more in line with the first instead of dressing up a thriller in tones of Odd.

Not only not up to the first book, Forever Odd isn't up to par with most of Koontz's thrillers.
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on January 25, 2006
Odd Thomas was perhaps one of my favorite lead characters in ANY recent book I've listen to (Yes, I'm an audio book fan). The first book was awesome. You really got to know Odd and cared for him and what happens to his friends. The fact that Odd sees ghosts and more hilariously, talks to Elvis, was very compelling to hear. Great concept. But......and I hesitate to say this, only because I know people don't like to hear that one of their favorite authors has dropped a stink bomb...........but Dean has. And boy, does this one stink. ALL the things I loved about the first book (his relationship with Stormy, the black shadowy ghost things (can't remember their names) that come out when bad things are going to happen, his many interactions with Elvis, bumping into dead people......etc) are ALMOST non existent in Forever Odd. It's like he decided to take everything that was great in the first book and throw it out the window. Which really @#$%^ me off, because the first book was so damn good.

In Forever Odd, you just don't CARE what happens to Odd or Dr. Jessup's son he's trying to save. Which leads me to another problem with the book. Dr. Jessup's son has brittle bone disease and has had it most of his life. Dean goes on to give several examples of how Danny broke bones throughout his life. One of which was when he broke his wrist by flicking playing cards. Now, I don't doubt that that can happen, but if he's THAT brittle, how could he have been kidnapped? I mean, the struggle alone would have crushed him.

What happens in the end to the kidnapper is ridiculous and completely uneventful. But what happens to Odd and where he ends up is even WORSE.

I know that many people will most likely click on the button that says this review was not very helpful. But I truly believe they will do that because it isn't a favorable review. No one likes to hear that a book they've been looking forward to, isn't good. And this one isn't. As they say "It is what it is.........." Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but don't shoot the messenger, please.

Will I buy the next Odd Thomas...........probably. But Dean better bring back Elvis and a compelling plot like the first book, or...................Elvis will most certainly be LEAVING THE BUILDING for this reader.
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on December 6, 2006
If you love Odd Thomas I guess you'll have to buy this book - but I warn you - don't bother!

Suddenly Odd has a best friend we never heard of in the entire first book, whose life he has to save from some meglo-maniacal new-age wanna-be witch lady protected by psuedo-zombie male followers, all holed up in an old Indian casino. For some reason Odd must transverse an underground drainage system to get there, which takes up half the book, why Koontz thought this would be interesting is unknown to me. Once he gets there his psychic magnetism and numerous failures of architecture thwart his rescue attempts. Unfortunately this creates little more suspense than does 100 pages of running through drainage tunnels.

This sequel totally lacks the gut-wrenching twists of fate that defined Odd Thomas, and all of the humor that made that book so wonderfully readable. The plot limps along to a boring climax involving a villain we are never frightened by. I truly enjoyed Odd Thomas, and I want more of this eccentric, haunted character, but please, let's give him something half way interesting to do!

I hope the next chapter in this series, Brother Odd, will prove much more entertaining.
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on February 28, 2006
Koontz could be considered to writing what Kinkade is to art. He is formulaic in all of his writings that I've ever read. There's always a girl in trouble and there's always someone there to rescue her. Despite this I still enjoy reading his novels because every so often something he writes really grabs me. Odd Thomas was that book, and character, as of late.

When I originally read Odd Thomas I was drawn into the book by the central character. But it wasn't only the central character, Odd, but the assortment of secondary players that also drew me into the story. By the time I finished reading the book I felt I should have paid more for it.

Sadly, Forever Odd is not the first book. I don't like to draw comparisons (OK, I really do but I'm trying to make this even more believable) but I think this book is suffering the Matrix complex. You know? The complex where sequels don't really fit that well to the original seemingly pushed out quickly and with not much regard for the first happening.

I wanted to love this book, desperately so. I wanted this to be something other than the sophomoric slump for Odd. But it wasn't. The story's side characters aren't as capturing this time and the central plot isn't really worth the character that was originally written.

If you're a die hard Koontz fan then this book is for you. If you're a mediocre fan that was hoping for the second coming of Odd Thomas this isn't the book for you.
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For the second time, Koontz has taken a character from one of his novels and featured that same character in a second book--here, it is the title character from 2003's Odd Thomas. Like the young boy in the movie The Sixth Sense, Odd sees dead people. Often, he is surprised when someone whom he thought was still alive and kicking--in this case, his friend and neighbor, Dr. Jessup--silently and mysteriously shows up in his apartment, clearly no longer of this world.

Forever Odd details Odd's personal quest to rescue Dr. Jessup's son, his childhood friend, Danny. Fearing that police involvement would result in Danny's immediate death, Odd decides to go it alone, relying solely on his own supernatural resources for guidance. Thus much of the novel is devoid of dialogue, instead featuring Odd's internal conversations. Here Koontz sometimes has the tendency to wax poetic, lapsing into such frequent comments about human nature that I found this to be a bit more annoying than in his previous works. Still, Koontz retains his uniquely engaging storytelling style, and although I think this is far from his best work, his fans are likely to find something of value here. Overall rating: three and a half stars (rounded up to four for amazon).
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on January 8, 2006
First of, I loved "Odd Thomas", and Odd was set up as a very interesting character.

As soon as I knew Forever Odd was coming out, I got really excited, asking my local bookshop when it would arrive.

I started reading it and quickly got very disappointed.

There are some nice scenes, and it was great to catch up with some of the characters from "Odd Thomas", but there was soo much padding in this book.

I kept thinking, ok interesting initial idea, but what is the story really going to be about, then 2/3 of the way through the book I was thinking, "is this it?".

I expected so much more, its like getting a supreme pizza, opening the box and finding that while it is the same size as the previous pizza your ordered, its practically all dough and they pretty much forgot the toppings.

Dean, you have to better.
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on December 10, 2006
I must be the odd one out; but, I loved this book. Forever Odd was fun to read; that's my barometer of a good book. Forever Odd was nonstop suspense in the most interesting settings: the underground waterway, the old hotel, the crawl spaces under the building. I could picture Odd in all of these scenarios and I liked seeing how he planned to escape from each dangerous predicament he encountered. The villains were more believable to me than that in Brother Odd. We can all relate on some level to the selfishness and materialism that is Datura.

Maybe most readers want a book with more dialogue, more philosophy, more long, drawn-out boring conversations. Forever Odd is not the book for these people. This book is for someone who wants fun escapist fiction in which Odd faces perilous situations and uses his wits to come out on top. While not as epic as Odd Thomas, this was a worthy addition to the series.
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on November 29, 2005
First off, the obvious disclaimer: if you haven't read "Odd Thomas," you should read it first, because this book will make more sense if you do, and because this book gives away much of the plot of "Odd Thomas."

The best thing about "Forever Odd" is that, by and large, it moves quickly; it can be read in one (somewhat longish) sitting. It's a well-told scary story.

In a larger sense, though, the word "story" sums up my reservations about this book: especially given the events in "Odd Thomas," this book doesn't pack quite the emotional wallop that the first book does. That isn't to say that there are no surprises in this book (there's a big one near the end), but that, all in all, I just wish there had been a bit more substance. [To give one minor example, while Koontz tells us that the villain's name is probably one not given at birth, he never says *how* the villain came to choose that name. (For those who are curious, I've put a note in the forum below.)]

So, if you're a Koontz fan (or a fan of Odd), will you enjoy this book? Almost certainly. Would I read a third installment in this series? Yes.
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on May 17, 2006
This book fell horribly short of the first (Odd Thomas). Koontz is a great writer but in this sequal he was (IMO) looking to capitalize on the success of the first and dumped this one on the fans. His first book kept me captured and I couldn't wait to finish it.. this one was predictable and made me NOT want to finish it. The lack of any real hook for the readers, the lack of any investment (on Koontz part) in the secondary characters just proves that his heart was not in this book.

Don't buy this book ...unless you can pick it up at a garage sale for 50 cents.
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on August 12, 2015
I thought this was a great expansion into the world of Odd Thomas. I seen so many hateful reviews for this book that I was hesitant to continue the series. I decided to go on to purchase this book and Brother Odd despite seeing all the hate for I was drawn into wanting to know more of Odd's world. I was full of suspense, and dread throughout this whole book. I was worried for Odd, and Danny wondering how this will all play out. Danny reminds of friends whom when young the world was our oyster, but kind of drifted apart when we got older. It is explained in the book how Danny's condition is throughout his life, and when he got older it was not as severe so I do not why this was such a negative point to some readers. Even though some moments I expected to come, and the captures were not fully developed I still despised, and wished to see them pay for the wrongs they were doing. To me one the best aspect of the captures development was being able to dive deeper into the supernatural as we got to learn, and see some of things that expand Odd Thomas as a character through these interactions. I felt empathy for ghosts in the casino, and until I read the last page could not fully figure out Andre and Robert of what they truly were. The suspense, and the further character development, and the overall development of this world has me glad I already bought Brother Odd for I can not wait to dive deeper into this world.
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