on August 1, 2012
I am an avid Dean Koontz fan and have been for many years. The Watchers, The Taking and Odd Thomas and Brother Odd have been my favorites. It must be hard for Mr Koontz to balance his own creative needs and the overwhelming cries from his fans (AND publisher, I'm sure!) for more, more, more. And his publishing of graphic novels, web episodes, etc. must take a lot of his time as well. That's the only reason I can see for Odd Apocalypse having taken so long to publish after the fourth in the series, Odd Hours. I read the Odd Interlude sessions and Odd Apocalypse on my Kindle. If you ask me details about the first book, Odd Thomas, I can wax eloquent...but I can not tell you much about Odd Apocalpyse, although I just finished it 30 minutes ago. I don't really care if Odd and Annamarie are heading toward some big "tada!" in the sky. I DO care about what's happening in Pico Mundo. To Ozzie and Sheriff Porter and the folks at the grill (and where are the bodachs???). I miss the ghosts (even the ghost dog Boo just hangs around the edges now). In the last couple of books Odd doesn't even let those people who love him back at home know that he's okay....Odd needs to FOCUS, connect back with his solid Pico Mundo roots, and quit floating around the fog of vagueness that is Annamaria.
First of all, don't read this unless you've read the others in the series. Period. Have you read them? No? Go away and read them first. I might spoil something for you. This is an awesome series but you have to start at the beginning.
Everyone else read the others in the series? Good. Here goes...
This is a much darker Odd Thomas novel than the others, and the last one (Odd Hours) was pretty shadowy. This book takes place over a day at an estate in California. It's a couple days later than the events in Odd Hours, a point Odd makes a couple of times. Annamaria is back, you know the pregnant, enigmatic girl from Odd Hours. She is still enigmatic, and though she has a strong part, it's a small one. Boo, the ghost dog is also back, but he's with Annamaria most of the time.
Though this is dark, Odd still has a way with words. "...nor in the sense that a man is insane who wears a colander as a hat to keep the CIA from controlling his mind. I dislike hats of any kind, though I have nothing against colanders properly used." - page 9. Odd is sad and has had horrible things happen to him, but here's why I like him: "Yet everywhere I look, I find great beauty in this battlefield, and grace and the promise of joy." - page 15. Through the darkness and horror, Odd remains fundamentally decent and good. And that's what makes this series so good. There IS horror in Odd's life, but his attitude toward it makes it bearable, both for himself and for his readers. You want to take the journey along with Odd, no matter what turns it makes, because you care about him. There aren't a whole lot of characters I truly care about.
While the writing is good as always, this almost didn't seem like an Odd Thomas novel. It's almost like it's an aside to the longer journey that Odd is on. It almost takes place out of the timeline, which is kind of ironic once you read the novel. The people Odd cares about are either not there or barely there. Most of his interactions take place with the estate and the people who live there. There is A LOT of philosophical musing on Odd's part. More so than the other books.
I gave this 4 stars because of the writing and the character, but the story was very... well I can't think of another word to describe it than "dark", which is not normally my thing. This novel is seriously midnight without stars or moon kind of dark, but Odd is a shining beacon. I am looking forward to the conclusion (will it be 6 books or 7?) I've read all 3 graphic novels and am looking forward to the Odd Interlude Kindle shorts that are coming in June. I wish I had received an advance Kindle reading copy instead of paper because there are so many quotes I wanted to clip. And a couple of words to look up. For a fry cook, Odd has a marvelous vocabulary.
This series is highly recommended.
If half-loosed chaos is what you're looking for in an exciting summer read - this is it. Koontz latest installment of his popular Odd Thomas series, Odd Apocalypse, is one of the best. Odd has hooked up with Annamaria again, the Lady of the Bell, who talks in riddles. The couple run into Noah Wolflaw, the current owner of Roseland, an estate built in the early 20's by Constantine Cloyce as his retreat and man cave. Some say that Cloyce dabbled in the occult and from the start we see that this property holds more than meets the eye.
Odd Thomas (so named due to the dropping of the "T" from Todd on his birth certificate) and Annamaria are invited to Roseland and are housed in a stone tower located in a eucalyptus grove on the compound and told to keep the doors locked and never to venture outdoors at night. They share the dwelling with a living Golden Retriever and Boo, the white German-shepherd ghost dog who has befriended Odd in previous novels. Odd, you must understand, can see the dead. On one of his illicit forays into the night he meets a spectral woman in white astride a black stallion who points down at him with a message about a young son she left behind.
Odd further explores the grounds finding weird lazy eights, made of copper, embedded in the mausoleum, the stable and atop the fortress-like stone wall that surrounds the compound. He meets the cast of characters who dwell in one capacity or another at the estate. Aside from the current owner we meet Chef Shilshom the corpulent cook who aside from being a gifted kitchen pundit demonstrations his main talent is "not" answering questions in a very evasive manner. In the immaculate stables with their stained glass lazy eight décor and strange out of sync time continuum, Odd meets gigantic Jack Keister, who may or may not be a property guard. At first meeting Jack abruptly leaves the barn like the White Rabbit of Alice fame repeating the words "late, late, late".
There is Henry Lolam, the poetry reading Ufologist who mans the guard shack and Paulie Sempiterno, the chief of Roseland security who roams the property in his pimped up golf cart. All of Koontz's characters in the tale are well written, interesting and keep the story moving along at a jack rabbit pace. Odd's interactions with each personality gives Dean a chance to weave his words in that now famous and charming Koontz way. I often have to stop reading and just smile at the way he's comically turnes a phrase.
Roseland, as an estate, is described as "No place in my experience has ever been more beautiful....and no place has ever felt so evil". In Odd Apocalypse our hero is put in the difficult position of acting on the appeal of Annamaria, seeming more and more like an old soul, who tells him "there's someone here who's in great danger and desperately needs you..." or heeding the warnings from everyone else to leave. The others also bestow curious advice such as "look for death if you want to live". Odd suspects that he might have to "save the nameless someone with time pouring away like sand from a fractured hourglass".
This is the best Odd Thomas novel in a while and I think it can stand alone and be read out of the framework of the others in the series. But, hey, read them too. They're fun.
on August 2, 2012
As other reviewers here have analyzed and critiqued the storyline much better than I could, I will not add a summary of the storyline, except to say that it was very dark. I generally like some darkness in books and movies, but I didn't enjoy the BDSM aspects of this book (which is strange since I liked the Mord Sith in the Sword of Truth series.)
I have enjoyed the Odd Thomas series very much and was excited to get this book. I read it very quickly and wanted to like it, but I didn't. It was entertaining and imaginative; however, it felt ... forced? There were too many unrelated jokes, too much flowery prose, and too many pop culture references that gave it a forced feeling, as though there was some quota on forced jokes, pop references, and flowery prose that must be inserted in the book whether they added to the story or not. I also felt there was too much repetitive explaining of Odd throughout the book. Since the book is in a series, it's not a stand-alone. We know Odd is a fry cook; we already know Odd's abilities and what he's been through. A little refresher is fine, but it continued through the entire book. In such a short book, all of this added together felt like filler lessening the actual progression of the greater storyline of the entire series.
I chuckled out loud at first at the jokes.
"Anyway, the dead can be more frustrating to deal with than are many of the living, which is astonishing when you consider that it's the living who run the Department of Motor Vehicles."
However, they were thrown in too often and everywhere which gave them a forced feel. They became rather irritating for some reason.
As to the pop culture references, I didn't feel they were artfully inserted, but rather thrown in too much.
"Women don't find me as appealing as they do, say, that singer Justin Bieber. But I take comfort from the fact that Justin Bieber wouldn't know how to escape from a walk-in freezer after being chained there by a couple of huge guys in porkpie hats."
He mentions Tom Cruise and many others several times. I generally like some pop references if used in the story skillfully and meaningfully like Stephen King uses them at times, but they again somehow felt forced in this story.
Then there is the out of place flowery prose everywhere. I like flowery prose when used appropriately, but its use in this book seemed excessive and out of place. 3/4 of the way through the book, I found my self turning pages after not reading but a few lines and skipping the prose to get to the actual story -- which is highly uncharacteristic of me. Also, I tend to expect more wordy prose in long epic books than in such short ones as this.
I also got a feeling in this book that it's not as much about the writing of a fantastic story as it is about leading the reader on for financial reasons. It felt like some publisher was planning many more short Odd Thomas books, so each book would reveal less of the truth behind Annamaria as to get people to buy the next book even if the books were not as good. There was too much "filler" in the book and not enough that actually contributed to the greater storyline of the entire series. It's starting to feel too commercial. I don't remember having these same feelings while reading the previous books. The first book is my favorite still.
If you love the Odd Thomas series, I suggest reading this book for that sake alone. As I stated, it is somewhat entertaining and did keep me on the edge of my seat at times. Hopefully the next book in the series will be better, although I'm not sure I'll buy it. I may just check it out of the library or borrow it from a friend who buys it. I was disappointed in this book to that great of an extent.
Edit: I explained this review and my thoughts to my sister, and I think she summed it all up by saying, "It's when an older person tries too hard to sound cool to draw in the younger generation, it tends to fall flat and sound forced." P.S. We are the older generation. She reminded me that when Stephen King uses pop culture references and humor, it's about things that he and our generation can relate to, so it works for us.
on August 1, 2012
I am an avid reader of all things Koontz since I was a teenager. I have read all of his works and I can say that I have only disliked one "False memory." I was looking forward to another episode of Odd Thomas, so I decided to read the entire series all over again. I guess my expectations were higher than what Koontz delivered. This is one of his shortest novels, less than 400 pages. It has a lot of fluff and a lot of repetitive stuff. Perhaps because it is necessary for those new readers of this series.
The interludes were fun to read, but why did he separate them from this novel? Just to make money? He squeezed out of me over $20 dollars for this novel in kindle format :0(
I guess his fallen into hard times? Or he need to fund his new movie about Odd Thomas? If you're a fan of Odd Thomas you will read it because you must. It's OK. It's weird and at times funny... but for me its is lacking that spark that sends a chill through your spine and keeps you up at night thinking. I can no longer say I am a huge fan of Dean Koontz...
on August 7, 2012
I love Dean Koontz - his books have provided hours of pleasure and excitement over the years. That said, the first half of this book was a slog, which is the reason for 4 stars instead of 5. But, read through, because the second half of the book has all the action, weird science, and strangeness of vintage Dean Koontz. The Odd Thomas character is interesting, partly because he is not the superhero we are all used to seeing in so many books, TV shows and movies today. And yet, he is a heroic character who takes the true moral path at the critical crossroads. Koontz shows us evil and horror, but with hope, because the endings are good and the characters endure in their resilience and honesty no matter how much evil they have to face, and overcome. I think that stories like this give us something to hold on to, and something to help us reject the easy slide into brutality and cultural bullying that pop culture encourages so ubiquitously.
In the first half of the book, Odd does do a lot of wandering, which seems pointless and a bit boring. But then the science "fiction" kicks in, explaining many of the discoveries of the wandering Odd and bringing the clash of irresponsible scientific research, past and future, and good and evil people into full Koontzian glory. Fast forward through the first, but slow down and enjoy the second half of the book. It has a thoroughly satisfying ending, and an engaging tromp through time travel, as well as an enjoyable glimpse of the inventor and scientist that was Tesla - not to mention the hint of a future visit with Alfred Hitchcock.
This isn't a fast paced thriller - but it is an engaging book, with good characters, an interesting plot line, and the occasional cynical humor that is almost always part of a good Koontz story. I truly enjoy the fact that Koontz is able to bring each of these stories to a satisfying end while still setting the expectation of more Odd to come - very few authors are able to pull this off, but Koontz does it well.
A good book, well worth the money, and a story that will give me something to think about till the next installment of Odd Thomas comes out!
on August 1, 2012
If you are an Odd Thomas devotee, then read the book. Whether you like it or not, is not the point. You have to know the story of Odd's adventures so you'll be prepared for the next installment. And, maybe, the next one will be better. If you have never read Odd Thomas, for goodness sake's, DON'T START HERE! Read the first one, and be completely charmed by Odd Thomas. The first book is simply outstanding!
I won't bother with the story-line, others- who actually seem to like the book- have done a better job. I'll just move straight to my criticisms.
First and foremost, Odd is beginning to irritate the hell out of me. He is constantly cracking stupid jokes. I swear, it felt like, in the first chapter, a single paragraph did not end unless it was accompanied by some lame witticism. People who were colanders on their head are crazy but Odd likes colanders, in general. You have to be crazy to have a high position in the federal government. Dead people do not send text messages. Dealing with the DMV is frustrating (that joke is like 1000 years old!) The jokes aren't that funny and there are so, so, so many of them. I just wanted to say "Shut up, Odd!"
Next, HOW OLD IS ODD? He is, what, twenty-two? And, he is a fry cook who didn't go to college? Why is he talking like a bombastic, tenured college professor forcing his classroom to ooh and ah at his erudition? For example: "But his flag was the golden hair of his mistress. He grazed no more in this place but reserved his appetite for Elysian fields." This sort of flowery prose was all over this book. And it made me think that Odd needs to get in touch with the world he claims to clearly love but has little actual contact with.
This point goes along with the overly flowery prose, what is with all the portentous pondering and faux-wisdom? It was heartily annoying. It was as if everything that came out of Odd's mouth was prophetic. Which was heartily annoying. His character is prophetic- but reluctantly, humbly, and certainly not perfectly. All these fortune cookie phrases spilling out of Odd's mouth are turning him into some arrogant, judgmental know-it-all. The old Odd was someone you wanted to hang with- he found the good and the joyous and the wondrous in all people. He would NEVER judge you harshly because he was humble and knew it wasn't his place. The new Odd- his oddly harsh judgments on society are basically putting him superior to society. For example, Odd does not have a cell-phone, in part, because he never needed to trade nude photos with a Congressman. What? Or, you'll get some weird statement about the health-care plan of the screen actor's guild. Again, what?
I don't know. Odd, the character, has changed and not subtly. The fun in the series was this oh-so ordinary yet absolutely extraordinary boy. He was sweet and lovely and heart-breakingly sad. Books one and two actually made me cry. Now, I just want to smack him. He is a little schizophrenic. He is, at times, solemn and spiritual. Other times, he is irritatingly disingenuous. All the times other characters called him names- he totally deserved it. He is a little punk sometimes with his air of absolute innocence. You don't make jokes about the screen actor's guild without being the tiniest bit "in the know". And since he is somewhat "in the know", the "Who's on First" quality of his conversations with other characters comes off like he is punking them.
I don't know. I'm sorry, Mr. Koontz. I love your books. I really, really do. I just didn't like this one.
on August 16, 2012
This one is much like the 4th and just drags on. Odd is just not as endearing as he used to be. He does commit violent acts, which I am fine with, since it's self-defense, but it's not really in keeping with Odd to make the decision in advance. And he throws in a line about at one time having a desire to join the special forces or CIA (I was listening to it on Audible, so I can't look it up), but deciding against it when they changed the rules of interrogation that wouldn't allow any techniques stronger than offering the terrorists a candy bar. In the first 3 Odd books, I would never have thought it to be the desire of Odd to torture people, even if they were terrorists. It just seems like his character has changed, and this Anna Marie seems to be the catalyst, but her role is too sketchy by far. The modesty Odd continuously claims just seems insincere and some of the bad guys were not explained well. My favorite Koontz books are Watchers and the first 2 Odd books.
on August 9, 2012
This is one of, if not the, most boring books I have ever read in my life - and believe me I have read many thousands of books. I absolutely love Dean Koontz and also Odd Thomas and was so looking forward to this book. I'm sorry, but this book stinks. It would take too long to tell you all the things that are wrong with it. Boring plot, extremely long and detailed descriptions of everything from the furnishings in a room to the color of the sky - over and over ad nauseum. I would not recommend this book to anyone. I am glad I only paid for Kindle edition, but sorely wish I had checked it out of the library instead.
on August 1, 2012
Odd Thomas runs around "here and there" doing "this and that," chased with great alacrity and tedium by all manner of mysterious and disgusting beings, but never too busy to bitch about liberals. Self-deprecating to the point of neurosis, insisting that he doesn't judge while constantly judging, one wonders whom Odd Thomas hates more, the evil festering demons that plague his life, or the reality show stars he never has time to watch but always has time to drone on about even while being chased by the aforementioned festering demons.
This book is basically Brother Odd in a very slightly different setting. Here he's in a walled fortress built by incredible wealth where he is charged with saving one innocent boy from evil...oh, wait, that's not really a different setting, is it? Okay, but this time Odd is saddled with an annoying sidekick who knows all the answers but enigmatically won't tell him anything. How enigmatic! And what a cheap way to build tension and mystery. She's also a second voice to vent the author's "detestation" of the modern age, except she complains in the same stilted language Odd does (an attempt at "solemnity"?), so it's not really a second voice.
The elongated sideways figure eight? News flash, Mr. Koontz, everyone knows that is the infinity symbol. The Shakespeare quotes are obviously Shakespeare quotes, so the big revelation toward the end really isn't. I was waiting for Odd to tell us that "I learn by going where I need to go" is from a Theodore Roethke poem, but he never does. To be fair, Koontz no doubt came up with that phrase independently or he'd have given credit. But if you found it a powerful phrase and want to read a whole poem along those lines, just google The Waking.
On the plus side, Koontz only uses the word "grace" nine times, which is record restraint for him. On the minus side, he has a new fascination with the phrases "this and that" and "here and there."
Seriously, for someone who hates pop culture so much, I wonder why Koontz refers to it so often. He also describes some things in terms of TV shows, so if you don't watch TV, you're a little out of luck sometimes. It is surprisingly bad craftsmanship from an author who is capable of much better. Koontz' constant cynical whining about the shortcomings of our culture might seem like wisdom to him, but it's drivel to me and he's more part of the problem than the solution. He'd probably write better books if he watched less TV. I want to read a story not an essay.