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Brother Odd (Odd Thomas) Hardcover – November 28, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Koontz's third Odd Thomas novel (after Forever Odd) offers an irresistibly offbeat mix of supernatural horror and laugh-out-loud humor. A resident of St. Bartholomew's Abbey, a monastery in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Thomas has the ability to see the spirits of the dead, a gift he has used to resolve mysteries and prevent future tragedies. As the story opens, the seer is unsettled by visions of bodachs, sinister ghostlike entities whose appearance precedes some dire tragedy. Thomas frantically searches for some sign that will help him head off disaster, even as St. Bart's is thrown into turmoil by the disappearance of one of its members. Thomas must figure out both the identity of the person or being behind the terror and the most effective way to restore peace to his haven. While newcomers may find the villain's underlying motive a bit over the top, the narrator's engaging voice should continue to give this series cross-genre appeal. (Nov. 28)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The third adventure of Odd Thomas, the boy (well, he's 21, but still . . .) who sees ghosts, has a lighter feel to it than the gruelingly suspenseful Forever Odd(2005) and the funny and moving Odd Thomas (2003). It's reminiscent of a sunny monster-movie sequel--say, Son of Frankenstein--in which stock characters do their shtick with a wink and a nod: "Dontcha just love us?" In this case, yes, we do. Odd has retreated to a monastery in the Sierra Nevadas that permanently hosts a billionaire physicist in an underground lab. The mogul has given his entire fortune to support the monastery and attached convent in their work of housing and educating severely damaged children, the most interesting of which is now a 25-year-old artistic savant. As the story opens, bodachs--animated shadows that gather in anticipation of lethal violence, which only Odd among the living sees--are invading the children's quarters. Can Odd mitigate the coming cataclysm? Of course he can, despite the arrival of murderous bone creatures and grim Death itself, for the monks include quite a contingent of reformed martial sinners, most memorably Brother Knuckles, formerly of the New Jersey Mob, and another guest, a mysterious Russian librarian from Indianapolis, who is more and different than Odd thinks he is. Koontz salts Odd's narration with some wonderful zingers at the expense of cultural degeneracy and political folly. A darned good time should be had by all readers. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Some of the bad things that happen in the Odd Thomas books are discribed in disturbing detail, not so much in this book as in say, Odd Apocalypse, so you may need to assess whether you would let your young adult read these. However, given that these books are generally devoid of obscene language and gratuitous sex and violence, I'd say the scales tip in favor of Odd Thomas.
The humor in this one felt a bit ‘off’ from that of previous books. Odd comments on his own identity as a smart-ass, but in the past his humor always felt a bit more… earnest. Now it’s dryer and sharper. I could see this as character development, particularly given some of the dark events in Odd’s life. It’s a rather sudden break from the last book, however, and I would have thought it more likely after the events of the first book rather than the second. Also, Odd’s endearing wit has been the strongest part of his offbeat narrative, so changing that too far throws off the feel of the book.
Thankfully the tension and pacing pick up in the second half of the book. By the end it had sucked me in quite thoroughly, although I never found myself even tempted to shed tears–in some ways for me that’s the mark of connecting emotionally with a book, and the first two books had a tearful moment each.
While Brother Odd isn’t as tense and whimsical a ride as Odd Thomas and Forever Odd, it is quite engrossing for half of the tale. It has an imaginative plot that’s extremely different from those of the first two books; I love Koontz’s ability to come up with something totally new for Odd to do in each installment.