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Frankenstein: The Dead Town (Frankenstein, 5) Hardcover – 2011
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Dean Koontz’ Frankenstein series has redefined the classic legend of infernal ambition and harrowing retribution for a new age. In The Dead Town, the master of suspense delivers an unforgettable, mesmerizing conclusion to his saga of the modern monsters among us. The war against humanity is raging. As the small town of Rainbow Falls, Montana, comes under siege, survivors band together to weather the onslaught of the creatures set loose upon the world. As they ready for battle, they will learn the full scope of Victor Frankenstein’s nihilistic plan to remake the future. Now the good will make their last, best stand. In a climax that will shatter every expectation, their destinies and the fate of humanity hang in the balance.
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Top Customer Reviews
That isn't to say that there aren't good parts to this book. Erika V and Jocko are still great characters, and there are a few interesting scenes, but in the end the book is a mess. Victor is a laughable antagonist, whose so arrogent that he never really feels like a threat. The Builders are interesting, but they get overused, and the book lacks the darker, violent edge that made the first two so interesting.
The biggest problem is the sheer number of plotlines. When new characters and storylines are still being introduced during the last 75 pages, it just screams of padding. Then the ending, which should be pulse pounding and exciting, is glossed over and tied up with a "and they all lived happily ever after."
Really not very good, and a disappointing way to wrap things up.
Like most everyone else disappointed about this and the fourth book, I REALLY wanted the payoff to go well. Reading the back of this book was what got me interested in the Frankenstein series to begin with and so since this was the last one, I was hoping that it'd be an ending worth remembering.
I was wrong.
But I'm going to go ahead and say, this was LOADS better than the fourth one. That wouldn't be too hard. But even I could've forgiven the fourth book if this one had been better. The fourth book felt like it was setting everything up. So, I'm going to list why I was disappointed and then talk about what I'd have done better.
1. The trilogy was fine - The first three books were great. It had an ending that was nice. The heroes won, the villain lost, there weren't too many characters clogging up the book, I could keep up with all the plotlines and I actually cared about most of the characters. Sure, I felt the ending was a little weak but I still liked it. More on the ending later.
2. The villain wasn't easy to identify with - Villains are the most important thing to a story. These days we like villains that make us laugh or scare the crap out of us. The Joker from Batman is a great example of that. Victor Helios...was okay. He wasn't the best villain ever, but he wasn't the worst. He was creepy (I mean, he ate live baby rats because he was bored and got off on raping his wife) but he wasn't outright scary. I prefer the original Victor because of his goal. He wants to replace the world with clones and position himself as their `god'. Not the most original goal in the world, but with a story like this it works. Victor Leben, or Victor Immaculate is an entirely different story. Basically, he wants to kill everyone and everything and then die himself leaving the world empty. Okay....um....how does that benefit him? Another good way to identify with the villain is if you can identify with their goal. Now, I really don't identify with Victor Frankenstein's goal at all, but at least his goal made some sense. This....does not. How does he benefit if everything's dead? Was this explained?
3. It destroys the message in the trilogy - The first three books pound it over our heads that it's important to have free will and hope. The lack of that is what destroys the clones faster than Victor can spit them out. The fact that he gave his wife hope was what separated her from the rest and kept her sane after his death. It doesn't seem to mention this again much in the fourth books. The builders start breaking down because...I don't know why honestly, it doesn't seem like something that was explained either. It couldn't really be lack of hope because you'd think that it'd affect the Communitarians too, but they seem to be fine. So, what was going wrong? Or did he just build the builders up to be too powerful and this was the only way he could think of to keep the heroes alive?
4. Heroes turn useless - I liked Michael and Carson in the original trilogy as the focus. They were clichés but they were likable. In the third book I kind of noticed that they didn't do much of anything. And it was a bit disappointing because Deucalion seemed to think that Carson was going to be the one that helped him kill Frankenstein. And I really liked that idea. She'd get revenge on the murder of her parents and he'd get closure since he couldn't kill Victor himself. Instead, in the third book, the clones kill him by burying him alive and as ironic as it is, it was a tad disappointing. Especially since all Carson pretty much does is tell him to "go to tell." Really? That's all this hard hitting, guns blazing, caffeinated badass has to say to the man that ruined her life? In the last two it's even worse. Thanks to the barrage of too many characters, all Carson and Michael do is kill a clone and then hang out with the church catching them up on the plot. They had nothing to do and I have to wonder why Koontz even bothered bringing them back. They had their ending, and the characters didn't want to do anything dangerous in fear of orphaning their baby.
5. Too much padding- Do we really need to hear how the builders kill every other page? Because it sounded stupid the first time he described it. Did we really need that many characters? It really bogged the story down. If anything, he should've let some of the characters that we got to know die. Most of the characters that did perish were people that we didn't even know. There were too many happy endings for a story as supposedly dark as this one. I would've kept Bryce and Travis for the hospital exposition, but I would've killed the boy's mother off. And I would've kept the radio team in the story because they were important and I would've kept Rusty the war veteran in and his kind-of girlfriend because I liked their story, but I would've introduced them a lot earlier. And that would've been it.
But would I have done differently? Well, I would've just kept it a trilogy first of all. As weak as the ending was, it was still loads better than this one, but if I felt I HAD to write another book, I would've made it a prequel. Victor and Deucalion had WAY too few scenes together and it would've been great to actually read about their history instead of just having it told to me. It would've been nice to see Deucalion make mistakes and have faults instead of being this godlike being who can teleport and heal autism (Oh, the way, way to walk into the light before you take the kids home from the monastery hero. I'm sure their parents appreciated THAT one). But all in all the payoff wasn't worth stretching it into two books.
The Dead Town was an enjoyable book. Koontz has a way of bringing characters to life that keeps me coming back. Carson and Michael are as quick-witted as ever. Erika and Jocko are still amusing in their oddities. Deucalion shines in this novel. And Victor Immaculate, who was barely glimpsed before, shows the mindset of absolute domination and total arrogance that defines him. A lot of side characters had plenty of action, which has good and bad points.
It did get repetitive, however. The Builders are interesting, but it seemed to go over the same scenes with them over and over. The ending was not as dramatic as I hoped, but it was a long way from disappointing.
Overall, I liked the book. If you liked Lost Souls, you will probably enjoy The Dead Town.