Dec 20, 11
Read from December 11 to 18, 2011, read count: 1
** spoiler alert **
I love the Odd Thomas books. I read all four back to back in a little under a week. I like to read, but I do not do it very often. Most of my friends, being English majors in college, read extensively and I am often the sore thumb that nods stupidly when they discuss Shakespeare and such. I do not mean to imply my own stupidity, though I am a fool. My point is I am not a scholar, but I know what I like. And I love the Odd Thomas books.
(King Lear wasn't bad, come to think of it, but that's not important.)
After finishing all four, I discovered this website, and was compelled to write this sloppy review.
The first Odd Thomas was amazing and really drew me in. Often I will not read things I do not like or care for. (I point this out because all my friends have the obsessive compulsive need to finish ANYTHING they start to read, even if they hate it.) However, Odd Thomas really harpooned me in the chest. It hit me in the heart, and has stuck with me ever since. I also really liked the ending.
I have seen complaints that it was "unrealistic writing" for a 20 year old protagonist, but this is a book where a frycook sees the undead manifestations of Elvis. So, in short, the logic of those complaints is founded on shaky ground. And also, shut up.
The second book was good, but its biggest flaw was the setting. Or, rather, the fact that the setting separated Odd from all the wondrous characters that made the original so damn awesome.
As for the third, which this review is for after all, everything felt ... wrong. To be more exact, it felt wrong upon completion. DURING the read, everything was peachy keen, a-ok, thumbs-up-to-ya-Mr. Koontz.
While reading the book, I found it just as engaging as the previous entry. Neither Odd Thomas sequel is as powerful as the first. (Part 4 did come close, but I digress.)
Brother Odd suffers from the same flaw as Forever Odd: the removal of established and loved characters. I do not think it ever mentions any Pico Mundo denizens other than Ozzie Boone.
Whatever happened to Terri, Danny, and Wyatt? I missed them.
The main chunk of the story revolves around Odd trying to solve and stop some unknown impending doom that is to befall a school of disabled children. While doing so, he encounters giant, shape shifting skeletal monsters and the personification of Death. He is forced to reveal his supernatural powers with the monks and nuns, and they proceed to fortify the school for a badass showdown with the mysterious forces.
The ending sucks. Simply put. The ending was like a fly landing to die on my last bite of pizza. Everything was dandy until that fly showed up and ruined my lunch.
The pay-off sounds very silly when written in one sentence:
It turns out that the uberskeletons and Death are the manifestations of the subconscious will of the immature, repressed former-self of a brilliant physicist who has discovered, after abandoning his fortune and building a high tech laboratory underneath the monastery, that all matter on the quantum level is composed of the thoughts of God, which he then mimics using a supercomputer, made specifically for this purpose, to create tangible "antilife" using only his computer-amplified imagination.
That sentence, though long and poorly written (sorry), should not apply to an Odd Thomas novel. The heavy science fiction aspects in a story that was otherwise based in paranormal phenomenon are very, very jarring. Had this not been an Odd Thomas novel, I would have loved it.
But the ending really bothered me. It did not ruin the experience, but I so wish Koontz had handled it differently. The ending is very important to any story, and must match its build-up.
Despite its flaws, I recommend this book. Since this review contains spoilers, I hope you read the novel before my stupid rant. In which case, thanks for wasting your time reading my boredom induced mess.
And please go on to read Odd Hours, it is much better.