Friday, January 17, 2014

Odd Hours (Odd Thomas #4) by Dean Koontz

This is the fourth book in the Odd series.  Odd left the monastery at the end of book three and headed off to the Coast with Frank Sinatra and his ghost dog Boo in tow.  When he gets there he gets the job of an in house chef for an reclusive actor from the 40's or 50's, his employer has a very small part and really adds nothing to the storyline.  In fact not many of the characters introduced add much to the storyline, every character is weirder than the last and I'm not sure what value they have other than that Koontz wanted to write about them.
The flow if this book wasn't as easy as the first one or even the second one, this book took me almost three times as long to get thorough just because I couldn't seem to get invested in the storyline.  And on top of that, every time I picked the book up I had forgotten what had gone on before, the story just didn't stick in my mind.
There is something happening, Odd saw it in a dream, but what oh what is it?  Man have we seen that storyline before, and it would be fine if he wants to keep up that premise, but that means there has to be a bit more development to Odd as a character, and he has turned out to be rather flat.  Oh so sad his girl is dead, oh so troubled that he sees dead people, his only ambition in life is to sell tires because it seems easy.  Really isn't it time for Odd to have some growth?  And in this book, I think Odd only saw one other dead person besides Frank Sinatra, whom he helped move on.  What famous singer will haunt Odd now?
I think Koontz tried to do something larger with the good vs. evil and Annemarie, but he just didn't make it.  It del choppy and incomplete.  There was too much vagueness, and what I assume Koontz thought was foreshadowing and not enough real story.  I think Koontz tried to hard, wanted to make what I assume started out as a fun story about a guy who sees dead people, into a larger, deeper story.  When he should have just stuck to a kooky book about a guy who sees ghosts, and left the deeper meaning of life to another storyline or another writer.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Brother Odd (Odd Thomas #3) by Dean Koontz

This is the third book in the Odd Thomas series.  Odd has taken himself off to a monastery in the Sierra Nevada's, and big bad thing comes to play.  the Baddie in this book is a new creation, not a Bodach or a bad person in general.  I still got through the book very quickly, but it had parts that were slower than in the first two books.  There were times when I had no problem putting the book down at all.  Don't get me wrong, it was still really good, there were just times that I felt I would be more inclined to clean or do something besides read.  Whereas with the first two books I just wanted to read and find out what the heck was happening.
We really get a chance to understand Odd a bit more and his character is developed nicely in this book.  At the end we finally see Elvis off to the next plane, which is nice for Elvis, but I was sad to see his character go.  I like how even though Koontz killed Stormy in the first book, she still never really leaves Odd behind, I think their love shaped Odd more than could have been known while Stormy was alive.  Odd still takes risks and does dangerous things, but now his goal is to be reunited and he doesn't want to step out of line in this world for fear it could make their separation more permanent.  He is still grieving but slowing healing.  There were some characters in this book that I really liked and I hope we see again later in the series, the Russian Romanovich mainly.  I love his character and I hope he become a recurring character.  I fully admit, at the end when it turned out that Boo was a ghost dog, threw me for a loop.  I had no idea, I thought he was just special and saw ghosts (i.e. Elvis) because he was a dog, not a dead dog.  There was a lot of spirituality and science mumbo jumbo that I suspect are setting something up later on in the series, but I am not sure.  So we will just have to wait and see how it turns out.  But in the end I say another hit by Koontz.

Forever Odd (Odd Thomas #2) by Dean Koontz

I enjoyed the first Odd Thomas so much that I decided not to wait for my book club to finish the series in a year or so.
In this second installment  Odd is still reeling from the events of book one, mainly Stormy's death.  A good friend is kidnapped and it is up to Odd to search and rescue him before it is too late.
Because I was reading this book as a side book to my book club books I could read at my own pace when I had time.  That being said I seemed to fly through it.  As usual Koontz's writing is solid and the characters are well developed and maintain the same level of believability that they did in the first book.  The main baddie is a wealthy psycho named Datura, who thinks Odd has the power to let her see ghosts, I'm sure if Odd had that power he would share without having a good friend threatened.  The book is still set in Pico Mundo and we get a lot more history of the area around the town.  I think Koontz thought this story through more as a part of a series than as a stand alone like the first book.  I should have written my review before I started the next one in the series, because I can see the set up for the next book so clearly and the two kind of blend.  It was a super quick read and easy to follow.  There wasn't any shocking endings or crazy mass murders and I missed the Bodach's presence.  But there were some pretty strong poltergeist, and nice set up for book 3.  It wasn't as good as the first but, still good.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

This is another time jumping book, which usually drives me crazy but I was ok with in this book.  Part of the book takes place in the WWII England during the Blitz and the other part of the book takes place in the present.  At the age of 16, Laurel Nicholson witnesses her mother Dorothy kill a man, Laurel pushes this memory to the back of her mind until her mother essentially lay on her death bed unable to answer questions.  What a better time for Laurel to try and find out what really happened right? So part of the book is Laurel's search to discover her Mother's history.  The other part is her mother's history and why she killed the man when Laurel was 16.  Of course Laurel never really gets the full picture of her mother's life, but she does learn quite a bit.
I really enjoyed the mystery and the writing.  There were some twists and turns and a surprise ending that I did't see coming at all!  
I have never read a Kate Morton book before this one, but it was so good that I have added her other two novels to my want to read list!  She is a fantastic story teller, she keeps the reader engaged and interested, and actually knows how to switch between timelines flawlessly.  There were parts of the story that weren't as interesting as other, which I was glad of because I could take a break digest and come back excited to finish the read.  I defiantly recommend reading this book!

His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik

This is a BOTM club read.  It was described "Alternate history during the Napoleonic Wars -- really?  I know, I know, BUT it's got TALKING DRAGONS!! Trust me, this is a fun and enjoyable read, not truly weighed down by war talk" by our  moderator.  And she was right that it isn't weighed down by a war talk and it was a fun light read.  I liked the read.  I found the story to be very predictable, Laurence does't want to have a dragon but Temeraire chooses him and wins him over.  All the supporting characters are predictable and boring too.  There is a class issue and the characters are a lot of snobs, I guess it would be most likely historically accurate, if there had been Dragons in 18th century England. But they are still really stuck up!  I think I went into this read expecting too much.  I was expecting a book that matched Eragon or Pern.  In my opinion this just did not meet their standards.  The writing was solid and the story line was well written, even the betrayal was predictable.  Reading some other reviews it appears the battles are historically accurate.  If I had been more interested I many have followed up to see if they were, but I wasn't.
It's an easy read and fun, but not an "Oooh I can't believe I didn't know about this book" read.  If you want a light read with some history and some fantasy this is a good choice, and maybe I would have liked it better if I had discovered it on my own and had no expectations going into the read.