by velocibadgergirl

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Forever Odd and Brother Odd by Dean Koontz

Ack! Epic fail! It has been my goal to write at least one post on this site each month, and I totally dropped the ball in April. If April had 31 days, I'd be fine, because on Thursday I thought, "Crap! Need to hurry up and write a book post!"

Oh, wait. Damn.

Anyhoodle, I've read quite a few books lately, and just haven't had the time to write about them. Back in February and March I followed up the highly enjoyable Odd Thomas with the two sequels, Forever Odd and Brother Odd. Forever Odd was problematic, to put it lightly. The setting was great -- the ruin of a burned-out casino in the desert -- but the rest was not so great.

Odd was still a fantastic character, but the supporting players who made the first novel so rich were barely featured. I have a pretty good ability to willingly suspend my disbelief, but this plot was a bit much even for me. I won't give it all away in case anybody wants to read it, but let's just say it would've been bad enough if the villain was a dominatrix who duped Odd's friend into telling her all of Odd's secrets and then kidnapped him to get to Odd. But did she really need to have vampire henchmen, an obsession with the undead, and did there need to be a wolf involved? I mean, I could've probably handled one of those things. Even two. But all of them? And I'm only altering the details a little bit. Gah. To be honest, as much as I love Odd as a character, I would recommend reading Odd Thomas and then skipping straight to Brother Odd.

Brother Odd also didn't stand up to the first book, but it was much better than Forever Odd. After the difficult (and bizarre) events of book 2, Odd has decided to retreat from the world. His friend and surrogate father, Chief Wyatt Porter, and the priest uncle of Odd's late girlfriend Stormy have arranged for him to live at a Benedictine abbey up in the Sierras. Odd finds peace for a time, but in the midst of his first snowstorm, things begin to get complicated again. First a monk goes missing, then the dark entities Odd calls bodachs start swarming in the dormitories that house the disabled children who are cared for by the nuns. The monsters of the book are pretty cool and very creepy, even if one scene felt like it borrowed a lot from Neil Gaiman's Corinthian. The plot was a bit over the top, but Koontz once again filled Odd's world with interesting and endearing secondary characters, and my suspension of disbelief wasn't taxed too terribly. It was encouraging that the third book was such an improvement over book two, and it gave me hope that the upcoming fourth book will be decent. We'll see!