Monday, August 10, 2009

Odd Hours

It's only life. We all get through it.

Dean Koontz created Odd Thomas on a whim - a young man haunted by lingering spirits who can also foresee potential disasters - Dean Koontz then went on and wrote four books about this young man and his thrilling adventures. Odd Hours is the fourth installment of these adventures, and possibly the last, as Dean Koontz gravely put it - "I saw the end of his journey".

Odd Thomas arrives at Magic Beach without much of a purpose. The only thing that leads him here is a dream of an blazing red ocean and the face of a woman. On a chilly afternoon, Odd goes out for a walk on the boardwalk of Magic Beach, and there he meets the mysterious lady in his dream. Her name is Annamaria. It is also on that gloomy afternoon when they run into three comic looking villains of the story - a blond gorilla and two skinny redheads - who are determined to chase down Odd and finish him off. After vowing to Annamaria that he will die for her, Odd immediately understands that the mission he is about to embark upon is not like any other he's experienced before. A greater power is at work and it could lead to mass destruction. Odd has arrived at the of his journey, the end of his destiny... (I rather not spoil it for you)

This is my first time reading Odd Thomas, as well as my first time reading Dean Koontz. I humbly admit that as an inexperienced Dean
Koontz reader, my opinions could be biased, but I still like to put forth my two cents.

I find it very hard not to like Odd Thomas. He is an absolutely down-to-earth guy who is wise and mature beyond his years, not to mention he possesses the psychic power that allows him befriend the likes of Elvis and Frank Sinatra! Dean Koontz.also injected him with a great sense of humor that is undying even when facing the greatest peril. Annamaria, I don't know what to say about this character. She is a mystery at the opening of the story and remains so throughout the book. Odd meets her the same time he runs into the villains. But is Annamaria the link between Odd and the 'bad guys'? Did she exercise some kind of power to draw them together? There is no clear indication in the book. As Odd drives off with her at the end of the book, I can only imagine the meaning of this woman's existence in
Odd's life. It is almost as if Odd could have accomplished everything without her. Was she in the story purely out of the need a female character in the story? One has to wonder...

This book is mostly entertaining and even philosophical at times. There are quite a few passages that discuss the Odd Thomas' Morales and motives for partaking dangerous missions. It adds more definition to the character and shows readers that Odd Thomas, as odd as he appears to be with his premonition power, is in fact a human being just like the rest of us. He has fears and doubts. He questions his purpose of existence. He wonders if he is able to make it... (Well, don't we all?)

When it comes to style of writing itself, I have to admit Dean Koontz lost me. I can't comprehend the reason behind some of the lengthy scenes such as the escape at the pier, the coyotes, and finding the bodies at Sam Whittle's house. There are times when I really wanted to give up on this book because I simply couldn't bear with the directionless plot. And speaking of which, the plot is neither very complicated nor full of suspense. If there is any mystery in the story, it has to be the question of what kind of danger is awaiting Odd? And to be honest, it didn't take me very long to figure it out.

I am not very keen on reading the previous books from Odd Thomas series, but I would definitely love to pick up one of Dean Koontz's older books from the 90's or even 80's as I heard that his writing has been changing profoundly over the years.

Do you have any Dean Koontz's books that you would like to recommend?

Hope you find this review useful. Let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the book.

Don't get me wrong. I do not seek death. I love life, and I love the world as its exquisite design is revealed in each small portion of the whole.
No one can genuinely love the world, which is too large to love entire. To love all the world at once is pretense or dangerous self-delusion. Loving the world is like loving the idea of love, which is perilous because, feeling virtuous about this grand affection, you are freed from the struggles and the duties that come with loving people as individuals, with loving one place -- home -- above all others.
I embrace the world on a scale that allows genuine love -- the small places like a town, a neighborhood, a street -- and I love life, because of what the beauty of this world and of this life portend. I don't love them to excess, and I stand in awe of them only to the extent that an architect might stand in the receiving room of a magnificent palace, amazed and thrilled by what he sees, while knowing that all this is as nothing compared to the wondrous sights that lie beyond the next threshold.

Until next book...