Monday, August 20, 2007

Odd Thomas and Brother Odd by Dean Koontz

I'm reviewing these books together because I just finished reading Odd Thomas and have already read Brother Odd, and, therein, lies my problem. Before I discuss the strengths and weaknesses of Odd Thomas, I have to admit to a huge problem. I read the books out of order (which I do NOT recommend doing) so I already knew enough about the ending that what should have been a wonderful twist was wrecked for me. So be warned, read Odd Thomas first! With that said, here it goes:

Strengths of Odd Thomas: It had a really great opening ... nice way to grab the reader and explain, at the same time, that Odd, the title character, can see the souls of the departed who have not crossed over. It isn't creepy or scary in any way. I actually found the souls to be quite sad, and even tortured. There is a great recurring bit with Elvis Presley's ghost. I enjoyed the humor Koontz used to lighten the mood. I also truly enjoyed the relationship between Odd and his girlfriend. It was very quirky, but quite well-written. The plot involves the appearances of "bodaches" (think dementors from Harry Potter) , and Odd's attempts to present a killing spree. It sounds quite wild but is done in a believable way. Koontz does lay a trail for the reader to follow so the who's and why's do make sense at the end. I also liked the cast of characters. They were just odd ball enough to hold my attention without being over the top.

Weaknesses of Odd Thomas: After reading two books with this character, I'm not sure I want to be in his world any longer. I like to see growth and change in a character and, while I like Odd and find him charming, I'm not sure he is very interesting. Also, the ending of the book was ruined for me because it was alluded to in Brother Odd. I already knew the where and the ultimate effect on Odd of the killing spree before the book even started. It pays to look at copy write dates and read books in order (sigh!) So I'm not sure if the ending was as contrived as I thought it was.

Overall, I enjoyed my first go with this character more than the second. It seems that there may be another Odd story coming, but I don't think it'll hold much attraction for me. This is a very lukewarm review for me. I'd love to hear from anyone with stronger opinions on either book.

6 comments:

cj said...

I love the Odd Thomas books but you have a point about the character not growing. But, given how Brother Odd ended, I'm looking forward to seeing just how he changes.

cjh

BookGal said...

cj - that's a really good point. Maybe I will break down and try the next one when it comes out.

Presbyterian Gal said...

I lost interest in Koontz years back when he kept rewriting the same characters and plotlines over and over. This one sounds a little different. I'll give it a try.

BookGal said...

Pres - Koontz was recommended to me by Wonderboy's teacher. I'm not so sure.

cj said...

Koontz is still one of my favorite reads but you've got a poing, Pres. His plots do seem a tad... familiar a lot of the time. But then, he'll throw a book out there that is vastly different and incredible. The Odd Thomas series is like that. There are still familiar themes but the characters are stand outs. I also liked The Face for the same reason.

Geez. Can't tell I'm a fan, can you? Sorry 'bout hijacking your blog, Bookgal.

cjh

BookGal said...

cjh - you're always welcome to hijack! Maybe I'll try The Face.