Following the journey of award winning author, Alex Azar, as he travels the publishing world and all things interesting. To reproduce or publish any material found within this blog, please contact me at azarrising@hotmail.com

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What I'm reading now 5/2/13 UPDATE

I've decided to do something a little different for these posts and write about my expectations for the book before I read it. From there I'll continue to speak about my feelings halfway through it, and what I think at the end. This way we can see if my expectations live up to the reality of the book throughout the reading experience.
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With that said today I begin reading "Odd Thomas" by Dean Koontz. I know I'm a little behind the Odd bandwagon but I prefer to let the hype of books die down before I read them (unless they plan on making a movie of it, then I have to read it before the movie is released) and Odd Thomas had some pretty good hype. Obviously I haven't read it yet, but the impression I got from this whole book series is that Koontz was reminding people that he's still here (and that his name isn't Stephen King).  


I've read Koontz before and while I like his writing I share the common concern about his books held by many readers of his, which is that once he has a good idea he goes back to the well too many times (which seems like it may be the case with the various Odd books). However, despite those concerns I have high hopes for this first book of the series and we'll see after if I decide to read any of the others.

Update 5/13/13 I've read nearly half of the book, and as you can tell from the dates of this post, it's been slow going.  I haven't been too impressed with the book.  I was dangerously close to getting to my 75 page limit when the book suddenly picked up.  The first 50 or so pages are dry useless fodder Koontz uses to pad his word count.  After getting through those pages, the story begins developing and he'c crafted an interesting world for Odd Thomas.  Prior to reading the book, I was aware (and thus don't consider this a spoiler) that Odd had the ability to see dead people.  I wasn't sure of the nature of this or how this would play into the story, but obviously it'd be the main factor.  He's done some things to differentiate his version of this trope from other popular ones, such as The Sixth Sense.

While Koontz has created an interesting world for Odd to live in, he hasn't populated it with any persons of interest, except for his one friend Little Ozzie.  Odd had a famous ghost companion, that I won't ruin the surprise of, but before it seems his story could develop, he's removed from the book, at least temporarily.  I'm holding out hope that that he'll return before the end.  Reading the description of the antagonist, I'm sure that he was meant to be an interesting character, but I find myself pulled towards the happenings around him.

Certainly things will continue along a path that satisfies my curiosities, but I fear that Koontz won't be able to get out of his own way and let the story go where it wants to, as opposed to where he thinks it should.

Update 5/29/13 So the book is finished and I'm not upset about it, but it didn't meet my expectations.  I liked the premise of the character being able to see dead people, and these things he calls bodachs.  Like I said earlier, Dean Koontz built an interesting world, but I found that he failed to fill it with equally interesting people.  Odd's best Friend Little Ozzie and his girlfriend Stormy are the two most interesting characters, but the former plays such a minor role he only appears in a scene or two.  The later, his girlfriend, is a nice character against Odd, I just wish she did more.

Odd learns of a pending terrorist (not the Arab variety) attack on his quiet town of Pico Mondo, and sets out to prevent it using his abilities.  It's a good story that Koontz finds an interesting twist to.  My major concern is the introduction of a black room, that goes unexplained.  At the end of the book, two possible explanations are provided, but it's never shown whether either of them are true, or if it's something else entirely.  The introduction to the room does nothing more than pique your interest, but plays no part in the actual story, so for it to not be explained, is a cop out on Koontz' part.

Overall the book found a way to put a new spin on ideas that have been done many times in the past by combining them in ways I haven't read before.  I just wish Koontz put more time into the characters that mattered to the story, and followed through on the idea of the black room, or not introduced it at all.

Perhaps the black room comes into play in one of the later books of the series but appearing in the first book and the POTENTIAL launch for a series, I don't think he should have left such a glaring plot thread unresolved in this book.

As for a rating, if you're a Dean Koontz fan, you've probably already read the book, or you will regardless of the rating.  If you aren't a fan or haven't read any of him before I'd rate it a Page 75

It's not worth the commitment to read the entire book and potentially be lured into reading more from the series.  I personally will be staying away from any of the sequels. On to the next one...