Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saint Odd: The Climax of the Entire Odd Thomas Series; Also, The Prequel: You Are Destined to be Together Forever [from the Odd Thomas Series], by Dean Koontz.

[1]
Book Review by:
Sharon Powers.

     It is here, at last. Saint Odd. The Climax of the entire Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. The long-awaited novel everyone has longed for; on one hand we get to read about Odd, again, but on the other hand, we fear both Oddie's death, and that the final book won't tie up all the threads that were woven throughout the series, and that we will hate the ending (for not living up to our expectations).

     Here follows a quick recap. These are the novels that preceded this final installment of Odd Thomas:

ODD THOMAS: THE JOURNEY

A short and poignant story
about young love. Learn
about the catalyst that shap-
ed Odd and Stormy's lives.[2]

(.5) A prequel: You Are Destined To Be Together Forever, Odd Thomas Series Prequel: 
     The prequel that readers longed to read, takes us all the way back to the beginning--Odd's pivotal relationship with Stormy Llewellyn. Read this short story to learn about the prophecy that made the young couple believe that they would be together forever. When a carnival came to town, the pair go to visit the "Gypsy Mummy," a prognosticator that dares them to believe. Watch out readers, we will see the "Gypsy Mummy," again, in the final book: Saint Odd.

Odd Thomas: The Odd
Thomas Series, Book 1.
[3]
(1) Odd Thomas: Odd Thomas Series, Book 1:
    The first book of the series introduced readers to the young man, Odd Thomas. Odd's character thought of himself as an ordinary guy, a short-order cook who loves making pancakes. We quickly discover, though, that Oddie has a strange gift. Odd knows an impending disaster is about to hit his beloved town of Pico Mundo. Frantically, Odd uses his gifts to try to prevent the worst from happening--Odd never counted on the love of his life (Stormy Llewellyn) to be in the middle of it all. We frantically read to find out whether Odd stops the disaster or becomes part of it. I reviewed this book on March 11, 2014. If you would like to read my full review of Dean Koontz's first Odd Thomas novel, click on this link.

(2) Forever Odd: The Odd Thomas Series, Book 2:
Forever Odd: Odd
Thomas Series, Book 2
.
One of the numerous
covers for the book. [4]
     The first sequel to the most remarkable (book 1) seemed to fall a bit flat for most readers. Many readers commented that the book, although NOT bad, just didn't live up to Dean Koontz's best writing. In this second book, Odd, as revealed in book one, sees and talks to the dead. Oddly enough (pun intended), one of his ghost friends is none other than Elvis Presley. Odd talks to ghosts and tries to help them, worries about his friends (notably, P. Oswald Boone) and mopes about the past.

     In a brief synopsis of this book, a ghost, Dr. Jessup, summons Oddie late one night, and lets him know that his son, Danny, was kidnapped. Not enough just to be kidnapped, Danny has brittle bone disease. Using his "psychic magnetism," Odd places himself in danger of the evil villains and henchmen to bring Danny home. Odd's supernatural abilities are as appealing as his wholesomeness. Even so, Odd, is not naive, and battles evil wherever he finds it. Now, bringing Danny home is all that matters. Will Oddie and his strange talents be enough to save this fragile child and help Dr. Jessup to cross over?

(3) Brother Odd: The Odd Thomas Series, Book 3:

Brother Odd:
The Odd Thomas
Series, Book 3.
[5]
     Having trouble dealing with life, loss, and his psychic gifts, Oddie retreats to St. Bartholomew's Abbey hoping a contemplative life will help him cope. At first, he finds surcease in living the life of a contemplative monk. However idyllic a life Oddie was living in the monastery, it was simply not meant to continue--trouble had a way of finding him. The "bodachs" that he had observed in previous encounters with evil began showing up in droves. Odd has his hands full in attempting to solve the murder of a monk, Brother Constantine, and to put an end to more killings of the religious brothers. This time out Oddie is helped in his quest by a librarian (an undercover NSA agent) and a new friend--a ghost dog named "Boo." Can Oddie solve the murder of Brother Constantine and put a stop to the continuing murders at the abbey?
Odd Hours:
The Odd Thomas
Series, Book 4.
[6]

(4) Odd Hours: The Odd Thomas Series, Book 4:
     In, Odd Hours, Odd Thomas begins having nightmares of a terrifying red tide. Not understanding the dream, it, nevertheless, pulls Oddie to a small town situated on the coast, where things seem "oddly" out of place. Odd puts his psychic abilities to the test to make things right in this sleepy little town. Oddie's ghost-friend, "Boo" (How charming a name for a ghost dog!) returns, and while Elvis is now out of the picture, Oddie has a new (or should I say "old"?) ghost friend to help him. Yet, Oddie faces his biggest and most challenging baddie in this sinister city--challenging himself to step up to the plate and deliver...but will Oddie overcome his own "dark night of the soul"?

(4.1-4.3) Odd Interlude: A Special Odd Thomas Adventure:
Odd Interlude #s 1-3
are included in this
three-part collection
as, Odd Interlude. [7]
     This short collection, originally published in three separate parts, is entirely Dean Koontz charming. The three short installments comprising one single story originally were titled Odd Interlude, #s 1, 2, and 3. So, don't get confused by the different titles.

     Oddie is once again in another small town, on the coast, again. The quaint little city even has a quaint name, "Harmony Corners." Unfortunately, for Oddie, when he checks into a charming little hotel and mysterious events begin to happen, the reader begins wondering if Oddie has met his match--will he ever be able to check out of the hotel? No, friends and neighbors, the hotel is not "The Bates Hotel"!

Odd Apocalypse: The
Odd Thomas Series,
Book 6.
[8]
(5) Odd Apocalypse: The Odd Thomas Series, Book 5:
   Just coming from the difficult situation in Harmony Corners, Oddie and his traveling companion, Annamaria, (who also has her own spiritual gifts), gladly accept an invitation from a rather reclusive billionaire to spend time on his palatial estate, Roseland. Once again, all is not what it seems and the palatial estate begins to look more like a house of horrors. Odd Thomas must face lethal adversaries and uncover shocking secrets that just might reveal an estate whose real location is Hell. What kind of consequences will be exacted? Will it be a "pound of flesh"? Odd Thomas keeps the answers to these questions close to the vest.

(6) Deeply Odd: The Odd Thomas Series, Book 6:
     I titled this section of the book review, today, as "Odd Thomas: The Journey." First, I did that to refer to the journey we all have taken in reading the series of books. Second, I titled the section for somewhat obvious reasons: Oddie starts on a journey in Pico Mundo, his home town, and is drawn by the "magnetism" to go in search of evil in other locations than Pico Mundo. Book six heralds the coming end of the journey.

Deeply Odd: The
Odd Thomas Series,
Book 7.
[9]
     In Deeply Odd, Odd Thomas encounters a cowboy truck driver, bedecked in rhinestones and sparkles. Soon, Odd begins having shocking visions of a whole series of murders from California through Nevada and then back. But, just one tinsy little problem: the murders haven't been committed, yet. Odd journeys down a road to prevent the multiple tragedies from happening. Once again, Odd acquires new friends and allies--my personal favorite is "Edie." She is one of those gun-toting little old ladies that, in part, charms your heart just because she is so quaint and no-nonsense. Edie also goes way out of her way to help people. What does a little old lady have to do with Oddie's "road chase" to stop a sociopathic truck driver? Just wait and see.

Saint Odd (Odd Thomas, #7)
[1]
(7) Saint Odd: The Odd Thomas Series, Book 7--FINAL BOOK OF THE SERIES:

   Do you remember that I promised that the Gypsy Mummy fortune-telling machine that appeared in the prequel to the series (and mentioned numerous times throughout the series) would reappear in this volume? Well, here she is...the very same, exactly the same, carnival has returned to Pico Mundo that made an appearance when Odd Thomas was only sixteen-years-old. Oddie can't resist seeing her, again--he wants to find out when he will get to be with Stormy.

     But, as Oddie grapples with what he feels is his own impending death, the same satanic cult returns to Koontz's pages with which Oddie must deal a second time. This time, Oddie's prophetic dreams consist of his beloved town with all its citizens and homes, streets and streetlamps, being submerged and drowned under lots and lots of water. But that seems just short of crazy to Oddie, how could that happen?

     Let's not forget about all the wonderful characters Koontz has created for us readers to enjoy. Who will survive? There are many, many deaths, yet there are survivors. Who will walk away from the approaching deluge and live to tell about it? Will Odd's old friend, P. Oswald Boone survive? What happens to Annamaria? What about all the people Oddie loves in Pico Mundo...? Will Oddie walk away from the impending disaster to live a quiet life or will he meet his death?

WHAT I THINK ABOUT THE BOOK

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FIRST, MY FAVORITE QUOTE:

     To set the stage for the quote, Oddie has returned home to Pico Mundo, "to die and to live in death." Oddie had been feeling the pull of magnetism towards Pico Mundo for a while. His feelings led him to believe that he was going home to die. Before he dies he wants to save his beloved town. Here, he muses on what he thinks is death and the circle of life.
That I had come full circle shouldn't have surprised me, for we are born into time only to be born out of it, after living through the cycles of the seasons, under stars that turn because the world turns, born into ignorance and acquiring knowledge that ultimately reveals to us our enduring ignorance. The circle is the essential pattern of our existence. [Kindle location 216]
[Graphic image 11]
Joseph Campbell is often associated with the Hero's Journey, 
but as Dan Harmon puts it, "Joseph Campbell was a compara-
tive mythologist, not a corny screenwriting guru. Nevertheless,
here is where I, Dan Harmon, feel that the chapters of Camp-
bell's famous "monomyth" or "hero's journey" would fall if you
forced them into my circle." The circle of which Dan Harmon
speaks is in the image, just above, here. [12]
STORY STRUCTURE UTILIZED IN THE SERIES

     I like the above quote not only because Dean Koontz has his protagonist, Odd Thomas, tell us about his philosophy of life, but also because Koontz brings the reader back to the beginning of the story. This is a wonderful technique for writers and, Mr. Koontz utilizes it most effectively!

     We are reminded of the beginning of the whole series and we are able to better comprehend the whole of the series by this going back. Moreover, this technique helps the author tie up loose ends and the protagonist and reader alike, have a sense of completion. When Koontz's writing is good, it is really good!

[13]
     Although the circular plot is not the only way to set up a plot for a novel, it can be one of the most effective. This approach to plot structure appeals to readers because it gives a sense of order, a sense of familiarity and most importantly, it helps the reader identify with the protagonist (Because every reader is said to be on their own hero's journey, the reader psychologically understands the trials and struggles of the protagonist.). In the chart, just below, Dan Harmon's steps for a circular plot can be seen on the left while the concrete example from Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas Series are listed on the right side.

For a more in-depth explanation, please see Dan Harmon's web site. The link is below under source #[11].
     So, now you know my favorite quote and that I really liked the story structure Dean Koontz used in creating his series, and specifically, the final book, Saint Odd. What else worked for me in Saint Odd? Well, one of the things that got me to start reading Dean Koontz's books in the first place was his writing style. I like his easy flowing text and the pacing that goes with it. 
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     I also like that in these fantasy/mystery/thriller novels, Koontz doesn't employ a stuffy tone. Koontz uses words that are commonly known so as to not make the reader slow down. The reader is able to read at a pace that suits him as an individual--and, is able to do this, in part, because no complicated words or extensively long sentences are used. The more "intellectual" style of writing is better suited to other types of literary works.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK FOR ME:
"Ozzie Boone"
P. Oswald Boone--Oddies 400
pound friend who often
helped him.  [15]
     Although, in general, I enjoyed the book, it isn't a perfect book by any means. And, although Koontz did pretty well at tying up the ends, a few things bothered me:

     I would have really liked to see an appearance from one of Oddie's best friends, P. Oswald Boone and his cat, Chester. And, Annamaria was in the final book to show Oddie the "trick" with the flower, I would have liked to see more of her talking with him in that mysterious and enigmatic way she always spoke. 

[16]
     I also wondered why, after Oddie seeing ghosts of one sort or another throughout the series, the reader really didn't get to see a ghost in this final installment. I know we wouldn't see Stormy's ghost because she had already crossed over, but how about someone else?...maybe someone else who had died in the mall shootings. For that matter, if this were going to be a disaster that would have destroyed the town and all the people in it, where were all the bodachs?

     And, although there were a number of small things I didn't like, one major flaw troubled me  the most. The end seemed anticlimactic and tired. It just didn't have the punch I was waiting for and expected. I thought that Koontz could have put more effort into writing a really great ending for this great series. The main story was fine, but the ending just fell flat for me. A good ending, just not a great one.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS AND RATING:

I created this graphic in the
MS Word Program. [1]
     This book contains violence of various sorts including, but not limited to shootings and murder. The tone, because it is of the fan- tasy/mystery/thriller genre, quite naturally contains scenes where the characters show fear, anger, bitterness, and other negative emotions. I would only recommend this book for the target audience of readers, adult readers. Any adult who is of a sensitive nature should be cautioned to consider the material before reading the novel.

     I enjoyed the book and was quite happy that Koontz tied up all the major threads. Based on my views presented above, and my enjoyment reading Dean Koontz's novel, I am happy to award the book with 4.0 stars out of 5. Thank you Mr. Koontz for a great series.

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     Please join me again, next time, as we get to look at another wonderful book. This next book is a book from NetGalley, so it should be fun to see what the author and NetGalley have in store for us.

     I thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me this week to read and consider Dean Koontz's book, Saint Odd, the final book in his Odd Thomas Series. I very much appreciate your effort in taking part in today's book review, in taking time to read and consider my views, and just for reading. I hope you are encouraging your family and friends to read by giving them new books and by showing them how much fun reading can be. You are setting a good example by just letting others see you read.

Until next time my dear friends...
Here is a Rose of Sharon plant with white double blooms. Just look at those
beautiful flowers and vibrant green leaves. I only wish this were in my garden.
This flower is a full double white Rose of Sharon. I  place it here for my
beautiful new granddaughter (and namesake) Sharon Ele'a. [18]
...many happy 
pages 
of reading!
    
All my love,
dear friends.

Sharon.











_______________________________________________________
REFERENCES/SOURCES
[1] "Saint Odd: The Odd Thomas Series, Book 7." [Dean Koontz] amazon.com. Retrieved 02-15-15.
[2] "You Are Destined To Be Together, Forever." [Prequel, Dean Koontz] Retrieved d02-15-15.
[3] "Odd Thomas: The Odd Thomas Series, Book 1." [Dean Koontz] amazon.com. Retrieved 02-15-15.
[4] "Forever Odd: The Odd Thomas Series, Book 2." [Dean Koontz] amazon.com. Retrieved 02-15-15.
[5] "Brother Odd: The Odd Thomas Series, Book 3." [Dean Koontz] amazon.com. Retrieved 02-16-15.
[6] "Odd Hours: The Odd Thomas Series, Book 4." [Dean koontz] amazon.com. Retrieved 02-18-15.
[7] "Odd Interlude: The Odd Thomas Series." [Dean koontz] (includes Odd Interlude, #s 4.1-4.3) amazon.com. Retrieved 02-19-15. 
[8] "Odd Apocalypse: The Odd Thomas Series, Book 5." [Dean Koontz] amazon.com. Retrieved 02-20-15.
[9] "Deeply Odd: The Odd Thomas Series, Book 6." [Dean Koontz] amazon.com. Retrieved 02-21-15.
[10] "Keep Calm It's the Circle of Life." keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk. Retrieved 02-20-15.
[11] "An Example of Storytelling: Penny Pinchers." wildgrounds.com. Retrieved 02-20-15.
[12] "Story Structure 104: The Juicy Details." channell01.wikia.com. Retrieved 02-20-15.
[13] "Illustration of Woman Reading." pixgood.com. Retrieved 02-21-15.
[14] "At Your Own Pace." lorettahelson.com. Retrieved 02-21-15.
[15] "Ozzie Boone." queeniechan.com. Retrieved 02-21-15.
[16] "Casper the Friendly Ghost Cartoon Clipart." i-love-cartoons.us. Retrieved 02-21-15.
[17] "Four Walking Stars." aaljackets.com. Retrieved 02-21-15.
[18] "Pictures From My Garden."  sparkpeople.com. Retrieved 02-21-15.