WARNING: This review contains SPOILERS!
And so, I at last reach the end of the ‘Odd Thomas’ series of books by the famed suspense/horror author Dean Koontz. As I mentioned in my previous review of books four, five and six, I found the quality began to wildly fluctuate as the series went on, the later books never quite capturing the same magic as the first few. So after finishing this, the last book of the series, the one word I think would aptly describe my feelings upon reaching the last page was ‘underwhelmed’. I was hoping that the series as a whole would have a fulfilling ending, that the dangling mysteries would be answered and resolved satisfactorially. However, as I got nearer and nearer to the book’s close, the remaining pages beginning to dwindle, I began to lose faith that this would be the case. And my fears were confirmed as I got the extremely rushed ending, which seemed to be little more than Koontz hurriedly checking off everything that Odd had seen in his dream/vision referred to throughout the story, and providing rather disappointing answers to the central mysteries that he had laid in through the past few books. In particular, I am thinking of the reveal of the true identity of the character of Annamaria – which just comes off as hollow and unsatisfying given the amount of buildup and her increasingly annoying cryptic remarks. There’s just a feeling of Koontz going through the motions and just wanting to wrap up the book and move on, especially as the ending of Odd dying and being reunited with his lost love, Stormy, in the afterlife, was pretty much a given anyway (in my opinion). It also feels like a book of wasted opportunity, as well – the plot sees Odd returning to his hometown of Pico Mundo, the setting of the very first book in the series; and while we are reunited with old favourite characters like Chief Wyatt Porter and Little Ozzie, there are other characters who are merely mentioned and not actually interacted with by Odd, which is a crying shame. The nostalgic setting is there, but Koontz’s execution of it just rings a little hollow. It doesn’t help that the majority of the book seems to be taken up by Odd alternating between running and hiding in dark, indistinct settings, with the intermittent setting of his hometown carnival to occassionally remind you that yes, this is taking place in Pico Mundo. I chided at Koontz a bit for this in the previous review, but again in this book it just feels like that far too much of the page count is taken up by long, rambling descriptions of where Odd is currently hiding, viewing the villainous members of the satanic cult he is on a mission to take down from a distance, and all too often it feels like that not all that much is actually happening, which makes the rushed resolution all the more jarring. This also presents another issue – this cult is not given a whole lot of identity besides their evil plot, and lacks a central figure to serve as a real antagonist (the closest it comes is in the form of the woman who stabs Odd’s hand, therefore leading to his death- it just feels a little cheap that our protagonist’s death is set in motion by a randomly introduced character).
Don’t get me wrong, however- this is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book at all. There’s sprinklings of the offbeat humour the series is known for here and there, and it did keep me gripped most of the way through (but perhaps mainly in the hope that it would pick up and things would begin to be explained a lot sooner than they actually did). And I did feel myself getting a little choked up upon reading of Odd finally reuniting with Stormy, and also the eplilogue which takes the form of an extended eulogy from the perspective of Little Ozzie, but the book still sadly fell short of my expectations. It doesn’t spoil the series as a whole – I expect I’ll be able to re-read the first few books and still enjoy them regardless – but it does have the feeling of the journey being more engaging than the eventual destination (and even then it is a long, bloated journey that gets a little lost along the way)
As much as it pains me to, I will have to give this one a mere 2/5. I may go back and review the ‘Odd’ books that I haven’t yet covered on this blog at some point, so watch out for those 🙂 Did anyone else complete the final book and find themselves left with the same feeling of disappointment? Or do you disagree with my view entirely? Be sure to let me know!
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