Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Review: ODD APOCALYPSE by Dean Koontz

Odd Apocalypse“Their faces melt off their skulls. And their skulls turn black when the air touches them, and all their bones block. And then the black blows away like soot, there isn’t anything left of them.”
ODD APOCALYPSE is a novel of nightmares, the most 'adult horror' to feature Odd Thomas yet. The latest instalment breathes a breath of rancid air to the series, sure to fear and induce night terrors. Koontz' creations share some similarities with the conceptual monsters of 77 SHADOW STREET - perhaps not in likeness but purpose. The emphasis on the grotesque masquerading as plausible beings brings a new dimension to Odd's gift and broadens his influence as dictated by him being drawn to unearthly spirits in need.
There is a distinct episodic feel to the Odd Thomas novels, with ODD APOCALYPSE sufficing as a stand-alone pit stop for Odd in a similar fashion to the Odd Interludes (think of the format behind the DEAD MAN novellas). That said, Koontz makes many references to the first book in ODD THOMAS and subsequent events that take place through to ODD HOURS. This added a real sense of continuity that I thought missing from ODD HOURS, however, Koontz seemed to have completely ignored the events of the Odd Interludes - I kept wondering where the super AI computer was, the assistance of which, in Odd's latest drama would've been well received in my opinion.
ODD APOCALYPSE maintains the mystery behind the omnipresent pregnant Annamaria, a plain yet spellbinding young woman who speaks in tongues and riddles while conveying infinite wisdom. Despite Annamaria having a lesser presence in ODD APOCALYPSE I was pleased with her portrayal and happy that Koontz maintained the allure and mystery surrounding her character.
The place-setting is one dimensional (on face value that is) - a mansion set upon a vast land sectioned off by a wall. Roseland is not you're average house of horrors for Koontz blends a mixture of the paranormal, supernatural and sci-fi into the waking nightmare Odd and Annamaria find themselves. The idea borrows elements from many books (including Koontz' own catalogue) but concocts them so well as to feel original and as harrowing as any I've read (re: The Freaks especially).
ODD APOCALYPSE is brimming with action and tension - something that perhaps the previous instalments (the later ones, that is) have missed. It also serves well to further define Odd and brings the horror back in a big way. This is a welcome return to the series and brings new hope for further instalments to maintain the quality. The dialogue is still Odd (overtly polite) yet Koontz isn't afraid to cast a shadow here and there to give more of a edge - all round, ODD APOCALYPSE is a decent, almost 'refresher' of the series that's entertaining all way through. 3.5 stars.

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