In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight

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Odd Henry

So I finished the Odd Thomas books a couple of days ago and I'm not sure exactly what I think. Overall, I liked the first book quite a bit and I liked the last book as well. It's the two in the middle that are giving me some serious issues. The basic plot runs like this, a guy named Odd Thomas has the ability to see dead people. In fact, he's accompanied everywhere he goes by the ghost of Elvis (well, up until the end of the third book where Elvis leaves and Frank Sinatra tags in). In addition to being able to see the dead, he can also see...well, the best comparison is to those little black crawly things in Dead Like Me who kill people. He calls them Bodocs. I think that's how it's spelled. One of the obnoxious things about listening to books instead of reading them is it's really hard to figure out the spelling of some words. Anyway, Bodocs don't actually kill people. They just tend to stick around whenever there's going to be a mass casualty event and munch on demonic popcorn and cheer.

As you can imagine, because of these two abilities, he tends to get into all sorts of crazy issues. The most endearing part of the character is that despite his special abilities, he is preternaturally down to earth. It'd be hard to write up a more humble, self-effacing, average Joe sort of character. He even calls every single person 'sir', which I find sort of fascinating. I thought about it a few days ago and realized that I've never called anyone sir in my life. At least, when I wasn't affecting a military posture for a gag. I don't think I can call someone sir or ma'am. It's just not wired in me and would stick in my craw. It somehow seems sort of degrading to go around 'sir'ing people. I have no problems with being polite but that just seems to take things a step too far.

Anyway, my problem with the middle two books is that they both seem to spend a lot of time running around in circles. I get to the end with this feeling that not much of anything has really happened and yet a huge amount of wordage has been spent. The timeline for both books stretches less than a day each. Actually, it's probably more like 12 hours, if that. There's a lot of internal monologue and sometimes you just wish that something more would happen. The most recent book, Odd Hours, is the first that seems to have started a multi-book plot arc, which was about time. Things were getting a bit too episodic for my tastes and I was hoping for something bigger.

Whenever I read a book about someone with an ability like a two-edged sword, I always wonder if I would be willing to have it. Frankly, I don't see many upsides at all about seeing fucking dead people all over the place. I'm not usually a timid person, but I do have a well-developed startle response and it's not fun. Still, that would be balanced out by having absolute knowledge that there is an afterlife of some sort. Wouldn't that be a bonus to know that there is life after death? it?

Would you want to know for sure if there were life after death?

Only if there were
Only if there weren't
I'd want to know either way
I woudln't want to know either way
Tags: book club, book club: dean koontz, poll

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