Monday, June 30, 2014

[Archive] LITERAL ADDICTION's Review of The City

When he was a senior in college, Dean Koontz won an Atlantic Monthly fiction competition and has been writing ever since. His books are published in 38 languages and he has sold over 450 million copies to date.

Fourteen of his novels have risen to number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list (One Door Away From Heaven, From the Corner of His Eye, Midnight, Cold Fire, The Bad Place, Hideaway, Dragon Tears, Intensity, Sole Survivor,The Husband, Odd Hours, Relentless, What the Night Knows, and 77 Shadow Street), making him one of only a dozen writers ever to have achieved that milestone. Sixteen of his books have risen to the number one position in paperback. His books have also been major bestsellers in countries as diverse as Japan and Sweden.

The New York Times has called his writing “psychologically complex, masterly and satisfying.” The New Orleans Times-Picayune said Koontz is, “at times lyrical without ever being naive or romantic. [He creates] a grotesque world, much like that of Flannery O’Conner or Walker Percy … scary, worthwhile reading.” Rolling Stone has hailed him as “America’s most popular suspense novelist.”

Dean Koontz was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Shippensburg State College (now Shippensburg University), and his first job after graduation was with the Appalachian Poverty Program, where he was expected to counsel and tutor underprivileged children on a one-to-one basis. His first day on the job, he discovered that the previous occupier of his position had been beaten up by the very kids he had been trying to help and had landed in the hospital for several weeks. The following year was filled with challenge but also tension, and Koontz was more highly motivated than ever to build a career as a writer. He wrote nights and weekends, which he continued to do after leaving the poverty program and going to work as an English teacher in a suburban school district outside Harrisburg. After a year and a half in that position, his wife, Gerda, made him an offer he couldn’t refuse: “I’ll support you for five years,” she said, “and if you can’t make it as a writer in that time, you’ll never make it.” By the end of those five years, Gerda had quit her job to run the business end of her husband’s writing career.

Dean Koontz lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.

Keep up with Dean online at his Website, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on GoodReads.

The City

Buy from Amazon / B&N / BAM

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz is at the peak of his acclaimed powers with this major new novel.

The city changed my life and showed me that the world is deeply mysterious. I need to tell you about her and some terrible things and wonderful things and amazing things that happened . . . and how I am still haunted by them. Including one night when I died and woke and lived again.

Here is the riveting, soul-stirring story of Jonah Kirk, son of an exceptional singer, grandson of a formidable “piano man,” a musical prodigy beginning to explore his own gifts when he crosses a group of extremely dangerous people, with shattering consequences. Set in a more innocent time not so long ago, The City encompasses a lifetime but unfolds over three extraordinary, heart-racing years of tribulation and triumph, in which Jonah first grasps the electrifying power of music and art, of enduring friendship, of everyday heroes.

The unforgettable saga of a young man coming of age within a remarkable family, and a shimmering portrait of the world that shaped him, The City is a novel that speaks to everyone, a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, it’s a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart.

Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION'S Pack Alpha - Chelle:
*Copy gifted in exchange for an honest review

I am a diehard Dean Koontz fan. Outside of Poe, I would read anything Dean writes - and have - and while The City was definitely not my favorite Koontz, I still felt it deep, riveting & powerful all the same... Would I have given it a 3-3.5 for a new-to-me author, maybe, but the beautiful writing style was enough to earn that extra 1/2 skull for me personally.

I actually started out this new journey by reading The Neighbor, the prequel novella to The City, and I absolutely loved it. After completion of that, I was chomping at the bit to get to The City. When I started, I was immediately reminded why I love Koontz. Everything he writes is so different, but it all has this magical lyrical quality that draws me in. The City was no different in that regard, but it was a much slower paced novel for Koontz. There were no big crashing moments, no huge surprises, but to me it still felt powerful.

Told from the POV of the character Jonah Kirk as a narrative of his youth, it is said up front that the story wouldn't necessarily be entirely cohesive. In order to properly portray the 'tale' as Jonah saw it, he had to skip around. That statement was true, but I still found it compelling the way it was told. I can see some readers not liking that, however, and I think it did add to the slightly lagging pace, but I was still compelled to continue on.

As usual, Koontz's protagonists are willful and painted with broad strokes. They're well rounded and just special enough to make things interesting. What I sort of missed with The City was Koontz's despicable, deplorable, and utterly hate-worthy big bads. In this case it was Jonah's weak-willed dad, a semi-crazy yet utterly enchanting girl, an X-Files loving building super, and a professor, and while it was interesting how they all ended up playing into one another's schemes, it just wasn't the usual gasp-worthy antagonists I've grown to know and love from Koontz.

Bottom line, I enjoyed it. As a Koontz fan I'm glad I read it, and there were things that were utterly beautiful about it. Is it a Koontz like some of the others that I would read 2, 3+ times, no. Would I recommend it to first time Koontz readers, probably not. Do I think that there will be a subset of readers who will absolutely adore this book, yes. It's not one of his fast paced, adrenaline pumped, nail-biter thrill rides, but it was, as I said, a lyrical, deep, and riveting read.

The City

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