Saint Odd was a bitter-sweet book for me to read. It’s hard to provide a perspective on a book that culminates an eight-book series, so I think I’ll start with the basics. For those who love the series and are familiar with Koontz’s style, you will find this book to be what you’ve been waiting for. Like Odd’s fortune-teller card, Odd Thomas was a promise. I won’t spoil anything for readers, but I feel this book fulfills the promise.
It had to have been 2004 or 2005 when I read Odd Thomas. I was already a big fan of Dean Koontz (more on that later). So when a dear friend (hi Sean!) mentioned how much Odd Thomas touched him, I put the book in my “read soon” stack. I actually have a stack of books. It never has the same titles, but I like to motivate myself to read by looking forward to what I’ll get to read. Tangent aside, I started reading Odd Thomas, and finished reading it in less than two days. I wept at the end. Odd Thomas is, to date, one of only, at most, three books I’ve cried after reading (All the Weyrs of Pern and A Memory of Light). That book alone would have pushed me through the other seven.
What I like about the series:
The dialogue and wit of this book is always amazing. I’m quite frankly jealous of these aspects of the series.
The characters are so wondrous. There are those who may argue that Odd is very similar to some other books from Dean Koontz. I don’t know that I can openly argue that point, but I can say this: I can name some five or six characters from the Odd Thomas series. I have 20 books by Dean Koontz in my library (whenever I buy a new stack or don’t have anything to read, I read one of his books). I can’t name that many characters from the rest of those 20 books. Odd Thomas is a truly singular character that any reader or hopeful author should be ashamed to have failed to meet.
What I don’t love so much about the series:
For the record, I don’t hate anything about the series or this book, but there are things that I think fans of Koontz just have to accept.
The magic system (I use this term to describe the supernatural abilities Odd exhibits through the series) seems a little middling to me. I know some of the rules, but those rules bend a little more than I’d like when Odd finds himself in a pinch.
Like a lot of Dean Koontz novels, he revs the readers up to a climax, hits them and leaves them on the ground wondering the name of whatever vehicle hit them. Saint Odd is no different. One moment, I thought I was in the middle of the book. The next, I was reading the end. This makes for great pacing, but I found myself wanting more resolution than I got. I feel this is a common issue with Koontz. It works to a degree. The reader is dragged at a breakneck speed through a witty, compelling story. But I always find myself a little off.
I will say the series as a whole did a much better job with foreshadowing than some of the other Koontz books.
All in All:
I didn’t weep at the end of this book. But I did get choked up. I smile as I write this because it’s not Odd’s way to want tears for his joy or sorry (remember, no spoilers). Saint Odd is a beautiful conclusion to a fun series of books. I don’t think any in the series will touch the magic of Odd Thomas, but does anyone really forget the beginning of a great story? I think the power and character of the original novel was so unique, any book from any genre would have trouble holding up. But I feel this last book was perhaps the second best (I hold a special place in my heart for Brother Odd) in the series.
I read Koontz first to enjoy a good story, but I consider Koontz to be a fine study as authors go. His character and dialogue are (perhaps arguably) second-to-none. I consider Dean Koontz a model to follow in these areas, and the Odd Thomas series is, in my humble opinion, the best of his work. Saint Odd put the finishing touches on the proof of that statement.