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Bookends: Fantastic events pile up in sequels and prequels December 29, 2013

Posted by klondykewriter in Bookends.
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Bookends: Fantastic events pile up in sequels and prequels

By Dan Davidson

May 29, 2013

–  854 words –

 

Odd Interlude: A Special Odd Thomas Adventure

By Dean KoontzOdd Interlude

Bantam

304 pages

$9.99

In Odd Thomas, Dean Koontz has created a character capable of carrying a series but drawn in very simple terms. Thomas is not brilliant. He would like nothing better than to be the fry cook he was when we first met him, or even a shoe salesman. The problem is that he has certain abilities and they lead him into adventures he would rather not have.

He sees ghosts. They don’t talk to him but they always seem to want something from him and his actions sometimes help them to move on. Lately his constant companion is a ghost dog.

He has the strange ability to find anyone or anything that he sets his mind to finding.

This novel, originally released as a three-part novella, takes place immediately after the events of Odd Hours, during which he foiled a plot to sell nuclear weapons. In that book, he made friends with a mysterious woman named Annamaria, who seems to have the ability of communicating with animals, notably coyotes.

Leaving Magic Beach, the scene of the last book, they stop for the night at a motel and cabins place called Harmony Corner, where something is seriously wrong. It’s not long before Thomas realizes that some kind of mind control is making the people here do nasty things to each other and that the same force is trying to control him.

How this all works out involves more of a mad scientist plot than these books generally get into, but Koontz has worked this type of thing into his standalone novels.

New to the Odd books is the adding of another narrative voice, that of Jolie, the pre-teen member of the Harmony family. Hers is a lightly different inflection, but close enough to Thomas’ to remind of us of how young he is. Particularly enjoyable is her relationship with the artificial intelligence that controls the underground bunker in which she sometimes hides away from the voice.

This was an interlude. The next book, Odd Apocalypse, will surely continue the development of Annamaria and lead us into further mayhem. This one, however, was a bit of break from the sort of world saving situations that Thomas seems to trip over, and it was a good bit of fun.

 

 

Clockwork Angel

By Cassandra Clare

Margaret K. McElderry BooksClockwork Angel

512 pages

$14.99

 

Cassandra Clare is the pen name of Judith Remult, who made her start as an author writing fan fiction for the internet based on her favorite books, the Harry Potter novels and the Lord of the Rings. This apprenticeship in fantasy writing served her in good stead when she produced City of Bones, the first of her Mortal Instruments trilogy in 2007.  She continued that series in 2011, but at the same time she began exploring the history behind the present day saga of the Shadowhunters with the Infernal Devices trilogy, of which Clockwork Angel is the first book.

As with the original trilogy, we begin with a girl, an outsider who has no awareness that she has been born with exceptional abilities. Tessa is a shapeshifter, though she has not been raised as such and has no idea of her powers until she is kidnapped by some strange women, the Dark Sisters, after she follows her brother from New York to England.

As an outsider, Tessa has no knowledge at all of the Shadowhunters, the angel anointed race of superhumans whose task it is to protect humanity against vampires, werewolves and other creatures that go bump in the night. Rescued from her captivity by the precocious young shadowhunter William Herondale, she is take to the their citadel and introduced to their life.

Tessa, as it turns out, has been lured to England in order to become the key sacrifice in a plot by an unknown magician known as the Magister. That individual has created a horde of clockwork minions (hence the title, which should perhaps have been Clockwork Demons instead) and requires Tessa as part of a plot to steal a magical artifact that will give his creations independent clockwork life.

In these books we have moved back in time to the Victorian era and the story is fairly littered with references to writing from the period, including having one of the main characters named after that famous opium addict, Thomas De Quincey.

The story is full of plots, counter-plots and deceptions. One of the major ones is fairly obvious to everyone except the people who ought to have figured it out sooner, but some of the others are suitably tricky.

There is, of course, a romantic subplot, for what would a gothic style fantasy be without one? The younger central characters in this book are quite similar to those in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and many of their motivations seem to be the same, but the story is still fun and the pages (or screens, in my case) do keep turning.

 

-30-

 

 

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