Lost Souls (Frankenstein #4) ★★★☆☆

lostsouls (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Lost Souls
Series: Frankenstein #4
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 402
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Victor is alive. Or at least, his replacement clone is. But Victor 2.0 isn’t quite the same as Victor Helios. Victor Immaculate, as he calls himself, doesn’t want to replace humanity now, he wants to destroy it. If he can do that, he’ll have negated Scripture, thus making him more powerful than God.

With an array of new replicants and a new type of human called Builders, Victor sets forth his plan to begin exterminating humanity in a small town in Montana. With key officials replaced, the Builders can begin feeding on the towns people and begin the cycle of death and destruction.

Michael and Carson, now private eyes with a baby girl named Scout, realize that they have more to lose than ever. Scout means more to them than their own lives. When Deucalion comes calling telling them he has a hunch that Victor is alive, they don’t want to believe him. Then Erica Five, who has been living in a small Montanna town, calls Carson and tells her she has seen Victor. Now Michael and Carson have no choice. If they want there to be a world for Scout to grow up in, they must go out and do battle once again.

We also follow various townspeople from Rainbow Falls as things begin to go downhill. A vagrant and a special needs man, both in jail but for opposite reasons, survive the first wave of Builders’ feeding and must work together to stay alive. An old man and a young boy, both in the hospital, must depend on each other to escape the hospital, which has become a major center for the Builders. Two X-Files style FBI Agents are also in town chasing down rumors that The Money Man, a shadowy figure, will be in town and they mean to nab him.

Everything is set in motion for a climactic battle for the survival of Rainbow Falls and the world itself. Then the book abruptly ends. Like a meat cleaver right down the middle of a carcass of a cow.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this novel much more than the previous one and it was all set to be a 3 ½ star book. Then came the artificial ending. It was obvious that this book and the next, titled Deadtown, are really one story but due to length was cut in half. However, that cutting was done with all the finesse of a drunk butcher, who was blindfolded and who was told that one of the slabs of beef hanging in his freezer was really a pinata and to have at it. No resolution of any kind, no story arc completed, just full stop. That is bad story telling and it pissed me off. So I knocked that coveted ½ star off. I sure taught Koontz a lesson with that!

Besides that grievance, I did like this. I didn’t give it much detail in the synopsis but we really spend more time in the town of Rainbow Falls with various townspeople than we do with either Michael and Carson or Deucalion. That worked well as the Koontz definitely goes into “horror” territory more than in some of the previous Frankenstein books. How the Builders consume people is something else. There was one instance of where a church group was locked into a building and when some Builders were let loose and the replicants were watching, almost every single adult in the group pulled out a gun. The replicants were all killed and some ex-soldiers led the group out. It was great. God, guns and guts (ie, courage, not literally guts. With this book, there might be some confusion, hence this awkward, longwinded and rather unnecessary explanation)

The X-Files guys, (one of whom is named Dagget for goodness sake!!!!), play almost no part beyond being introduced and giving the reader a tiny bit of info.I suspect they’ll play a bigger part in the final book with how everything gets cleaned up.

Given how quickly the storyline for Victor Helios was wrapped up in the previous trilogy, I suspect the next book (which is also the final book in this series) is going to follow the same pattern. Koontz definitely has a paint by numbers plan for this series. A special needs child, the badguys beginning to fall apart on their own (evil consuming itself), etc, etc. It’s not a bad formula, just a bit obvious.

I chose not to read the final book immediately, due to my reading setup, but for anyone else, I’d recommend they read the first trilogy all in one go and then this duology in one go. I suspect it might make the overall narrative less choppy feeling if each story arc is read as one big book.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

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The Last Town (Wayward Pines #3) DNF@18% ☆☆☆☆½

lasttown (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Last Town
Series: Wayward Pines #3
Author: Blake Crouch
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF/Thriller
Pages: 308/DNF
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

DNF @ 18%

 

My Thoughts:

“And what he saw, he didn’t know how to process”

…….

“A string of indelible images.”

…..

“In the middle of Main Street, a large abby on top of Megan Fisher, violating her.”

 

Enough. I will not read stuff like that.

☆☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Dead and Alive (Frankenstein #3) ★★☆☆½

deadandalive (Custom).jpgThis review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Dead and Alive
Series: Frankenstein #3
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 372
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Victor Helios’ empire is crumbling. His new humans are all going insane, or changing in unexpected and uncontrolled ways. Murderous rampages, multiple genetic reorganizations, it is not good news for Victor. Then he gets a call from Wife #4, who he killed. Only she’s not dead, but alive and well in the dump and the creature that brought her back to life wants to confront Victor and destroy him.

The two cops, buddies slash romance partners, whose names I can’t even remember, are in touch with Deucalion and just drive around until it is time to meet up at the Dump. They have a “spiritual” moment, witness the end of the Victor and then get married, have a baby and start their own detective agency.

Deucalion steps through shadows, gets in touch with the freed new humans at the Dump and witnesses the end of Victor.

Victor denies that anything bad is happening, allows himself to be captured by the freed new humans and then dies. This sends a signal to some satellites in the sky which transmits a code and all the new humans, including the Dump Monster, die. Even though the coded deathkey didn’t work when Victor spoke it earlier.

 

My Thoughts:

This was a mess of a story. Everything was so rushed and completely unbelievable. That is coming from within a story about Frankenstein for goodness sake. And don’t give me crap about “Frankenstein’s Monster”. Koontz might sidestep it by calling him Deucalion, but since the series title is Frankenstein, yeah, I rest my case.

These books started out interesting, with Victor Helios being one bad ass badguy. The newhumans were real threats and things looked grim at the best. But Victor pretty much going insane and believing his own reality instead of what was actually going on really wrecked the whole villain vibe. I am hesitant to assign a motive to Koontz but I wonder if he was simply trying to show how pride can blind and ultimately destroy even the most brilliant being? I know that Koontz is Catholic and the parallels with Satan are unmistakable, but am I reading my own ideas into this? I simply don’t know.

Cop1 and Cop2 have guns, guns and guns and super ammo and only get to fight against two insane newhumans. Both of whom are naked. Cop2, the male, makes a big deal about the newhuman woman being naked. It didn’t quite get into slimeball territory but it definitely didn’t fit with “The End of Humanity as We Know It”. If you’re running for your life, are you really going to notice how tight some woman’s butt is? Especially when that woman is covered in blood, running faster than your car and trying to kill you with her barehands? If so, you really, really, really need to check your priorities.

There are 2 more books in this series and I do plan on reading them. I just hope they are standalones so that Koontz can pace himself a little better. As a trilogy I wouldn’t recommend this series but I’ll wait until the final book to see if this book was just the weak link or indicative of the overall direction.

★★☆☆½

bookstooge

 

 

Wayward (Wayward Pines #2) ★★★☆½

wayward (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Wayward
Series: Wayward Pines #2
Author: Blake Crouch
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF, Thriller
Pages: 324
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

* SPOILER ALERT *

I am usually not one to worry about spoilers in my reviews. However, this series seems to be predicated on the reader not knowing what is going to happen. As such, just giving fair warning that this review will spoil the heck out of the book. I will take the last paragraph to sum up my feelings without spoilers.

 

 

Synopsis:

There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Ethan Burke. He knows all the secrets of Wayward Pines and knows what David Pilcher is keeping from most of the residents, that they exist 1800 years in the future and that humanity is extinct and the world over run by mutant aberrations.

But when one of the residents turns up dead, stabbed and then drained of all blood, AND she was secretly working for Pilcher, Ethan has a real mystery on his hands. When it is revealed there is a group of people in Wayward Pines who are part of a secret society, Ethan must infiltrate them.

Ethan might be toe’ing Pilcher’s party line of secrecy but when he reveals the truth to his wife and finds out that the children of the town are being brainwashed into thinking Pilcher is a god, Ethan must decide. Lies, deception, murder and safety? Or truth, honesty, trust and the chance of annihilation at the hands of the abbey’s?

The book ends with Ethan successfully revealing the truth to all the town’s residents and Pilcher, in revenge, turning off the electric fence that surrounds the town. Talk about a frakking cliff hanger!

 

My Thoughts:

Wow, wow, wow. I am very impressed here. After the roller coaster of the Pines, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I got was a couple who wanted truth and freedom more than comfort and security. Dang, we need more books with people making hard choices like that. I’m not sure I felt “inspired” after reading this, but it sure was close.

Anyway, this took place in just a couple of days. It was kind of a whirlwind experience. Burke has to investigate a murder that ends up leading back to Pilcher, figure out how to tell his wife the truth without getting them all killed, take back his son Ben from a school system that is obviously brain washing him AND somehow let the whole town know the truth of their situation without getting them all killed or sending them into suicidal despair.

There was also a very small side story about one of Pilcher’s men who has been out wandering the wilderness, figuring out how to survive amongst the abbeys. Of course, it is revealed that he’s Ethan’s former boss and Theresa’s lover while Ethan was in cold storage. Talk about a drama just waiting to explode and destroy everything! I expect the final book to be rather explosive.

I really liked how Ethan took charge and let the whole secret out of the bag. Consequences or Pilcher’s wrath be damned. This was the whole “Live Free or Die” mentality that I like so much about my state. Sadly, it’s not everyone that can handle it, as most of the United States today proves. * very sad face *

So why the 3.5star rating? Here’s my issues. If the whole human race degenerated in a mere 2000 years, then the humans in Wayward Pines only have 2000 years until their descendants degenerate. Actually, less than 2000 since they have a much smaller gene pool. Throw in “millions” of abbey’s and that number shrinks to probably 1 generation. Pilcher has spent billions of dollars just to play god for 30 to 40 years? The bigger issue for me was how the book ended. I’d classify it as a mega-cliffhanger. The whole town is now open to the abbeys as part of Pilcher’s fit of pique? It didn’t bother me as much as it might have because I have the final book and the choice to go immediately to it or to wait. But since the whole trilogy wasn’t written all at once, it would have totally pissed me off if I was reading these as they came out. Not cool.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, just as much as the first book and I am really looking forward to the final novel in this trilogy.

★★★☆½

bookstooge

 

City of Night (Frankenstein #2) ★★★☆½

cityofnight (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: City of Night
Series: Frankenstein #2
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 482
Format: Digital Edition

 

 

Synopsis:

Victor Helios is stepping up his campaign of the overthrow of the world with his newmen. Unfortunately for him, some really weird things are starting to happen with his newmen and even though he doesn’t realize it yet, he’s losing control. They are changing, mutating, becoming something completely non-human.

Deucalion is still hamstrung by his inability to harm Victor and so his use of police detectives Carson O’Connor and her partner Michael Maddison continues.

Victor sends some of his assassins after Carson and her autistic younger brother but things don’t go as Victor planned because one of his creations managed to get to them first and put them on guard.

The book ends with the group planning on how to assault Victor and not unleash the wrath of the newmen who have replaced so many key officials in New Orleans.

 

My Thoughts:

This series is one I am glad I didn’t read as it came out. Each “book” ends on a serious cliffhanger and without a lot of resolution. It is really more one big story that has been artificially chunked up into 5 separate books. Knowing that I have it completed and just waiting for me to read, I don’t mind nearly so much. I’m actually reading the omnibus edition, but reading over 1500 pages all at once is just a bit more than I want to deal with. Plus, it’s easier to review 5 smaller chunks than one huge thing like that.

This time around there is no small time villain like in the previous book. It made the cops’ part feel not as needed. A lot more time with the newmen happens and we see some of the happenings as they change. It is wicked creepy and yet perfectly illustrates how evil always turns on itself and destroys itself.

The threat of the newmen is also made a bit more evident in this book. There was at least one incident where the newmen assassins (a couple where the woman is going crazy because she wants a baby but Victor created them unable to have children) simply walked through a hail of 9mm bullets. Being very familiar with the 9mm, as I own a Sig-p938 cbt, it really brought out just how dangerous these beings were. Not immortal, not invincible, but not something that a regular police force could handle. A race of super villains as it were.

Both Carson and Michael come to the realization, and acceptance, that to stop Victor, it will probably cost them their lives. That is a sobering thought to me as a reader. It also makes me want to cheer for them even harder. Heroes.

The ending with the group planning to assault Victor’s secret lab really amped up the tension for me. The lab is filled with newmen, but it is also starting to fill up with the mutations, all of which are wicked nasty and give even the newmen a run for their money in the violence department.

I really wanted to just jump into the next book right away, to see what happens. But I know myself well enough to not start down that path again. I’ll get to the next book in a month or two. That wait won’t hurt me and will help temper any excitement and expectations I may have for book 3.

★★★☆½

bookstooge

 

Pines (Wayward Pines #1) ★★★☆½

pines (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission 
Title:
Pines
Series: Wayward Pines #1
Author: Blake Crouch
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF, Thriller
Pages: 315
Format: Digital edition

 

* SPOILERS *

I am usually not one to worry about spoilers in my reviews. However, this book is predicated on the tension created by the main character, and hence the reader, not knowing what is going on. So read further at your own risk. I’ll make the last paragraph a quick summary of how I felt about the book without any spoilers so you can have something to read if you’re worried about spoilers.

 

 

Synopsis:

Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke wakes up next to a river. He stumbles into town, apparently called Wayward Pines, without much memory of anything. He is taken back to a hospital where it is revealed to him that he and his partner were hit by a mack truck and he left the hospital without permission. Little things aren’t adding up though and Ethan’s inner self keeps warning him.

Alone, with no money, no weapons, no vehicle, no way to contact his superiors, Ethan must survive whatever is going on at Wayward Pines. He does remember that he was tracking down some other secret service agents who disappeared after investigating Wayward Pines.

When he comes across his ex-partner, who is now inexplicably aged 30 years and runs into another woman claiming to be from the 1980’s, Ethan is completely confounded. Then when it becomes obvious that the road doesn’t lead out of the town and all the ways out on foot are fenced off, Ethan knows SOMETHING isn’t right.

Ethan finally escapes, only to fall into the hands of David Pilcher, a super rich, super smart genius who has predicted the end of humanity due to gene and environmental failure. Pilcher has setup Wayward Pines as the last bastion of Humanity and it is now 1000 years since Ethan walked the earth. Humanity is no more and what humanity became, brutal carnivores that were intelligent but without enough intelligence to build a civilization, now roams the desolate earth. Pilcher deep froze his 1000 chosen in the hopes of restarting humanity and by the end of the book Ethan chooses to become his right hand man and enforcer.

 

My Thoughts:

My very first thought when starting this was that Ethan was doing some sort of cross reality transfer between blackouts, much like the main character in Ted Dekker’s The Circle series. Something was obviously off, but I had no idea what. After the second time when Ethan pulls some bone headed, gut reaction, thing, I just decided that I wasn’t going to figure out what was going on and to let Crouch chauffeur me to the end of the book, like he was going to do no matter what I wanted.

It was a very frustrating experience but not at all bad. It was meant to be frustrating and I felt so much sympathy for Ethan even while yelling at him in my head. He didn’t know what was going on and I had no idea what was going on, so I couldn’t even call him on being stupid. And he really does some stupid things. For a former military vet AND a secret service agent, he didn’t strike me as aggressive enough or willing to do what was necessary. Now, he’s injured and without money or much clothing, so some of it is understandable. But if you wake up in a town where other Secret Service agents have disappeared and even the sheriff is acting weird, you steal some clothes, some money, a car and get out. And when the road loops back and you’re weirded out, head out cross country on foot, but BE PREPARED! It wasn’t until he was being chased by the blood thirsty mob of townsfolk that he really started showing his qualities as a vet and agent.

The revelations by Pilcher about his Frozen Chosen [hahaha] and the state of the Earth was really interesting. Of course, Crouch’s assertion that humanity would e/devolve into some kind of super predator is so much bs that I knocked a star off just for that. For frack’s sake, genes don’t work that way. If there was a breakdown in the gene code, you’d simply have a massive die off of humanity. I’m a diabetic being kept alive by 1st world tech, so I fracking know. Genes breaking down would lead to massive deaths at births and any that survived would be crippled in body and or mind and would be killed off by nature in one form or another. It would NOT turn us into super predators that could survive the conditions. But with all of that, I have to wonder where the next 2 books are going to go? How do you fight a whole world over run by creatures like that?

Overall, I enjoyed my read of this; much better than his blankety blank Dark Matter and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the trilogy as I have no idea what those 2 books could possibly contain.

★★★☆½

bookstooge

 

 

Prodigal Son (Frankenstein #1) ★★★☆½

prodigal son (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Prodigal Son
Series: Frankenstein #1
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 498
Format: Digital edition

 

Synopsis:

Deucalion, otherwise known as Frankenstein’s Monster, has been hanging out at some Zen Buddhist Monk Temple Mountain Retreat kind of place. But when Victor Frankenstein, now known as Victor Helios, appears on the scene, Deucalion knows that Victor is continuing his attempts to create a new breed of humanity and replace the old with the new.

At the same time, a mass murderer has appeared and this gets the New Orleans PD involved. Carson O’Connor, the sole caretaker of her younger autistic brother, is partnered up with Michael Maddison. They are the chief detectives and their goal is to bring this scumbag to justice.

Both of these events overlap. Can Deucalion put a stop to Victor’s plan to exterminate humanity and can Carson find a killer who kills for the perfect body part? One of these gets answered and the other will take the rest of the series to answer.

 

My Thoughts:

I would classify this as an urban fantasy police procedural.

Deucalion’s part is much smaller than I had hoped. He starts the ball rolling but then just kind of disappears. Koontz writes at the beginning that he started this whole project for a tv show and it really shows. When things moved over to Carson and the serial murderer side of things, I felt like I was reading a detective murder tv show.

In many ways I felt like this had the supernatural side of things that was missing from Koontz’s Odd Thomas series. Victor Helios is truly one scary guy and while he’s supposedly dabbling in super science, it really comes across as “magic”. Victor is cruel, intelligent, ruthless and so dedicated to his view of Materialism that it blinds him to anything else. This introduces certain flaws into his character and weakness that can be exploited.

There is a much longer story arc going on. I liked that the serial murder case was solved. It gave a good ending so I felt like I had actually finished a book. Yet the arc dealing with Victor and his plans to overthrow humanity seems big enough to fill the rest of the series with no problem.

I enjoyed my time reading this and look forward to the rest of the series. This is my second foray into Koontz territory and so far I’m pretty pleased. I always thought of him as second rate Stephen King horror wannabe but these books are showing me just how wrong I was. He’s writing some good thrillers.

★★★☆½

bookstooge