I have officially just put the book down and I must say this little gem will be one of my favourites for a long time to come. It’s a story of good versus evil; it’s full of fantasy, mysticism, hope and love interspersed with plenty of thrills and chills.
The story revolves around Addison Goodheart (a very good name indeed) who is an innocent little boy when his mother commits suicide. His mother was not troubled by life, she was troubled by the look of her son, a monstrosity that would make anyone who would stare at him immediately want to kill him. She confessed to him that she did try to kill him when he was just a babe but her mother instincts took over and she stopped at the last moment.
He goes to the big city where he meets one like him who he then calls “Father”. Guided by the night, hiding in the shadows, never to be seen or met by anyone, he lives until he’s 26 – when on one December night he meets a girl in distress and offers to help her.
Gwyneth is a girl on the run from a sexual predator (and also her father’s murderer) and she claims she has a social phobia that will not allow her to touch anyone as she cannot bear to be touched herself.
This Goth beauty is charming and even I, on the other side of the book universe, wanted to give her a hand in apprehending her worst nightmare. Addison falls in love with her, his first friend, his first human contact in years and he wishes for a miracle – of her feeling the same towards him. It’s Romeo and Juliet against the world, though not necessarily the world as we know it – but then again, maybe it’s exactly the world as we know it.
“Love is absorbing, related to affection but stronger, full of appreciation for – and delight in – the other person – marked by a desire to please and benefit her or him, to smooth the loved one’s way through roughness of the days and to do everything possible to make her or him feel profoundly valued”
The story continues with a promise of him never touching her and she never looking at him. And throughout the book, they do just this.
I will not spoil the plot too much but I must say that the look in the past along with the continuous description of the present was a good way to do exposition while keeping the reader in the loop. Throughout, the writing is nothing short of exquisite. Every word is a treasure, creating sentences and pages that almost dazzled my mind. Mr. Koontz, I’ve always enjoyed your books. But for the life of me, I don’t know how in the hell you’re ever gonna top this one.
One of my favourite quotes from the book (I even read it aloud to one of my best friends) is the following:
THAT WE SHOULD MEET IN THE WHIRL OF LIFE that spins more people apart than together, that we should feel in each other so much that was compatible, that we should lift each other out of doubt and out of weakness into conviction and strength, that we should fall in love in spite of being unable to consumate it physically, a love that was of mind for mind, of heart for heart, soul for soul:
This rare gift was priceless.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Interesting characters and setting, but lacking that special something that makes you think about a book long after reading it. There isn’t much of a connection between his characters anymore, the story starts off strong with a good premise, but the love I felt between the characters in other books just isn’t here anymore.
Towards the end, I didn’t really understand what I was reading or where Koontz was going with the story. There were no threads throughout the book that would have led to this explanation. I am wrong – there was a vague conversation between some priests but … seriously… Armageddon? End of days? Ebola virus? Sounds too much like he is trying to be a writer of doomsday but not quite making it.
If you really wish to read about the end of days, why not pick up one of the books from this list?
Plague fiction – why authors love to write about pandemics
From Michael Crichton and Dan Brown to Shelley and Boccaccio, the theme of infectious disease is not a new affliction