Book Review: Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein Book 2 – City of Night

What was to be a trilogy, but turned into a five book series, Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein continues with book 2 – City of Night. Having read Book 1 in just one week, I immediately picked up Book 2 and finished it in a week as well.  While coining books as “beach reads” is so cliche, it’s definitely true because how else could I read two 400+ paged books in two weeks?  With its short chapters and light plot development, the books might be lacking in literary merit but they are fun engaging reads.

In City of Night, we literally pick up one day later from where the first book ended and with all the same characters.  Koontz spends the first 100 pages of the book pretty much recapping everything that happened in the first.  Deucalion wants to find Victor. Carson and Michael want to find Victor. Arnie is still building his castle. Randal Six is under the O’Connor house and wants to get in to find Arnie. And the new Ericka finds herself at home alone after Victor leaves for work.

As Koontz moves the story lines along, it soon becomes quite obvious that he isn’t sure where to go and the book is probably going to build to a lack luster climax, especially since there are still three more books in the series after this one.  And I was right.  Deucalion disappears from the plot entirely for about another 100 pages, while Carson and Michael end up spending over half the book planning to get sniper guns from a well-known criminal supplier. And Ericka, much like the last one, begins to explore the house and question the motives of Victor.

New characters include another priest of the New Race.  The one we met in Book One also plays a part in this book. We are also introduced to a group of landfill workers of the New Race who are responsible for burying the bodies of New Race “gone-wrongs” and Old Race members who Victor has replaced with his minions. And the best ones yet are two assassins of the New Race named Benny and Cindi. Sadly, we also say good-bye to one of the lead characters who is killed off barely before his destiny is even met. I admit I was sad to see him go and almost felt that Koontz just didn’t know what should come next for him.

The plot builds as Benny and Cindi are assigned to kill our two detectives Carson and Michael and begin to trail them, leading to an intense climax at Carson’s house. Deucalion comes back in, meeting with the priest from Book One who informs Deucalion about Victor and brings him one step closer to finding his maker. Meanwhile, Ericka finds Victor’s secret lab and becomes obsessed with a figure inside a coffin shaped tank. Victor has his hands busy at his warehouse when one of his guards begins a metamorphosis into a new creature.  More chaos ensues as Victor’s virtual secretary begins to go out of control, and the landfill workers discover a stranger creature under all of the garbage who appears to have been created out of all the bodies they’ve been burying.

Like the first, this book is not without its dry humor which sometimes makes the characters annoying.  Benny and Cindi spend much of their time arguing about babies and sex. Cindi wants to have a baby so bad and even buys baby clothes, despite New Race members being sterile. She begs Benny to keep trying after they kill the detectives.  All their banter about sex, babies, and killing makes them so bizarre which is probably what Koontz intended.

I’d like to think that Koontz is reserving Deucalion for something much greater to come.  His scenes in this book are few and far between despite him being one of the leads. While the story does shift forward quite a bit, this book is just kind of an in-between in the series.  Victor’s New Race reign is still spiraling out of control with systems going berserk and new creatures being created on their own. There’s a surprise new character introduced in the very end which I’m sure will have a big part coming up.

Since I’m new to Koontz, I’m reading the series for myself and having fun doing it.  Old Koontz fans have had mixed feelings about the series and have said its not his best.  All humor aside, I think the plot lines about morality and the New Race members questioning their being and whether or not they have a soul are pretty interesting.  It definitely gives the series a fresh essence and shows Koontz’s ability to craft good characters.  The plot may not have much depth outside of that, but we all need a good read from time to time that doesn’t require too much thought or attention. On to book three!

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