I probably haven’t read a series since high school, and though it took 5 weeks to read this one (all 5 books), I’m glad its over. First a bit about the series itself – Book 1 and 2 were brilliant! I was drawn into the story and its characters and Koontz was quickly becoming one of my new favorite authors. Book 3 was the worst in the series when I first read it.
However, Book 4 quickly replaced it when the series moved to Montana and a whole array of new characters was introduced. Book 4 was pretty much a floater, as all of its storylines are continued in the final volume. However, Koontz has a problem with really stretching out his storylines and repeating himself, only to lead you to a conclusion that wraps up in a final chapter of two and half pages. Talk about feeling cheated.
Now, my review of Book 5. The majority of the book is divided between our new replicants – the Builders and the Communitarians – and several characters who are trying to survive and escape. Bryce and Travis, our old man/young boy team, from Book 4 are still in search of Travis’s mother and team up with one of Bryce’s friends. We also have the slap stick team of Nummy the dummy and Mr. Lyss the fugitive on the run.
New characters include a group of radio station workers who are preparing to broadcast news of the attack across the town. And there’s also a group of religious cowfolk riders who grab their guns and prepare for battle, along with Carson and Michael.
Sadly, our married detective duo who had played such a huge part in the other 4 books are overshadowed by everything else going on here. We also still have our FBI team, briefly introduced in Book 4, lagging along in this one with still no real intent or purpose. And for some reason, a new country singer and his love interest are introduced over halfway through the book.
Don’t forget Jocko and Ericka V are still around too! Oh yeah, and Deucalion is still time traveling and hunting down Victor. Yep, it’s a whole grapevine of storylines which Koontz pushes along to a dull conclusion. He really should have stuck with the characters back from Book 3 which had been there since the very beginning and utilized them more rather than introducing all of these minute characters who still don’t serve a major purpose in the plot.
Victor, the clone, now goes by several other names but spends all his time in his underground bunker taking tablets and capsules and observing the breakdown of his replicants via large monitors. The replicants, especially the Terminator-like Builders, were intriguing at first but every chapter seemed to repeat all their details over and over again.
Koontz also tends to repeat a lot of details from the previous books. Sure, doing this from time to time to give explanation to something important is okay, especially for someone who might be reading the books out of order. But telling me every single time how Deucalion got his facial tattoo is unecessary. Everytime I had to read chapters about Communitarians stopping to clean things drove me crazy and made me want to throw the book across the room! Too much filler!
There’s also too much focus on these minor plotlines instead of focusing on Carson, Michael, Erica, and Jocko who drove the entire first three books. Instead, Koontz resorts to focusing on the characters we don’t care about and literally wraps up Carson and Michael’s story in about three sentences on the very last page. Let’s also not forget Deucalion’s dull confrontation with the new Victor, which also ends in a matter of a few paragraphs!
Looking back, I’m not disappointed with the series as a whole. It was a fun and quick read and I enjoyed finishing a 400 page book every week and moving on to the next. It really lost steam for me in Book 3 though and was all down hill from there. Having finished this series, I’ve now only read 6 Koontz books (2 if you count Frankenstein all together as a whole). I’m definitely going to read more. But as other reviews of his work suggests, his older work seems to be much better as far as characters and plot development goes.