The City by Dean Koontz

18773627The city changed my life and showed me that the world is deeply mysterious. I need to tell you about her and some terrible things and wonderful things and amazing things that happened . . . and how I am still haunted by them. Including one night when I died and woke and lived again.

Here is the riveting, soul-stirring story of Jonah Kirk, son of an exceptional singer, grandson of a formidable “piano man,” a musical prodigy beginning to explore his own gifts when he crosses a group of extremely dangerous people, with shattering consequences. Set in a more innocent time not so long ago, The City encompasses a lifetime but unfolds over three extraordinary, heart-racing years of tribulation and triumph, in which Jonah first grasps the electrifying power of music and art, of enduring friendship, of everyday heroes.

The unforgettable saga of a young man coming of age within a remarkable family, and a shimmering portrait of the world that shaped him, The City is a novel that speaks to everyone, a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, it’s a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart. –

I honestly didn’t know how this review would go until the last day of reading this book.  We’ll start with what I knew early on – the cover of this book is stunning and would immediately draw me in at a bookstore.  That said, is it possible to really like the characters, but not care much for the story?  I’ve read numerous books by Dean Koontz, although none in the recent past, and always enjoyed them, but this isn’t the Dean Koontz I remember.

The writing was top shelf and the character development beyond reproach.  Since this was a rather slow-moving novel, the relationship between Jonah and Mr. Yoshioka, both touching and entertaining, was the primary reason I kept reading.  Some of the conversations between Jonah and his friend, Malcolm, were also humorous, although not typically what you’d hear from 10 to 12-year-olds. Somewhere around the 75% mark, I thought the story picked up a little and was anxious to see what happened at the end.  For me, supernatural elements are usually enough to keep me interested in a book and although The City had a little of that, they were few and far between and not very compelling.

I have no doubt that some readers would enjoy The City; however, they probably wouldn’t be the typical Dean Koontz fan.  Despite the beautiful cover, this isn’t a book I would have picked up without his name on it.  A review I read suggested Dean Koontz writing under a pseudonym likely would have gotten better reviews for this book and after thinking about it, I agree.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

8 thoughts on “The City by Dean Koontz

    1. I think I’ve read at least 3 in the Odd series – I’m behind – and I liked it more than this book. The City is closer to contemporary/literary fiction with a very light touch of supernatural.


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