My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Saint Odd is the last of the Odd Thomas stories and I have very mixed feelings. It opens with Odd returning home to Pico Mundo and he believes he’s returning home to die. He’s okay with that because Stormy is waiting for him in the next life. While his love for Stormy and that stupid prophecy from Gypsy Mummy (a fortune telling booth at a local carnival) has been a common thread throughout the series it’s overwhelming in this book to the point of being creepy rather than romantic (at least to me).
Odd isn’t home for more than a few hours before there are two attempts on his life. He’s now working with a covert organization run by Ms. Eddie Fisher (from the last book but that was a couple years ago for me, so I barely remembered her) there to combat the evil in the world. He manages not to die in the abandoned mall where Stormy did die, chased by three cultists (also from last book).
He spends the rest of the book working with his police chief Porter trying to thwart these cultists, guided only by his psychic magnetism and prophetic dreams. Are they going to blow up the dam? Are they going to gun down hundreds at the same carnival that still has Gypsy Mummy (whose prophecies for Odd are blank). I did figure it out at the end and it was a nice twist with one big exception. I’ll put that under a spoiler warning.
So, the good, Odd is just a lovely character. He’s fully realized. The bad, he was too much the action hero in this, gunning down cultists (especially for someone who hates guns). This ended up being pretty draggy in parts, a bit too repetitive.
So, the ending bothered me to no end. It does feel like we could still be seeing this universe again but from the next life. Eddie Fisher and the rest seem like a lot of noise about nothing. They’re brought into the story but then do diddly at the end. It seems like a waste of world building. And seriously Odd does a lot of killing in this and some of the action scenes were far too drawn out. Overall this series was uneven. I’m glad I read it. I loved some of it. I didn’t love this, but I didn’t hate it either. I just wished it had a different ending.
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A Fever of the Blood by Oscar de Muriel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I didn’t realize that this was book two and it probably would have had helped to figure out how this odd couple got together. The best way to describe Frey and McGray is an English and Scottish Scully and Mulder respectively set in Victorian Edinburgh. Frey is a wealthy Londoner who decided to go into policing and ended up sent to Scotland for reasons I’m not entirely sure (probably in book one) but being embarrassed by his fiancée running off with his brother was part of it. McGray known as Nine Nails because his insane sister slaughtered his family and cut off one of his fingers in the process, is a Scottish detective.
The things that grated on me was the anti-English sentiment (which yes was real then and fairly deservedly but this harped on and on about it) and McGray constantly making the equivalent of dandy/gay jokes about Frey all the time left me with a bad taste in my mouth. There was an uneven pacing to some of it as well.
But there was good too. A man has escaped from the same asylum McGray’s sister is in and in fact she spoke to him, the first words she had spoken since her incarceration there. Ardglass is the son of a wealthy aristocratic alcoholic nicknamed Lady Glass because of her drinking issues. Ardglass is supposedly dead which was less embarrassing than he’s insane but is he? Ardglass is on the loose killing everyone who helped to put him away.
However, are the witches helping him or out to kill him? McGray, Mulder-like, believes in supernatural things like magic and is convinced they are real witches (in fact that’s all their division does, hunt down supernatural crimes). Frey, our Scully clone, doesn’t believe in it at all and is horrified most of the time to be partnered with McGray. Both of them are sort of whining and nasty to each other so it was hard to like either of them.
Is it really magic or is that magic science? The book is written so you can take it either way. As a mystery it is interesting and holds your attention, but it could had been tightened up. Just cutting out some of the nasty barbed banter would have shortened this fifty pages at least. Will I read another? Probably but this one is iffy for me.
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