Monday, June 30, 2014

Review- The City, by Dean Koontz

The City, by Dean Koontz
Release Date: Tomorrow, July 1st!

Book Description:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz is at the peak of his acclaimed powers with this major new novel.

The 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.

Angie's Review:

For years, I have read Dean Koontz books for their ability to terrify and excite me, but with The City, Koontz has shown that he has a lot more than than chills and thrills up his sleeves.

This is not a horror story. It is beautiful and heart-breaking and moving to a degree that I never expected.

The book is set in the tumultuous 1960s, and Jonah Kirk is our main character. He is a 10 year old boy who wants nothing more than to become a great piano man someday. His mother is an accomplished singer and his grandparents are musicians, and Jonah has a gift for playing any piece that he hears. But he is initially discouraged in his passion by his father. But that all changes when he meets Miss Pearl, a mysterious woman who says she is the soul of the city itself.

Miss Pearl seems like an angel and it is she who helps him pursue his musical dreams after his father abandons the family. But at night, sometimes she visits him and shows him terrible things that may be in the future, and as time goes by it seems more and more likely that his own father is involved in the terrible things that may lie ahead. Like a biblical Jonah, he seems to have been swallowed up by events that would overwhelm and terrify any child, but it is Jonah's task to overcome these obstacles.

Jonah is not alone, though. He is befriended by Mr. Yoshioka, a former "guest" of the Japanese internment camps. Mr. Yoshioka becomes the father figure that Jonah never really had. And he meets Malcolm Pomerantz, a nerdy kid who loves the sax as much as Jonah loves the piano. And there is Amalia, Malcolm's sister, who's love of art and architecture helps Jonah see the beauty and wonder in everything around him- not just in music. And he will need good friends, because the dark days are coming and it is not a certainty that Jonah will survive- or if he does, will he be able to go forward with his life without letting the same darkness into his own heart?

The book examines our individual choices. For everyone, there will be times of darkness- times where the world treats you unfairly, or takes from you something or someone you love. And in those times, we have the capacity to turn to darkness ourselves, or decide to persevere- even triumph over the pain and the sadness. And in this novel, it is the battle for the soul that Koontz wants you to contemplate.

There is so much beauty in this novel- from the music, to the poetry, to the descriptions of paintings, to the kindness in the hearts of most of the people that Jonah encounters. And that is the heart of this book. In dark times, it may seem that the world is full of bad people, but what we see on the news is just a fraction of what is really there, and it is distorted. This book is Koontz's way of embracing the world and saying "It will be ok. The world is a beautiful place. You just have to let in the light and banish the darkness."

I give it highest compliments. At times, this story broke my heart, but ultimately it was uplifting and comforting and spiritual, and just...beautiful. This is a must-read.

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