Not Trying to Impress | Devoted Review

The story of Devoted by Dean Koontz follows the tale of a boy and a dog. The boy, Woody, has a mental disability while the dog, Kipp, is highly intelligent and can communicate telepathically with other special dogs through The Wire. The two are thrown together once Kipp learns that Woody is also able to use The Wire.

As Kipp journeys towards the boy, Woody has a run-in with a Dark Web murder-for-hire group. His mother is likewise busy with her own problem: an ex-boyfriend who is mutating into something very dangerous.

The story has Koontz’s normal charm and wisecracking characters. It is full of the same dry humor he has in all his books. But, the story had way too many main characters for me to follow. There was Woody, his mother, Kipp, Kipp’s guardian, the evil boyfriend, the corrupt sheriff and his girlfriend, the coroner, and the man who rescues Kipp from animal thieves. The chapters also kept jumping from character to character making it hard to follow and remember who was doing what.

It was strange how the bad guys all seemed to finish each other off. They were undone by their own greed or thirst for power. It wasn’t a bad strange–I kind of liked it–it was just unusual…unexpected. I thought the villains would continue to harass the protagonists; but nope, they died at the hands of their co-conspirators or competition. It kind of made it feel like it was some kind of karmic justice or cosmic justice especially since most of the villains said that justice didn’t exist. But, it did make it feel like the protagonists didn’t do anything except sit around and discuss events. It kind of made the book move a little slow.

I enjoyed the black and white nature of the story–the good characters were good and the bad characters were really bad. There was no feeling sorry for the villains; no cheering for them; nothing but disgust. That is one interesting motif in Koontz’s books; he doesn’t have villains that are misunderstood or somehow justified because they are doing it for “the greater good.” His villains are monsters; they have no redeeming qualities.

One problem I had is that the book seemed to have no climax; it felt like everyone’s problems were just magically solved. It felt like someone snapped their fingers and all the foes, character weaknesses, and problems were whisked away. I felt like there was this build up to something and then it just sputtered out.

Even with the book’s strangeness and issues, the story was enjoyable. I still worried about each protagonist throughout the story. None of the protagonists seemed safe; anyone could die at any moment. Also, it was a nice change from the zombies and doom and gloom of other books. The story had doom and gloom, but it also had hope. It showed that there is light in the dark. I could also see that Koontz was telling his story and not altering it in order to reflect the latest trends. It gave off a feeling of “this is my story, and I’m telling it my way.” The story was not trying to impress anyone. 4.7/5

Have your read Devoted? What did you think? Have you read any other Dean Koontz books? What did you think of them? If you haven’t, what type of books do you enjoy? Any recommendations?

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.


Smashwords End of Year Sale Dec. 18-Jan. 1

A Quiet Review

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I decided to see what all the hype was about and check out A Quiet Place, a movie about a family trying to survive a world where creatures hunt by sound.

I enjoyed the fact that you actually saw the monsters. They weren’t these blurry objects that moved around and you might catch a glimpse of an arm. Or all you ever “saw” of the creatures were thumps and hissing noises.

The creatures looked pretty awesome. They definitely looked like something out of a nightmare. My problem with them was they had the typical long, thin, blade-like arms and legs that seem to be trending in the monster world. They also had the retractable/opening face and the teeth looked they were too big for their mouth. But I loved how they moved like wild animals; and when they moved slowly in order to sneak or hunt, it just added to the creep-factor.

img_2674Even though there were many stereotypical horror movie moments, such as the monster in the room with the baby, there is one thing that made this movie stand out: the people weren’t complete idiots. They still did stupid things, but reasonably stupid given the situation, for the most part (minus the mother not taking care of the exposed nail and the daughter having temper tantrums while killer monsters are attacking).

I did find it a bit hard to shallow that the mother wasn’t more concerned for the daughter once the creatures attacked the home. But at the same time, she was about to have a baby.

Another feature that made A Quiet Place different from other movies was the jump-scares. Normally, you can tell something scary is about to happen because it’ll get quiet or the music will change; but when the movie is already quiet, you can’t tell if it’s normal quiet or jump-scare quiet. I found myself jumping at things I normally wouldn’t have.

And since the movie was quiet, I could hear the noises from around the theater and from outside it. So any time someone would shift in their seat or someone in the lobby would say something, I’d jump about ten feet.

My last main problem with the movie was them taking so long to figure out the monsters’ weakness. I thought that this weakness would have been exploited pretty early on. But, I figured that by the time people learned the creatures hunted by sound, the monsters had become too much of a problem for armies and such to get coordinated.

All in all, the movie was a great horror movie. It had lots of scares, some spooky looking villains, and even a bit of hope for survival. The characters seemed smart but not so much that the plot never happened. I felt like the characters had a chance to survive but not so much that I felt like it wasn’t tense.

I’d give A Quiet Place a 4.7/5.

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Joe Rover eBooks are available at many fine retailers.