Innocence by Dean Koontz
Harper Collins (e-book), 2014
BLURB FROM THE COVER
Heart-stopping supernatural thriller from the master of suspense. Addison Goodheart is not like other people…
Addison Goodheart lives in solitude beneath the city, an exile from a society which will destroy him if he is ever seen.
Books are his refuge and his escape: he embraces the riches they have to offer. By night he leaves his hidden chambers and, through a network of storm drains and service tunnels, makes his way into the central library.
And that is where he meets Gwyneth, who, like Addison, also hides her true appearance and struggles to trust anyone.
But the bond between them runs deeper than the tragedies that have scarred their lives. Something more than chance − and nothing less than destiny − has brought them together in a world whose hour of reckoning is fast approaching.
HAVING ESCAPED ONE FIRE, I EXPECTED ANOTHER. I didn’t view with fright the flames to come. Fire was but light and heat. Throughout our lives, each of us needs warmth and seeks light. I couldn’t dread what I needed and sought. For me, being set afire was merely the expectation of an inevitable conclusion. This fair world, compounded of uncountable beauties and enchantments and graces, inspired in me only one abiding fear, which was that I might live in it too long.
I wanted to read Innocence after I read the novels preview, Wilderness a few weeks ago. I enjoyed Innocence overall but there were a few things I felt didn’t work which meant I never quite loved it as much as I wanted to. Innocence is narrated in the first person by Addison. Koontz makes this work really well. I really liked Addison’s voice. It had an alluring, hypnotic quality that I found very interesting. Innocence contains flashbacks about Addison’s life prior to meeting Gwyneth. I enjoyed these chapters because I felt back-story was important. As I read Wilderness I wanted to know who he was and where he came from. Innocence answers that. For about 90% of its 400 pages, Innocence is a fairly simple story clearly inspired by Beauty and the Beast. A lot of odd things happen when he meets Gwyneth including braking into a fallen priest’s home to burn two marionette’s made in the image of evil and watching the man who killed Gwyneth’s father and who has hounded her since then die. I enjoyed Addison and Gwyneth’s relationship developing. Things start to go badly from chapter 73. Koontz goes all spiritual and apocalypse on us and not in a good way. Addison is not deformed as we’ve been led to believe. He has been born without original sin and people want to kill him on sight because they look in his eyes and see the sin and crimes and darkness in their own hearts. WTF? Oh and there’s a plague and the world’s going to end and Addison and Gwyneth are humanity’s salvation. Oh and Addison and Gwyneth can see ghostly figures Addison calls Clears but Koontz never really explains their purpose. Oh and they get married and Gwyneth ends up pregnant with the messiah or some such nonsense. It was like reading a novel where the 80 pages had been cut out and 80 pages from a completely different book had been show-horned in. I would have loved Innocence if Koontz had ended at chapter 72 when Gwyneth’s tormenter had died. But oh no, Koontz had to have a bought of spiritual diahorrea.
The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker (e-book)