The House at the End of the World
I'm new to Koontz, and so I went into this book blind. I just know Koontz is a best-selling fiction writer. I read no other reviews, and I'm not even sure if this books is representative of him at all.
Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Notes While I Read
Since I most recently read John Grisham, he'll have to be my reference point. Both Grisham and Koontz are easy reads, but whereas Grisham describes things matter-of-factly, Koontz turns up the poetic dial just one level:
"The boathouse door is locked, as she left it. Inside, the cabin cruiser remains belayed, snugged against the rubber fenders. Water softly chortles. The floating slip creaks where its cracked decking meets the gangway. She steps outside, locks up."
One thing I noticed is that the chapters are super short (like 2 pages or so), yet he names them all! It's not '1', '2', '3', etc., like actual thought-out names. Naming is hard, so I give credit there. Plus one point, Koontz!
Under 100 pages in
So far I've learned about a protagonist named Katie who has purchased an island property to live a secluded life. She spends her days painting and tending to the property (and drinking wine). She also will investigate a little of the history of the island by learning about the previous residents of her property.
After witnessing some out-of-the-ordinary behavior at a larger island a couple of miles away, Katie soon has to face the fact that things are affecting her island home as well.
The book is a slow revelation of what is happening to Katie now, on her island, while her fortress of solitude has been breached, as well as learning how she ended up here, on this island, and living like a prepper, in the first place.
Under 200 pages in
So far (about a fourth of the way in) I've enjoyed not knowing yet if I'm reading a book of horror, of science fiction, of government conspiracy, or of paranoia. I feel Katie's fear and her strength, and I'm intrigued with her story.
We learn a little bit about another nearby island. Things are getting crazy. I'm getting some answers about what genre I'm reading. It's a mix of science-fiction with some tingly scariness.
Under 300 pages in
Things have gotten nuts, so I looked up some information about Dean Koontz. It turns out he's known for being a horror writer - I can see that. This book is definitely horror mixed with some government conspiracy and survival-against-all-odds themes. I can see how Covid influenced some of this story, or maybe he just thinks like this all the time. I also keep envisioning Venom, the Spider-man villain, as the villain this story, too, which is referred to as Moloch. There are some strong similarities. I'm looking forward to seeing how this wraps up.
So nothing about this ending surprises me - things are relatively neatly wrapped up for Katie. Ever since hearing about the incident of something on her roof snooping around, I thought, "Oh, she's going to meet and take in a child, and in so doing will find new reasons for living a full life." While that roof incident wasn't a child, we do end up meeting Libby, who then meets Katie, and there we go.
I have found that it's fun to meet the characters, and learn the setting. I really like that the three islands all ended up being related. While I appreciate Koontz's writing style for character development, and building tension, once the action starts, there's some descriptions around the 'fusion' that I just couldn't follow. And the monster chase stuff I don't find interesting, but I get that for Koontz's audience, maybe I'm the odd one out.
Everything just wrapped up so neatly. There's Katie's judgment about whether or not to kill Zenon while on Jacob's Ladder, and she chooses not to. But then has to do so like 20 minutes later after it's clear that he's a literal monster. Same for Zenon's grandmother - we conveniently hate her therefore don't care about her death.
I think I'm done with Koontz for a bit.