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What I’ve been Reading, July 2020 Edition II

A library


What is this? A second July 2020 what I've been reading? Maybe I have been consuming a bit more literature lately. The coronavirus has, after all, kept me closer to home. The second batch of escapism I'm sharing with you is two examples of mashed up genres and an exemplary historical novel.

I've had this book on my shelf for several years after picking it up used from my critique group. More than once, I was tempted to pawn the book off to Friends of the Library or the equivalent organization. I'm happy to say I didn't. The book, despite a cover and name that didn't appeal to me, is quite good. It has the potential to be great even, notably a strong and unique voice for the flawed, sympathetic, and downright tough as nails protagonist. I think where it falls short is in the mashing up of genres. In this case, fantasy (urban fantasy, perhaps most appropriately..?) and something close to a police procedural. Both aspects of the book are done well, but the resulting synergy falls short. Still, I'm tempted to read more of the series, and I'm glad I read this book both for the entertainment value and for insight on how one writer combined genres.

This is the first novel I've read by Dean Koontz. Of course, I'd heard of him and have intended for some time to read one of his books. Well, that day finally came recently. Several genres are mashed up in Devoted: fantasy, horror, and thriller. The result is remarkably effective, but not quite great in my estimation. A couple issues made me personally find this book hard to read and made the ending a tad of a letdown. First, one of the chief antagonists is genuinely a horrific character. So much so, some of his scenes are a little too disturbing for comfortable reading. Although I didn't appreciate the scenes as a reader, I understand that the scenes are masterfully done as an aspiring author. Second, the aforementioned antagonist doesn't make an appearance at the climax of the book. Personally, I found this disappointing. I really wanted to see how the characters might handle the supernatural baddie. Having said all that, I might be tempted to read another novel by Koontz, especially one of his better-known endeavors.

Cornwell continues to amaze with his portrayal of the protagonist Uhtred. This character is astoundingly wonderful. The series is one of the best reads out there. Highly recommended.


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