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Devoted’s Back-of-Book Description
From Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him.
“Canine or human, it is hard to find a more lovable character in fiction than Kipp. Devoted has every mark of a classic.” —Associated Press
Woody Bookman hasn’t spoken a word in his eleven years of life. Not when his father died in a freak accident. Not when his mother, Megan, tells him she loves him. For Megan, keeping her boy safe and happy is what matters. But Woody believes a monstrous evil was behind his father’s death and now threatens him and his mother. And he’s not alone in his thoughts. An ally unknown to him is listening.
A uniquely gifted dog with a heart as golden as his breed, Kipp is devoted beyond reason to people. When he hears the boy who communicates like he does, without speaking, Kipp knows he needs to find him before it’s too late.
Woody’s fearful suspicions are taking shape. A man driven by a malicious evil has set a depraved plan into motion. And he’s coming after Woody and his mother. The reasons are primal. His powers are growing. And he’s not alone. Only a force greater than evil can stop what’s coming next.
I am a big fan of Dean Kootz but it’s been a long time since I’ve read one of his books. Recently though, a friend of mine mentioned reading this book in their book club so I added it to my list. And I thought “what better time for a creepy Dean Koonts book than October!?”
I started Devoted about a week before Halloween and finished it in under two weeks. It had all the elements I was looking for – suspense, a teeny bit of horror and gore, and a dash of science fiction.
As with most of his books, this one requires a degree of ‘suspension of disbelief’ (hence the science fiction element). Most of the setting and characters are perfectly normal, but then there’s the super-intelligent dog that can understand and communicate with people. It’s almost like an adult fairytale, complete with good versus evil where the bad guys are really bad, and the good ones are really good, and there’s no in-between.
Some of the characters were intriguing and exceptionally fleshed out, while others seemed flat and even unnecessary at times. I do think the dialogue between characters was good, though.
The plot seemed fascinating at first and definitely grabbed my attention. I mean – I love dogs, so I figured I’d love a book about them. But by the end I found myself wondering what the point of some of it was. I’m still not sure.
Some of the action/horror scenes felt a little too gory and unnecessarily crude in an effort to really drive home the point that this was an exceptionally bad character. I think this might be off-putting to some, though I imagine there are others who would enjoy it.
I also think there were parts where he spent too much time describing the setting (like the layout of houses), and not enough time on character development. Someone who I thought would remain a central character until the end sort of just fizzled out, and others who ended up being integral to the climax still felt too new and underdeveloped.
While I think it’s cool that there’s an autistic main character, I have to wonder whether people with direct, personal experience with autism would agree. For example, I’m not sure that his account of an autistic child’s experience is anything like that of real-life autistic children.
But one of the things I love about Koontz is how often I have to look up words in his books. I just love his vocabulary and how he uses beautiful, interesting words in all the right places. Devoted was no different – I had to look up at least a dozen. This might bother some people, and I think he has a reputation for his ‘purple’ prose, but that’s not something I mind personally.
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Favorite Quotes From Devoted
“[He] was embarrassed for people who believed stupid science, which a lot of them did. He was also embarrassed for people who got angry over petty things, for people who called other people names, for people who were mean to animals. For a lot of reasons, a great many people made him embarrassed.”
“The world was a beautiful place but it was full of hard truths.”
“Ultimately, failure can be the father of success if one learns from the errors made.”
“Love was the best thing when you had it, and the most terrible thing when it was taken from you.”
“It was human nature to obsess on negatives, to worry the smallest of sparks into infernos.”
Overall I’m giving Devoted 3 out of 5 stars. It was fun, exciting and heartwarming at times, and I felt compelled to finish it quickly. While there were moments that seemed a little anticlimactic and silly, I do think it was a good story in keeping with the author’s style. The few creepy, suspenseful, thriller-ish parts weren’t too scary for someone like me (who can’t handle horror), so I think they’ll be perfectly fine for others adverse to that style, too.
While this didn’t end up being my favorite Koontz book, I didn’t hate it. And I would still recommend this to people who like suspense, science fiction, and/or riveting stories involving dogs.
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