Review: Dead and Alive

Series: Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: #3

Well that is most certainly a book. A hard one to rate at that.

On one hand, we get a conclusion of sorts of Victor Helios né Frankenstein’s mad plan to take over New Orleans (and then the world!) and replace all us flawed Old Race with his New Race… and various other critters. It’s a story that’s been quite building up for three books now and it’s great to see it come to a head of sorts.

Really, these should all have been one giant omnibus. Cut out a few plotlines and it works. At it was, they only sort of end, up until now. And even that is generous–there are an awful many plotlines still unresolved.

On the other hand, an awful lot of this book really seemed to get away from Victor’s master plan and dig more into all of the weird things that have been going wrong.

We get Harker’s … baby? of sorts! And it’s played more for laughs than anything, which I did not expect. Takes a bit away from the previous scenes, IMO. We get the continuation of security man turns chimera, which is still pretty cool and terrifying, but doesn’t really go where I’d hope. There’s some chameleon monster. Again, cool but really underused. And we get a trash dump monster. They’ve been dumping all of these horrors–and they’re designed to survive. So this makes sense. But I’m not at all happy with how it went. As it was, that plot alone needed an entire book.

On the other hand, the ‘good guys’ seem much less impactful than I’d like. Deucalion’s bouncing around causing Victor trouble, but without any really satisfying pay off (in my opinion). Carson and Michael and still delightful with the banter–and totally outclassed–but again, it only sort of goes anywhere.

I’m a bit disappointed, but I suppose at this point, I’ll give the last two books a try, although I’m curious where in the world you go from here. There’s an opening, but how do you tie them together?

An aside. After a book and a half of Arnie and Randal and autism, we get really a single line in this book:

A hand laid on him by a tattooed healer has brought Arnie out of autism.

I’m… not a fan. Especially when mentioned only in such an offhand way.

Notes as I read. Spoilers.

“She’s in a box,” Lester said. “A computer,” Deucalion said. “No. A box in the networking room. She’s a Beta brain in a box. She don’t have no body. Sometimes her container leaks, so I clean up the spill.”

… if that was mentioned before I totally forgot about it. Makes sense. In a super creepy sort of way.

“—and suddenly we’re being hunted by a legion of inhuman, superhuman, posthuman, pass-for-human, hard-to-kill meat machines cooked up by the for-real Victor Frankenstein, and they’re all in a go-nuts mode, it’s Armageddon on the Bayou, and on top of all that, you suddenly want to have my babies.”

That is most certainly a sentence.

“I’m alive. I’m alive but cannot walk. I’m alive but have no hands. I’m alive but cannot smell or taste. I’m alive but I have no … have no … have no …” Deucalion placed one immense hand on the glass that housed Annunciata. The cylinder was warm. “Tell me,” he encouraged. “You have no what?” “I’m alive but I have no life. I’m alive but also dead. I’m dead and alive.” A stifled sound from Lester drew Deucalion’s attention. Anguish wrenched the janitor’s face. “Dead and alive,” he whispered. “Dead and alive.”

Roll credits!

Her first day as Mrs. Helios had been characterized by numerous surprises, mystery, violence, pain, the death of a household servant, and a naked albino dwarf. Surely the second day, soon to begin, would be less eventful.

… I somehow doubt that.

The district attorney and his wife did not pull over, of course, because Carson didn’t have a siren or an array of flashing emergency beacons, because they probably knew they were not in any condition to pass a Breathalyzer test, but mostly because they were miscreations cloned in a lab by a narcissistic lunatic and were going haywire as fast as the average car would break down on the day that its warranty expired.

That is quite the escalating sentence.

“Let me tell you, partner, it’s gonna be a long time before you get a chance to bounce a quarter off my butt.”

“Just in case, from now on, I’m going to be sure I’ve always got a quarter in my pocket.”

“Bounce it off my butt,” she said, “you’ll get back two dimes and a nickel in change.”

“What does that mean?”

“I have no idea.”

They’re cute. And doomed. There’s no way they both make it out of this series, is there?

She squinted, straining to make out even general contours, a basic biological architecture, but the Resurrector proved to be so gloriously radiant that it shimmered just beyond the ability of her senses to define it. The torchlight in which the entity now stood seemed to cloak it in mystery more than had the shadows from which it first approached them. Carson’s initial foreboding welled in her again and quickened into fright. Her heart began to race, and she heard her ragged breath catching, catching, catching in her throat. Then in a blink, and only for a blink, she saw the Resurrector as it really was, a blasphemy, a hideous offense against nature, an abomination from which the mind recoiled in desperate defense of its sanity.

So, essentially kin to the Great Old Ones.

That’s neat. And exactly why this whole plot really could have / should have been an entire book to itself.

Erika four watched as the radiant and enchanting Resurrector moved back from the great landslide of garbage that it had instigated, and Deucalion threw the switch that delivered a death jolt to Victor at the bottom of his final resting place. She looked around at all the New Race and said, “Peace at last,” and they replied as one, “Peace.” Half a minute later, the Resurrector and everyone in the gallery fell dead as stones, except Deucalion, Carson, Michael, and Duke, who were not creatures of the New Race flesh.

So… what is in the other two books?

When the empty case opened like a clamshell, the naked man swung into a sitting position, then stepped onto the Persian carpet. The satellite-relayed signal had been a death sentence to all the other meat machines made by Victor, but by design it had not killed this one, but instead freed him.

Ah. Sneaky. I expected his original wife. This makes more sense.