Book Review: Saint Odd

I consider Odd Thomas to be one of the greatest books ever written, and the character who shares the name to be one of the greatest characters written.

So it’s only natural that I’ve read all the novels, the “interlude” novella, and the prequel short story. It’s only natural that I’d wait impatiently for the moment I could get my hands on the final novel, read it voraciously over the course of the next day, and immediately start tapping out a review.

So, how was it?

About how I’d expected. I loved some things about it, found others lackluster. Some things surprised me, others were just as I’d expected.

After the first few pages, Odd felt like Odd. Following him felt natural and right, as he returned to Pico Mundo. The voice was familiar and comforting, and in places the tension had the same familiar build that drove the early books so relentlessly, so effectively.

The book had several problems, though. The series-long tradition of retcon was firmly in place here, sometimes being just as obvious and cringe-worthy as that in Forever Odd, the second book in the series. In addition, the callbacks to the original novel–of which there were many–felt cheap and forced in many places.

All of that, every last bit of it, could have been forgiven. There were moments of true brilliance in this novel. Moments when it felt true to the original, or even better, when it felt like an honest continuation of the story, and an honest evolution of the character.

But then, the ending.

The last fifteen pages felt like they were only put through one solid draft and never revised. They felt like a summary of what happened, rather than prose SHOWING what happened. They felt lazy and rushed. I felt apathy from the author. And what else could I feel in return but apathy, and perhaps a little sadness?

The book got done what it needed to get done. It didn’t RUIN the overall series. But by no means did it belong in a series with the first novel.

Saint Odd is worth a read ┬áif you’re a die hard fan of the series, who must know how it ends. But if you’re a casual fan, just stick with the first three books. A cynical part of me says to stick with just the first one.