Author: Dean Koontz
Published by: Bantam
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Here is the riveting, soul-stirring story of Jonah Kirk, son of an exceptional singer, grandson of a formidable “piano man,” a musical prodigy beginning to explore his own gifts when he crosses a group of extremely dangerous people, with shattering consequences. Set in a more innocent time not so long ago, The City encompasses a lifetime but unfolds over three extraordinary, heart-racing years of tribulation and triumph, in which Jonah first grasps the electrifying power of music and art, of enduring friendship, of everyday heroes.
The unforgettable saga of a young man coming of age within a remarkable family, and a shimmering portrait of the world that shaped him, The City is a novel that speaks to everyone, a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, it’s a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart.
Me and ol’ Koontz have some history. I started reading his books when I was a youngin’, like elementary and jr. high. When I was about thirteen, I frequented a used bookstore and bought every Koontz book they would get in. One day, the crotchety old owner was ringing me up and said in a mean tone “would you want your daughter reading this stuff at your age?” I told him that I would be happy as long as she was reading, period. I never gave him my business again. Then while in high school, I’d come home from a late night of shenanigans and read some Koontz will totally buzzed (I don’t recommend doing this). I continued to read his books sporadically while in college and into my twenties. So you see, Koontz has been through a lot with me, but it has been years since I’ve read any of his books. I can’t even remember what the last one I read was, so I was excited see what my old buddy cooked up for us in The City.
The story starts with an older Jonah taking us back to 1967, telling us about a life changing incident and everything that transpired up to that point. No, I won’t tell you what the incident is! But even as I started figuring it out, Koontz still managed to surprise me.
I really liked Jonah as the main character. He’s a child prodigy when it comes to the piano, so music is a huge part of his life. Even though Jonah is 10 and 11-years-old during most of the book, in no way does it feel childish. He was a really great narrator for the story.
By no means was The City a favorite of mine, but I really did like it. The first 15-20% was a bit hard to get into, but after that I was completely engaged. It wasn’t that the very beginning was bad, it’s just the way Koontz set the book up. It seemed like unnecessary information, but I knew better. Once I got through the initial setup, everything started falling in place and I was hooked.
Throughout the book it may seem like it veers off and gives unnecessary information about characters at times, but there really is a point to everything. I love how he pulls it all together and we see how everything is connected. I love when a story is put together like a puzzle.
The supernatural aspect isn’t a major factor that is used a lot, and I really liked that. The City is more of a mystery/thriller with a supernatural push. It was pretty cool though, what ‘The City’ actually was and how she helped Jonah.
I loved how Koontz transported up back in time, giving us a real feel of what was going on in the world. I really enjoyed all the historical tidbits Jonah discussed, even though I could see how some might find it a bit on the boring side.
There are quite a few secondary characters that are important to the story, but I think Mr. Yoshioka was my favorite. The friendship that he and Jonah formed was very enduring. Then there is Malcolm and Amalia, his best friends. I loved these two. They are brother and sister with a dynamic I fell in love with.
Overall, I liked The City, and it was great to be reminded why I used to read so many books by Koontz.