12 March 2021

Review: Elsewhere by Dean Koontz

Elsewhere by Dean Koontz book cover
* Copy courtesy of Harper Collins *

Elsewhere by Dean Koontz is a father and daughter novel starring Jeffrey Coltrane and his daughter Amity. A homeless man by the name of Ed gives Amity's Dad a device for safekeeping. Ed tells him it's the key to everything but warns him never to use it, promising it will only bring misery and terror.

Naturally this wouldn't be a Koontz novel if the device wasn't used, and the action kicks off from there.

The key to everything is actually a device that ports the holder to an alternate world, or parallel universe. As expected, there is a cashed up black ops group who will do anything to obtain the key and a chase ensues. Will Amity and her Dad survive?

The plot is 'nothing new' but eleven-year-old Amity is undoubtably the star here. She is courageous and smart, with most of her learning coming from books which gained instant appeal with this reader. As a result of Amity's shared love of reading with her father, much of the book is very meta when they refer to stories and what happens to the heroes and the villains. Like this example from Amity:
"People in stories were always preparing themselves for the worst, which rarely happened. When the plucky girl or the stalwart hero died, then either the book sucked or it had deep meaning. Nobody wanted to read sucky novels, and those people who wanted deep meaning didn't want it in every damn story." Page 223
I enjoyed this shared love of stories, however the fact that Jeffrey was called Jeffy throughout the novel quickly got on my nerves. It would seem I have very little tolerance for names like this for an adult character.

Having said that, Elsewhere was an action packed palate cleanser and something a little different to my usual reading fare. Here's Ed's perspective:
"Understand, many timelines are as hospitable as this one, some even better. But across an infinite multiverse of worlds, you can find all the evil realms that humanity has imagined - and some beyond imagining. I'm burnt out on travel. I haven't the nerve for it anymore. My heart can't take it. I was a pacifist once. A pacifist! I'm not anymore. I am armed. I can kill. The things I've seen...they've changed me. I don't want to be changed more than I've already been. I don't want the multiverse. All I want is a home, books, and the peace to read them." Page 174
In reading Elsewhere, I could just as easily have been reading a Stephen King novel with an examination of fate, destiny and love forming the overarching themes. Of course, the characters encounter more than their fair share of danger and horror in some of the multiverses they visit and the threats they face, bringing the overall lessons learned into sharper focus.
"Life was an infinite library of stories, and in every story, a girl such as Amity learned an important lesson, sometimes more than one, whether she was a highborn child of royalty or a milkmaid." Page 352
Elsewhere by Dean Koontz is an action packed science fiction novel about parallel universes and it was a good read.

You can seize this book at Booktopia.

My Rating:

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