5 stars out of 5
Eloquent. Thought-provoking. Simple. Complex.
How do I love thee? Those are just some of the ways. Without doubt, this is one of the best, most beautifully written books I've ever read. I couldn't wait for it to end, yet I kept clinging to the hope that it wouldn't.
To be sure, it's a story of good versus evil; it's full of fantasy, mysticism, hope and love interspersed with plenty of thrills and chills. It's Romeo and Juliet against the world, though not necessarily the world as we know it (but then again, it's exactly the world as we know it. It is narrated by Addison Goodheart (an allegorical name if ever there was one), who was born with a countenance so abhorrent to the "real" world that a mere look at him brings out an instant killer instinct. He lives in the shadows of society - the very bowels of the city, in fact - venturing forth only in darkness with his adopted father who shares his disfigurement. Then on one fateful night he meets Gwyneth, a young woman who herself is a fugitive from normal life. Totally unlike him yet totally like him, she, too, tries to make her way through a world that would destroy her if given half a chance.
Throughout, the writing is nothing short of exquisite. Every word is a treasure, creating sentences and pages that almost dazzled my mind. Mr. Koontz, I've always enjoyed your books. But for the life of me, I don't know how in the hell you're ever gonna top this one.
Innocence: A Novel by Dean Koontz (Bantam, December 2013); 352 pp.