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4.2 out of 5 stars133
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 10 December 2014
I had my doubts about this book, but I am glad I have read it. It is a story of a very touching friendship between a talented boy and a Japanese man, which they formed in challenging circumstances. The slightly unusual twist was that we view the events through the boy's eyes, and the boy is African-American.

Koontz did introduce some supernatural elements into the book, but it is less a supernatural story and more a story of decent hard -working people having to deal with a group of terrorists, one of whom is the boy's father. There are charming details thrown in , like a diminutive Japanese lady and her rescue dog playing detectives, or the Spirit of the City presenting the Community hall with a new piano for the boy to play on.

It is probably not the best plot ever, but it is interesting and most characters are well defined. Bad guys dangle in the air a bit. I couldn't shake off the feel that I am missing something about the chief baddy Fiona.

Despite the boy is left disabled after a bomb explosion, the story has a fairy tale ending. I must confess I quite enjoyed it, being tired of pretty ubiquitous gloom endings of the genre. So cheers to good endings!
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on 24 August 2014
Disappointingly average.

Though the characters are compelling enough, there's no 'oomph' to this at all, and it leaves you feeling almost as if Koontz can no longer be bothered to try and is essentially just going through the motions.

I'd also like to point out that this is unlike any of Koontz's other works, for it is not a horror, and could not be classed as a thriller either (it doesn't offer any thrills, for starters).

Long winded and at times tiresome and tedious, this should be avoided unless you are, like me and for your sins, a Koontz completist.
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on 12 January 2015
I always loved Dean Koontz for the way he has given us magical stories to read slowly and savour while taking our time to live inside each one of them and enjoy every moment. “The City” is a must to take time with and let the words and style tease our analytical side in order to capture the essence of one of the very best narratives in this genre.

The hauntingly beautiful story is of a young boy of ten growing up in New York during the sixties. Told from the perspective of his older self, Jonah Kirk now in his late fifties recounts how he yearned to become “a piano man” like his beloved grandfather.

Of course this mystical tale is more than a story about music and the people who make it, it has dark forces at work, nightmares and dreams come true and our protagonist finds himself often tangled with some very bad people while trying his best to make the right choices to keep everyone safe. With a master’s touch Mr. Koontz builds tension, heightens the suspense and adds the feeling of impending doom to keep us at the edge of our seat till the plot reaches its dramatic conclusion. To be honest, although this book is beautifully written and has good characters it lacks the supernatural and horror some may look for. This apart, the narrative is held together with the amazing language and with this we can easily forgive all the faults we can find.

I zipped through “The City” in no time it was that captivating.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 September 2014
Presented from the view of an old man back to memories of his childhood, The City is quite a different tale from Dean Koontz. The characters for the most part are well written and there is some emotional commitment from the reader. But there are also a couple of wooden characters in the tale also. The story for the most part is a mystery with a bit of magical juju thrown in for some reason (this part I found odd, as it didn't really add to the story for me). It follows the exploits of Jonah Kirk in the 1960’s as he comes to terms with his musical gift and explores his family and friends. Some parts of the tale touch upon areas such as the internment of the Japanese Americans in the US and it does this in quite a touching way, but the flip side is that there are other areas that are quite one dimensional (Jonah’s father & his friends).

I enjoyed reading this, but it had ups and downs rather than constant thrills – there were never any really scary bits, and there seemed to be a lot of sugar coating of life but overall it was a good read. I’ll probably not read this again, but I've not done that since some of the earlier (1985-95 period) of Koontz’s work.

Recommended as a slow, feel good read without a huge amount of drama.
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on 28 September 2014
Awful book, what has happened to the Dean Koontz I have loved for many many years. I once rated him higher than Stephen King but no longer understand where he is coming from. I started to doubt him with the 'Odd Thomas' tales which I really don't get at all but this latest sad effort was without any redeeming features whatsoever. Pointless plot ridiculous premise, and didn't understand the concept of the personification of the city at all, why? Feel as though I have lost an old friend, bring back the Dean Koontz who wrote Midnight, Watchers, etc that's all I can say.
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on 13 August 2014
Dean Koontz is my favourite author because I love the way he uses his characters to explore mystery - the mystery of the world within which there is something so intriguing if we only take the time to look.

The City has its dark plot, its wonderfully described characters that are so easily brought to life and its delicious mystery of something more. It is sad and it is beautiful and is deeply thought provoking. I would love to have known Amalia more.

This author's work just gets better and better. I don't give spoilers but will say that this story is fantastic and highly recommended.
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on 10 August 2014
An intriguing tale, beautifully written and very polished and why only 3 stars I hear you cry out.

To be brutally honest, it is too well written, too polished and refined and lacked any real sense of urgency. It really pains me to write anything negative about the author, after all I'm a lifelong fan of his work and generally know that anything he writes will be incredible.
Normally you know that a Dean Koontz book will be intense and nerve-wracking, that it will have you on the edge of your seat and constantly looking over your shoulder from start to finish. Further more when you've completed it, and are ready for bed, you'll be unable to turn off the light, without first checking all doors and windows are secure and nothing is hiding under the bed or in any nooks and crannies.

Sadly this really fails to deliver on that score.

Is it an interesting tale? Yes

Is it well written? Yes

Is it crap your pants scary? No

Would I recommend the book? Only to die hard fans. Anyone who hasn't read anything else by the author I would advise to read some of his earlier books such as The Bad Place, Cold Fire, Lightning, Watchers, Shattered, The Mask, The House Of Thunder, Phantoms, Darkfall or any of the Odd Thomas novels are all far better places to start.

A little disappointing and certainly could have been so much better.....
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on 3 February 2015
Having been an avid fan for many years I was extremely disappointed with his new book "The City". A 500 page novel that only begins to get going after 400 pages. The style is irritating where the main protagonist behaves as if talking to a reporter. Where are the gripping story lines that were so evident in his early works such as Phantoms and Whispers.
Koontz's obsession with name dropping Jazz players is self indulgent and tedious.

Not recommended at all
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on 13 May 2015
I usually try to summarize the book before I write what I think about the book. This know what...For a moment I failed to see the point with this book. Eh anyway, I will give it a try; Jonah is a young black boy, a musical prodigy that thanks to visions and a women called "Miss Pearl" will try to stop a criminal gang.

This book was not easy to read and it's not easy to write about, mostly because I found the books story lacking. It wasn't badly written, just not interesting. It's the kind of book that takes longer time to read the unusually because part of me just found the book dreary and instead of reading I do other things, even the other books I'm reading at the same time suffers because of it since my mood to read is low.

I still don't understand why "Miss Pearl" is helping Jonah. I mean there must be many violent crimes committed in the city, why him? Is she often helping people, or is it just him? Damn it, I don't understand Miss Pearl and neither did I found her that interesting. It would have been better if he just would have stumbled on the criminals without visions and help from "Miss Pearl". Than it would at least have been an ordinary thriller instead this weird book with a hint of paranormal.
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on 2 November 2014
I really enjoyed this book. It is different to his usual way of writing, not so dark. It made a refreshing change to the Odd Thomas books too. There is a multi-layered story here. Yes, you have good against 'evil', but it is also about finding belonging and connections in a place where autonomy reigns - where you don't need to be related by blood to really care and love others, it is about family and friendship. It made me laugh and it made me cry.
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