The only reason I picked this book up at the library was because the insert flap, about a man who lives in exile under a city and a woman who soon finds a strong bond with, reminded me a bit of the 1980’s television show “Beauty and the Beast.” But I’m honestly not even sure why I bothered finishing this book and the only reason I’m guessing is because I wanted to see exactly what it was about the main male character, Addison, so despicable for others to look at
The setup is that Addison has been living under the streets of New York for years because whenever someone sees him, especially when they look into his eyes, they feel a loathing so intense that the situation becomes life threatening. Then he meets a woman named Gwyneth who decorates herself like a harlequin stylized marionette and can’t stand to be touched. Since they are both so eccentric they get along swimmingly but be warned, any conversations they have are halted and stilted and just plain boring.
One of the issues I had a problem with was the pacing of the story. The writing was so verbose that it took forever for the story to progress, especially since every other little “chapter” was a flashback. And then all the pieces, the supernatural elements that were thrown together. There are smoky or ghostly figures, bad ones Addison calls Fogs and good ones he calls Clears whose main purpose seemed to be to inform him when someone was really corrupt or something major was going to happen. The story of the psychopath murderer who was obsessed with marionettes and the marionettes end up chasing Addison and Gwyneth down.
And now for the spoilers!
Approximately fifty pages to the end the reader discovers that, with absolutely no warning, that there’s suddenly a virus on the loose that’s going to kill pretty much everyone on the planet. But low and behold the thing that sets Addison and Gwyneth and a few other kids they’ve found along the way, is that they have no Original Sin. That’s why people always want to kill them because when someone looked at them they saw all their sins reflected back upon them and they didn’t like it. But wait! This anomaly also means that Addison, Gwyneth and the kids are pretty much immune to any disease. Oh goodness. It was like reading several different stories, that had nothing to do with each other, all wrapped up in one and then Koontz decides to throw in a distinction level event but oh yeah the main characters get to survive it all. Groan.