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Frankenstein: Book Two, City of Night-Dean Koontz

In Book Reviews, fiction, horror on September 6, 2010 at 12:10 am

Frankenstein’s Monsters Are Coming Apart At The Seams

Book Two of Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein trilogy, City of Night, picks up where the first novel, Prodigal Son (see review of Book One here), leaves off.  Deucalion, the original creation of Victor Frankenstein (now called Helios), knows he must stop his maker from taking over New Orleans with his replicants and creations. But he can’t kill his maker because of his programming–he cannot commit deicide.  Deucalion is helped by two New Orleans police officers, Carson O’Connor and Michael Maddison, who in the second book no longer doubt that Victor Helios is a madman and has created a race of people, many of whom are at the highest levels of power in the city, such as the police captain and the district attorney and his wife.  O’Connor and Maddison have to be rogue police officers to stop Helios.  He knows about them and has ordered his hit man and woman to kill them.

Book Two is better, in my opinion, than Book One of the series. It moves faster and the characters are more interesting. Deucalion continues to impress the reader as a thoughtful, almost soulful character, and the police duo are great together.  I find myself hoping they finally get together by the end of the trilogy.  In addition to these main characters, the supporting characters are more interesting also.  Helios’s new wife, Erika 5 (the fifth incarnation of his wife) is new to the world, but Koontz writes her as a woman who is too strong for Helios.  She withstands his painful beatings during sex (which help him get off), but she feels humility (programmed into her for more sexual pleasure for Helios) which leads to her wanting more from life, just as with the first four Erikas.  The ability to feel emotions, which Helios only includes so he can humiliate her, means she will eventually hope and want more.

The other supporting characters are primarily creations of Helios.  Throughout the book, these creatures are suffering from a breakdown in their code.  Whatever has been programmed into them is coming apart, causing them to be uniquely human in their behavior.  They all want to kill, something they have been bred not to do, except for those who Helios created specifically to be murderers. But because of the breakdown in their systems, they have begun to want to kill.  They also have begun to want to end their lives, something else they have been programmed not to do.  It is in this area that the book is particularly successful as Koontz has Deucalion as their savior; he is the one creature who can give them peace by taking their lives.  The parts with him spending time with the creations before he releases them from their hell of living the hollow lives they must are touching.

City of Night is good enough to make me want to continue to the end of Koontz’s Frankenstein trilogy. He still constructs the book as if it’s for those who suffer from ADD–again he begins a new chapter each time he changes character perspective.  But his characterization of the three main characters has me wanting to see what happens.  I dread reading to the end of the final book in the series only to find out that Deucalion dies; he has become a profoundly interesting character, who I wish Koontz would spend more time on than the other, more minor characters.  In addition, the police couple of Carson and Michael have become quite good also.

Koontz’s second Frankenstein book is enjoyable as a thriller, but it is also good as an examination of what makes us human.   This is the question the trilogy explores on a deeper level.  Through the breakdown of Helios’s creations from perfect beings to mere beings that behave like humans, the reader is forced to think about what is humanity.
–Alexandria

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  1. […] this series ends on a lackluster note for me.  The second book, City of Night, is the best in the trilogy, with the first book unsatisfying in its ending and the third book […]

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