Saturday, April 4, 2009 By: Suzanne

Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz

I listened to Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz in the car. There have been few audiobooks I've listened to lately that I didn't at least like a little. This one made me want to slam my car into the ones closest to me at high speeds. Seriously, I used to like Dean Koontz, but I think lately he's simply trying too hard. It' not working. From the back of the box:

At thirty four, Internet entrepreneur Ryan Perry seemed to have the world in his pocket - until the first troubling symptoms appeared out of nowhere. Within days he diagnosed with incurable cardiomyopathy and finds himself on the waiting list for a heart transplant; it's his only hope, and it's dwindling fast. Ryan is about to lose it all...his health, his girlfriend Samantha, and his life.
One year later, Ryan has never felt better...Then the unmarked gifts begin to appear - and the chilling message:
Your heart belongs to me.
Ryan is being stalked by a mysterious woman who feels entitled to everything he has. She's the spitting image of the twenty-six year old donor of the heart beating steadily in Ryan's own chest. And she's come to take it back.

Ok, I went against what I said in my last review and typed out most of it because in this case, not only do I not care if I give too much away (I don't think it does) but I also need someone else to explain the story so I could launch straight into why I don't like this book.

Like I said, I think Koontz is trying to hard with this book. He is obviously trying to write in the style of Edgar Allan Poe. It was obvious throughout the book, that he was trying to write a book that was not only mysterious but creepy and with a message at the same time. There's even a character who is a fan of Poe. It's a very big moment in the book. One where Ryan begins to make sense of some weird happenings. It just annoyed me.

The problem was he kept trying to explain the message. If there is a message in the story, readers are not stupid. We'll see it. We'll get it. Stop telling me what the message is. Also, the book is peppered with too many instances of Koontz trying to be clever with the language, to the point that it was distracting and I kept rewinding parts so I could write it down and find out if I was right (no, that doesn't really make sense) or if I was wrong (actually, that word does work there but you didn't know this obscure definition). So here are some examples and you tell me if you think I'm right or wrong:

1. Her "eyes were lustrous with grief."
I can't explain exactly why I think this is wrong except I don't think that's how lustrous should be used. Stars are lustrous with the light the shine down, eyes can shine when reflecting light but lustrous seems wrong. I might be reaching on this one but definitely not the next.

2. The "night was narcoleptic."
The night can not be narcoleptic. A time of day cannot have a disorder that makes it fall asleep instantly.

3. "He had narrowed his many possible futures to this one aneurysm in the time stream."
Ok, I about ran off the road when I heard this one. Really??? Here's the definition of aneurysm: A localized widening (dilatation) of an artery, vein, or the heart. At the area of an aneurysm, there is typically a bulge and the wall is weakened and may rupture. The word "aneurysm" comes from the Greek "aneurysma" meaning "a widening."
Koontz actually contradicted himself and I don't think he knows it.

4. "Light shaped the room, smoothing every sharp corner with a radius."
I looked this up just to make sure, but in NONE of the definitions of radius does it make it synonymous with curve, which I think is what he means here.

There were several more before I started writing them down, but I simply couldn't make myself listen to the beginning again just to get them for you.

Another thing, the girl that is after him talks about a type of religion in China that has been outlawed and many people are going to prison over. He calls this "Falanga." I might be spelling it wrong, so please let me know if I am, but all I could find when I looked this up was torture:
Noun1.falanga - a form of torture in which the soles of the feet are beaten with whips or cudgels
Koontz makes it clear he's naming the practice that sends these people to jail not the torture they receive once they get there.

The thing that really did me in was the end. Ryan's big "Ah-ha!" moment comes when one of the other characters tells him he needs to "offer yourself as a victim all the rest of your life" in order to set things right in his life. WHAT??!! I realized later what was probably meant was for him to live his life for other people instead of the selfish way he had been living. This does not mean being a victim. Those are completely different things. Then at the end comes the overall "meaning" of the story. It was just so arrogant and self serving I couldn't believe it. It basically boiled down to this: I now know the meaning of life and am going to tell you what it is. You should listen to me because I lived through my horrible experience only so I could pass this on. That means I know what everyone else needs better than they do.

Uggghhhh, I apologize to anyone who might have read and liked this book. I am very harsh in my criticism of books I don't like. I welcome all comments, good and bad!


Kristi said...

I gave you an award - You can pick it up here!

Ruthanne said...

The aneurysm quote made me chuckle.

I love your brutal honesty about books (except *cough* the books I like - lol)! :D

Anonymous said...

Dean Koontz is usually a reliable good read for me so I'm sad to hear how much you didn't like this one. I think I may have this one around here somewhere, but haven't read it and I'm not going to go looking for it now ;) Thanks for the biting review. Loved it!

Tonya said...

I used to love Dean Koontz but his last couple of books have been a big disappointment for me.