Lightning by Dean Koontz

Summary from Goodreads:

A storm strikes on the night Laura Shane is born in 1955, and there is a strangeness about the weather that people will remember for years. As the dazzling blue-white jagged bolts of lightning split the heavens, a stranger materialises out of the raging blizzard to guard Laura from the not so tender mercies of a drunken doctor and ensure her safe passage into the world, before disappearing back into the night. Eight years later, Laura meets her mysterious saviour again, when he saves her from the perverted and deadly intentions of a drug-crazed robber.

Throughout her childhood, even more terrifying troubles beset the young girl, but with increasing courage, she finds the strength to prevail - even without the intervention of the stranger.

In time she marries and has a son, while also finding success as a novelist. Gradually the memory of her strange guardian and the troubles of her youth dim in the light of her happiness. Until the lightning strikes once more and shatters her world.

This time the stranger has become the angel of death. As Laura flees with her young son, Chris, she knows she must prepare for the final confrontation that will come with the powerful forces that stalk her. The adventure - and the terror - has only just begun.

WARNING: May Contain SPOILERS

As you get into the book there are two things that the reader will want answers to. One, is the identity and nature of this Mysterious Guardian (who also happened to to blonde, blue-eyed, and gorgeous) and his motive for constantly saving a girl named Laura Shane. Second, who is Laura Shane? Why her? 

Okay, in the first part of the story, while we already get introduced to the Mysterious Guardian, as he pops up in Laura's life as her savior in one or three occasions  a chunk of it is all about the life of Laura Shane. We follow Laura's tumultuous childhood. A childhood with memories of death, drug-crazed robbers, rapist, irresponsible and terrible adults and authorities. But she prevails after all of these things. Thanks, in part, of course, to her Mysterious Guardian. And also because Laura has what we call, the fighting spirit. Soon she grew up into a headstrong, beautiful, smart young woman, with writing as her profession. But, even as an adult, a whole lot of trouble still followed Laura Shane.

First off, I think Laura Shane was crafted brilliantly because I found it hard not to root for her. At one point, I was so invested in her well being that I felt panicked and distressed whenever she found herself in some sort of serious predicament that threatens her life.

Next we get to the science-fiction element of this story, which to my glee, happens to specifically be time travel! Plus there is also a military-political element which grounded the story into the history of World War II. So here we have something as fantastical as time travel and then something as real and concrete as the events of WWII. But it was a wonderful seamless blend. The story managed to suck me in that I felt like the whole thing was plausible, that dreams of time travel started to pop into my head.

Lightning was written in a way that misleads the readers into thinking of an assumption which will lead them to strongly consider it to be the truth. Like say, the nature and identity of the Mysterious Guardian. I have been duped on several occasions, thinking that such and such person was him. Or when I formulated my own guess of where he came from and as to the nature of his work, which I was sure I got right. But no. I was wrong. Or when a crying Thelma called Laura and when Laura came home and Danny was no where in sight. Both occasions made me suck my breath in preparing for the worst, when in fact I had nothing to be alarmed about. Curse you Dean Koontz.

I do have a couple of issues regarding the story. For one, "Destiny" is a prominent theme in the book. To quote from the book, "Destiny struggles to reassert the pattern that was meant to be." So then it coincides with the definition of Destiny which is that of an inevitable or irreversible course of events. Then all the meddling would have been for naught because one is predestined for something or to be something no matter how hard you try to change it. Yes, perhaps the meddling can buy you time until your fate reasserts itself, as it was said in the book. Okay, so that's well and good. Bu then in the end, again to quote from the book, "Destiny struggles to reassert the pattern that was meant to be. But sometimes, happily, it fails." I got confused as to why Koontz used this whole Destiny theme only to tell you in the end that Destiny is bullocks because in fact there is no such thing. We make our own lives. A lovely idea but it contradicted his initial introduction of  what "Destiny" is. In short, this is just me being such a fussy over thinker.

I also wished that the connection between the Mysterious Guardian and Laura Shane would  be something less chummy and more substantial. But sadly, it followed the chummy route. In short, this is just me being a Valentine Scrooge. 

Overall, I say the story is pretty darned good. It is superbly engaging. I mean, it has time travel, car chases, shoot outs, and explosions! It will make you guess and anticipate and contemplate. And the time travel paradoxes will make a mess of your brains. But all in good ol' wonderful thrilling fun! This is what i love about trying an author for the first time. It's a whole new experience and I am glad that my first Koontz was electric. 

Comments

  1. Lightning isn't really one of Koontz's best novels, but it's my favorite because it got me hooked on the author. One thing I noticed about Koontz is that his his characters are either good or bad -- the good guy is absolutely good and the bad guy terribly bad. No middle ground. But that makes Koontz Koontz. ;)

    Glad your first Dean Koontz experience wasn't terrible.I was a little bit anxious how you'll find it considering I almost always fail in my book-pushing attempts haha! :D

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  2. Now that you mentioned it, you're right. You don't need to second guess the characters because you know which side they're on. No gray areas. But I think it works and fits into his story.

    Really?! Well, Gone Girl was awesome. I gave it 5/5. And for this one, Lightning, I gave 4/5. So, I say you've done well, young grasshopper! You are a book-pushing failure no more. Haha! :D

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