Dean Koontz’s first Frankenstein book definitely left audiences wanting more. City of Night picks up almost right where The Prodigal Son left off. With the serial killer plotline resolved, the protagonists move on to tackle their real enemy, Dr. Frankenstein himself. But before delving into this particular book, readers should know that this is very much a “Part II” story. Things are no more resolved at the end of City of Night then they were at the end of The Prodigal Son. It is pretty clear that Dean Koontz intended this to be a trilogy from the get-go, so buckle in for all three books if you want the full story.
There is a bit of a different feel to City of Night, likely since Koontz’s co-author was changed from Kevin J. Anderson to Ed Gorman. It is not blatantly different, but the subtle changes in writing are there. But while the writing is only a bit different, the story really starts to pick up here. Victor’s endgame begins to unfold as the protagonists realize just how close his plans already are to fruition. An unexpected race against the clock begins to stop the mad doctor’s plans of world conquest.
The characters are still a bit wooden here. Book 1 in a series typically establishes who these people are, while Book 2 works on who they are going to be. What kind of actions will they make in the face of this crisis? And how will those decisions and the events that unfold reshape them as people? But the dialogue is still just kind of there out of necessity. It feels stiff, not like something a real person would say. Think SyFy Channel original movies (which this trilogy would actually work as, given the plot).
Are these books fun? Kind of. Saying that Koontz’s take on Frankenstein is dull would be a stretch. But great literature this is not. I personally started this trilogy at a friend’s recommendation and do intend to keep going since I am already two books deep. But saying that this series is recommended and worth reading would also be a stretch. This series did start off as an idea for a TV show, so maybe that just did not translate well into book form. Either way, go into these books expecting some light reading (unless maybe if you are a big Koontz fan).