For the past few years I have been working my way through the Hugo and Nebula novel winners. Recently, I took a break from Sci-Fi and selected a book from the World Fantasy list. Last night, I finished reading Koko, by Peter Straub, recipient of the 1989, World Fantasy award for best novel.
Now I’ll start by saying I am not an English major or the best source for a novel review – or perhaps even a good source. I’m simply a guy who reads a lot of sci-fi, and strayed a little from his usual path. Having said that, here is what I thought of Koko.
First, I enjoyed the book. I read some books in just a few days (The Hunger Games), and other books take me months (Red Mars). This was somewhere in the middle. At times, the book slowed a little and the plot became slightly confusing, but over-all the story kept me engaged. The characters were interesting, well defined, and by the end I was ‘cheering for the good guy’ .
If you are at all interested in Vietnam stories, then this book should bubble up on your list. It definitely carries strong, ‘Platoon-like’ references to the Vietnam War. Most of the story, set in current times, revolves around events that happened to the main characters while in Vietnam and their continued struggle accepting those events.
Koko is a solid, who-done-it, action, and mystery novel. Without giving too much away, a crime is committed and a group of friends from Vietnam attempt to find and confront the ‘bad guy’. Along the way, they also confront their past and encounter a few surprises.
To summarize, I did enjoy the book. I got into the characters, and enjoyed a few plot twists that I had not seen coming. If you like suspense, a little mystery, and a good post-Vietnam story, then it’s a great book. If you are looking for more traditional Fantasy or Sci-Fi, then it might not be for you.
As always, leave a comment and let me know what you think.