At twenty-two, Bibi Blair’s doctors tell her that she’s dying. Two days later, she’s impossibly cured. Fierce, funny, dauntless, she becomes obsessed with the idea that she was spared because she is meant to save someone else. Someone named Ashley Bell. This proves to be a dangerous idea.There’s no denying Koontz has a rare gift of an uber imagination. (Oddly, he uses “uber” a lot in this book.) But I get the feeling he’s just showing off now. I love how his novels weave the mystical, religious, and sixth-sense kind of thing. But this one was a reach, and a long one. Did I mention the book was long? It’s almost like he was bragging about being a writer with an out-of-this-world imagination and drawing it all together. His sermons on fiction were a little over-bearing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I read it. It was different. His talent for plotting is rare. I wish I had it. If I did, I’d write a lot more and shorter books.
I thought the Washington Post summed it up well:
By then, my view of the novel had progressed from an admiring “What lovely writing!” to a weary “What pretentious hokum!” There’s much to treasure in magical writing, but “Ashley Bell” is hardly an example of the style at its best. Still, one reader’s hokum is another reader’s happiness. I imagine that countless Koontz fans will delight in Bibi’s strange adventures, and I’d be the last to begrudge them their pleasures.Goodreaders give it a 3.6 of 5. B&N’ers slightly lower at 3.5. The10-point Haugenometer only gave it a 6-.