@nick: my dad has some koontz. i'll check him out (the author, not my dad). i finished my first Pullmann book, as mentioned above. it kept me up until 2 sunday night after all, so it's not tragic, but i still don't see many original ideas or character development or stuff that makes me have feelings. but there's something i want to say to rahvin and all people that share his tastes - no, not those tastes. bears have a very important role in the second half of the story, so you might want to read it. actually, the second most positive character after the lead (a child) is an armored bear, but i won't tell more, lest people accuse me of striking fear in the hearts of men.