Tag Archive: horror


Review: Meg by Steve Alten

meg Meg by Steve Alten

Published June 2nd 1997 by DoubleDay

Buy this book at B&N / Amazon / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean’s deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom. The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he’s sure he saw but still can’t prove exists – Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark. The average prehistoric Meg weighs in at twenty tons and could tear apart a Tyrannosaurus rex in seconds. Taylor spends years theorizing, lecturing, and writing about the possibility that Meg still feeds at the deepest levels of the sea. But it takes an old friend in need to get him to return to the water, and a hotshot female submarine pilot to dare him back into a high-tech miniature sub. Diving deeper than he ever has before, Taylor will face terror like he’s never imagined. MEG is about to surface. When she does, nothing and no one is going to be safe, and Jonas must face his greatest fear once again.

 

Rating: 4 star

 

Review:

God how I loved this book, I loved it like a fat kid loves ice cream. We have all seen a horror movie that we thought “Oh man, this is just so awful! I love it!” That’s what this book was for me, a made for tv horror movie. But that’s also what made me hesitate to give it four stars. Based on the technical merits of the writing it would probably be a three, based on the story alone maybe a two, but based on how much I absolutely adored it a five would be appropriate. So in the end a 3.5 to 4 seems most fair.

Let’s get a few things straight about this book right up front. The writing is not very inventive or clever. I counted at least 3 times that the word “entrails” was used in every single scene where the shark eats something or someone. It was a bit repetitive and not very thrilling. The plot is also highly outlandish. You might just have to turn off your disbelief switch because I don’t think just suspending it will do the trick.

Though the plot was out there, I also thought it was awesome for that exact reason. More than once I just sat there with the book in my lap laughing so hard that I couldn’t see straight as the book slowly slid its way to the floor unnoticed. I couldn’t put it down because I wanted to see what outrageous thing would happen next. It was fabulous! And the ending…oh my God the ending! Give me a minute, the giggles came back. *deep breath* Okay, I’m good now. The ending was quite possibly the silliest and most amazing thing I have ever read. I cannot even fathom how such an ending came into being. I refuse to say anything else about it because it would ruin the amazingness.

Now let’s ponder for a moment on Mr. Alten’s  theory of how the Megalodon survived the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. The book proposes that the Meg’s prey were driven to the depths of the ocean by the Ice Age and given that they are warm blooded the Meg followed and then stayed there because that’s were the prey was. And by the time they had any need or desire to return to the surface they were trapped by the colder water temperatures and so have stayed in the depths for millions of years. It’s an interesting theory but it ignores several key facts about the closest living relative of the Megalodon, the Great White shark. The White is also warm blooded, and it prefers colder waters. The White is most concentrated in areas such as northern California, off the coast of Massachusetts, the southern tip of Africa. Yes they can and do inhabit warmer waters as well, but the colder water is seemingly preferred. Since the Megalodon is considered a cousin to the White shark, why would that species be much different? There is no logical reason that the Meg would have been “trapped” by the cold layer of water between the depths and the surface. It made for an interesting theory for a book, but doesn’t make much logical sense. *blush* I’m sorry, is my nerd showing?

ENTRAILS!  Now that you’re all distracted let’s move on to characters. They were all typical of this kind of horror book, nothing new or earthshattering. I did think the love interest seemed really forced. I mean, it wasn’t necessary so why not just leave it out? Instead I was caught feeling…wait a second they were wishing death on each other not two chapters ago and now they’re planning a romantic trip for when they survive this? That was kind of weird.

This book had a nice set up for a sequel, which I do intend on reading. I recommend this book if you want to read a book that is as silly as it is tropey, but still completely awesome. I know I loved it.

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terminal islandTerminal Island by Walter Greatshell

Published December 4th, 2012 by Night Shade Books

Cover and synopsis provided by the publisher.

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Book Depository

Synopsis:

Henry Cadmus grew up on Catalina Island, a scenic vacationland off the Southern California coast. But Henry’s experiences were far from idyllic. Today, even though Henry has seen firsthand the horrors of war, the ghastly images that haunt his dreams is one he associates with his childhood… and the island: a snarling pig-man holding a cleaver; a jackal-headed woman on a high balcony, dripping blood; strange occult rituals… and worse. If it was up to Henry, he would avoid the island entirely.

But Henry is returning to Catalina Island. At his wife Ruby’s insistence, Henry, Ruby, and their infant daughter are coming to Avalon, so that Henry can face his fears, exorcise his demons, and reconcile with the one he fears most… his mother.

From Walter Greatshell, author of Xombies comes Terminal Island, a novel of cosmic horror.

Rating (out of 5): 3 star

Review:

This book was…strange, there really is no other word for it.  I have postponed writing this review for a few days to find a better word to describe it but I can’t find one.  Parts of this story had me clutching my ereader in a death grip with fear for the characters.  Parts of this story just left me scratching my head as I thought “Wait, what?”  The basic premise is that Henry lived the life of a wanderer when he was growing up, his mother moving him from place to place with regularity.  When his mother decided to move him to Catalina Island he fell in love with the place.  Shortly after, however, he begs his mother to leave and she complies.  Now that he is married and has a child, his mother has dropped off the map.  They were never close, but now he hears that she has moved to Catalina Island and is returning his letters. His wife, Ruby, suggests that they go find his mother and sort this out.  Henry is overcome with apprehension at returning to the place of his childhood nightmares but agrees.

This novel jumps between Henry’s perspective of the island in the present and flashbacks of his time on the island as a child.  This is very disconcerting and pulls the reader out of their comfort zone, I thought this was a very good tactic.  This is supposed to be a horror type novel, I shouldn’t have a comfort zone!  And with this novel I never did and I liked it.  While reading, you are never quite sure what is real and what isn’t.  Henry has memories of the girls at his school chasing him down and trying to kill him and stumbling into a butcher shop where the butcher is wearing the head of a pig and brandishing a cleaver.  He has dreams about nearly drowning and finding himself face to face with a monster that lived under the ocean and tried to hold him underwater.  Part of me wanted these things to be real because the descriptions were fascinating.

The writing of this book and the plot were all very good.  The pacing was also good but it got a big slow at the end.  As the pieces of this story began to unravel I found myself growing more intrigued with this story than I was at the beginning.  But I have to admit I wasn’t thrilled with everything.  There was a large section of time when I kept thinking to myself “Wait, is X in on this or not?  And if they are, how long has this been going on?”  Then there is a part when Henry is trying to protect his daughter, who was just barely yelling and calling for him, and the ending of that part was just weird and it didn’t feel genuine to me.  Similarly the occult ritual that takes place was very long and I started to skim it to get to the interesting parts.  I was still not totally aware at the end what was real and what wasn’t and that annoyed me.  But also at the end it just started to get cheesy.  For example, this line: “They killed the sheriff.  But they did not kill the deputy.”  I swear to God that’s actually in there.  That was so corny and dumb it just pulled me right out of the story.  When we reached the ending I was so ready for it to just be over that I started skimming again.  Because of that, there was never a big monumental moment of “Oh my God!” about the ending.  It was just over.

This was a good book in its entirety.  It was intriguing and entertaining but I felt like the unraveling of the mystery could have been done better.  And the ending was pretty lengthy and it started to drag which effected my enjoyment of the conclusion of the plot.  If you are a big fan of mysteries and horror novels then this is one that you should give a read.  But if you are not deeply interested in these genres then I would suggest you give this one a miss.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review.  Thank you Night Shade Books!