Thursday, 1 May 2014

Book Review: Predator X by CJ Waller

*This is NOT the cover of Predator X which I can't find anywhere other than Amazon. This is a pliosaur, the monster in the water*

When deep level oil fracking uncovers a vast subterranean sea, a crack team of cavers and scientists are sent down to investigate.
Upon their arrival, they disappear without a trace.
A second team, including sedimentologist Dr Megan Stoker, are ordered to seek out Alpha Team and report back their findings. But Alpha team are nowhere to be found – instead, they are faced with something unexpected in the depths.
Something ancient.
Something huge.
Something dangerous.
Predator X

My Review: 
This had the potential to be a really great story and I very much enjoyed the beginning. It gives a brief paragraph about events so far and then gets straight on to the rescue mission entering the cave system. Megan is a bit claustrophobic on the journey down and gets tense when anyone is out of contact for a few minutes in case she is abandoned. We find out her opinion on her team through her thoughts. More on that later.

The action seems to start quickly once they find the sea and try to cross it in search of Alpha Team but in truth there is no other monster action until p70 which was a disappointment. I had hoped to see a lot of Predator X as I assumed that this is what the book is about. Instead between pages 19 and 70, the team explore the island they are stuck on, find some alien type structures and weird things and  start to realise what happened to the other team.The short piece of action for a few pages around p70 is ok but could have been written to make it sound a bit more exciting. Then we go back to the living on the island thing and fighting amongst ourselves thing that has been there for most of the book. Calling the book Predator X is as misleading as the blurb which makes the sea monster sound like the main story where it actually only appears significantly three times in the book. The rest is an exploration of this alien structure and finding the strange entity that lives there. It was a bit disappointing to discover that what I thought was a horror story is really a complex science fiction story, a genre I'm not keen on.

As for the characters, I barely liked any of them. Marcus was an asshat from page one-and why is that true of most of these kinds of stories? You get the total jerk who then argues with everyone  then they argue with each other and it gets old very fast. Megan is a real pain and I wish I could have blocked out her thoughts on the others. One minute she thinks Marcus is harmless flirt guy then seconds later he is the biggest sexist asshat the world has seen and she can't stand him. When he is mouthing off she hates it but as soon as he goes quiet or gets depressed she wants the old Marcus back, and when THAT happens she hates him again! She thinks Brendan is a sweet nerd, then a psychotic fanatic that needs watched then she likes him because he is the most sensible. She hates Fi for looking down on her, then loves her as a fearless capable leader, then thinks she is an autocratic bitch, then a great person to get them out. WTF??? Megan, you were seriously getting on my nerves with all this rubbish! As for Megan's grand plan to kill the monster, well that was so stupid that I was laughing out loud. The big plot reveal was hardly a surprise when the author dropped massive clanging hints with neon arrows pointing before it with Yuri's warnings and what Megan sees and chooses not to believe. 

The ending also left me cold. I didn't find it a surprise, didn't hate it, didn't love it. By this point I was feeling pretty indifferent and just read to the end to see if anyone survived. Overall a great idea was spoiled by all the alien stuff in the middle. If the author had stuck to the horror plot that the blurb suggests, then this could have been a really good book. What a pity!

Sci-fi fans might enjoy this.
star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png

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