Top critical review
A good start on a familiar journey
Reviewed in the United States on October 30, 2021
This book hits a lot of familiar notes in a story that’s been done many times in variety of ways. Been done better in some cases, way worse in many more. This version is just above average. So, I recommend it, with a couple reservations.
First, it has a pretty solid back story underpinning the creature, it’s possible origins, and it’s history in the lake. But, there’s way more creature details that could mined in the book. Is there more than one? A breeding population? Why has no one seen one elsewhere? Or have they? How many worshippers are out? It’s a big beast. It’s got to eat. How come no one has noticed dead prey out in the ocean? It’s referred to as an “apex predator”. That sort of thing would be hard to miss. Maybe the author thought that much focus and detail would bog down the story. I prefer that. Anyway, you get the idea.
How the anti-hero and it end up in the same place and time was plausible enough. However, most of the characters are shallow and underdeveloped, including the main man, Sam Aston. Really just cookie cutter characters that always populate these stories; the rakish scientist/professor/explorer with a foot firmly planted in shady dealings, the crazed and obsessed rich guy Ahab, his fatally loyal right hand man, the damsel in distress, disposable sidekicks that are nothing more than convenient creature fodder at various points in the book, and the knuckle headed sheriff with an agenda.
If this book had filled in more blanks on the creature and Aston as the book went along, it’d have been killer reading. Hell, by the end of the book, you don’t know much more about Aston’s history, life, or personality, or even his appearance, than you do at the beginning of it. In fact, what you do know doesn’t make him all that likable or interesting. That has to change going forward.
With all that said…
You can see the potential in this series and character. It has the foundation of a decent series in place. But, if the next books are just reruns of this one, without some expansion of it’s main players….it’ll get tedious quickly.