Normally I'm not too happy about revisiting old foes and old locations - usually a sign of creative burnout. However, Kraken Rising turned out to be sNormally I'm not too happy about revisiting old foes and old locations - usually a sign of creative burnout. However, Kraken Rising turned out to be surprisingly good.
There was the usual military / nearing war stuff, but I didn't pay much attention to that. The human adversaries this time are the Chinese - painfully brainwashed caricatures. I hoped they would turn around eventually, but nooo. The creatures were decent. I thought (view spoiler)[the thing pulling people into cracks was some new type of monster, but apparently not. Boo. (hide spoiler)] Kinda disappointed we didn't see more new stuff, but at least it wasn't fully rehashed from the first book.
The best thing was that Beck scaled down Alex's invincibility this time. The dude had to actually be careful from time to time - not that anything seemed to actually threaten him physically, just his mindset has changed to something more careful than his usual Superman self. He was actually likable in this book.
The worst thing is (view spoiler)[freaking Alex's hellspawn. This type of books usually goes really downhill once superhuman offspring of superhuman parents enters the stage. What in the actual f***, how can this bullet in brain thing carry on to children? Alex's freak kid is some sort of supernatural clairvoyant/psionicist with superhuman strength, perception, etc from the age of 2. He also can pull thoughts right out of people's minds and understand them, even though he is in the form of a kid. (hide spoiler)] That abomination single-handedly makes me want to drop this series. I may not continue reading if the next books center on this thing.
All in all, a decent book, with more sight-seeing in Center of the Earth, and good ending. We finally saw some kind of resolution to our Cthulhu wannabe friend. ...more
1.5 extra star for being very very addicting. I couldn't unglue myself from the pages and finished the whole thing in one evening. Slept only 2 hours1.5 extra star for being very very addicting. I couldn't unglue myself from the pages and finished the whole thing in one evening. Slept only 2 hours that night x.x
Please note that this book is ridiculous and too dumb to live. It's literally atrocious and the whole ending is a big pile of bullsh*t.
It started good enough - Gorgon released from ancient prison, turning people to stone. So many mysteries! How does it do that - not magic, because it can be transmitted *gasp* electronically. Why is it so resistant physically? What's up with (view spoiler)[sunlight, weeping, going to sleep when sang to (hide spoiler)]? Why did it stay put for centuries in a bronze urn even though it can tear through stone. (view spoiler)[My pet theory was that the sound emanating from it echoed from insides of the urn and kept it sleeping. (hide spoiler)]
NOTHING is explained.
Instead, we get (view spoiler)[f****** aliens again! Something straight from 2215. It. Was. Ridiculous. Total BS! I'd prefer if the Gorgons stayed magical / supernatural (and not transmit stoning via video - come on, if you introduce something like this, better explain it!) and not some super aliens that may invade Earth in unknown future. (hide spoiler)] The ending is non-resolution again. (view spoiler)[Am I supposed to believe the Gorgon won't dig itself up from 50 meters of loose stone? It was pretty close to the surface when charges went off. The spaceship? Those puny explosives might have only waken the other Gorgons up. This tech survived eons and was still working. It was somewhat dangerous to bury it without knowing when the Gorgons might wake from cryo-sleep. Sad thing is, Beck included foreshadowing with the whole bee hive analogy. A lone bee commits suicide after it returns to a dead hive. That would make a much better, closed ending that doesn't put Earth in peril. (hide spoiler)]
Better than the last book, because Alex Hunter doesn't mess with the main plot for more than half of the story. He hee.
I breezed through all chaptersBetter than the last book, because Alex Hunter doesn't mess with the main plot for more than half of the story. He hee.
I breezed through all chapters on Alex, his relationship with Adira (stupid girl... I kinda liked her before, she used to be a kickass female soldier, but now she's hopelessly in love with Alex. Dumped all her values even though she should be well aware this had no future. Later on she tanks all damage just like Alex himself. I hate all superhuman soldiers!), some running across the globe, encounters with foreign special agents, terrorists and whatnot. There was also a subplot with other Arcadian subjects chasing after Alex and killing everything in their way. I find this "super soldier" thing insanely boring and detrimental to the "scary monsters" theme. Alex is larger than life and chronically uninteresting. I don't care about evil scientists wanting to dissect him and create more freaks.
Thankfully, the main Sasquatch plot stays Alex-free for most of the book. It's the kind of thing that I come to these books for - scary monster, some clueless police and scientists, searching for info and investigating. I liked the gradual exposition and the ordinary characters, even though I didn't quite understand why Kearns wanted to get entangled in this mess again.
Ending was pretty good. Alex analogy was a bit heavy-handed, but I liked that (view spoiler)[Sasquatch tribe survived. And kudos for actually killing off Alex's mother! (hide spoiler)]...more
It started out OK - seemed to be a chupacabra (view spoiler)[from space. What is with Beck and aliens? (hide spoiler)] - supplemented by aSo much BS!!
It started out OK - seemed to be a chupacabra (view spoiler)[from space. What is with Beck and aliens? (hide spoiler)] - supplemented by a deadly disease dug up by scientists. The disease, I admit, was very creepy, mostly because it seemed plausible. Something like that could happen (view spoiler)[if science manages to get hands on one of those microbes floating in space... or enough permafreeze melts to release stuff that hasn't been present in our world for millennia (hide spoiler)]. The chupacabra was decent too, for the first half of the book. Everything went downhill in the second part.
For one, antagonist was way too powerful. The real problem (disease) got forgotten once Alex and his team entered the scene. Alex, the super powerful being, of course connects telepathically again with (view spoiler)[aliens!! (hide spoiler)]. Guns are for the weak (or ordinary), so he takes on his adversary head on! Reminds me of Superman blocking bullets with his chest. Enemy is super strong and rips people apart? Why then, let's wrestle! Not gonna shoot because rage and stuff.
As if unnecessary sparring wasn't cringeworthy, the ending is chock full of unresolved threads. This book needed full resolution, because the threat was too formidable to leave alone and not have something happen. (view spoiler)[The main thing, the microbes, are not neutralized, unless the nuke burns the growth under surface. The stuff Franks carried on her boots? I'd expect her to get infected, or for it to get washed into canalization and cause problems for the whole base, but - spoilers from the future! - nothing happens. Even the chupacabra lives. The church was on the edge of nuke's reach and would likely protect the creature. (hide spoiler)] That is NO ending.
Alex is impossible and I never felt he was in any danger, including right at the end. *shrug*...more
Couldn't enjoy this one that much due to too much scientific BS. Man-made black holes? I could buy just a little tiny black hole, but (view spoiler)[nCouldn't enjoy this one that much due to too much scientific BS. Man-made black holes? I could buy just a little tiny black hole, but (view spoiler)[not the way stuff goes through it. I always thought the distortion would be reversed when coming out from the other end. How come the alien monster didn't get distorted? How did the one human who lived through that worked? He got stretched to crazy size. Did he weight the same as before? If not, where did the extra matter come from? If yes, what about that density? (hide spoiler)]
The second thing that killed the book for me was Alex Hunter and his new abilities. Somehow he's even stronger than before and, unbelievably, can now perceive life force and kinda telepathically glimpse others' state of mind etc. Including the freaking monster! (view spoiler)[This thing is literally an extraterrestrial, but somehow Alex can still see their world. (hide spoiler)] That's some grade A BS.
The book isn't as fast paced as the first one. I didn't like the setting that much, political jabs didn't do much for me. It picked up in the second half, but was more like pseudo-sf military movie with lots of fire and explosions. ...more
Marines/scientists meet monster in some bizarre place, doused with heavy dose of pseudo-scientific BS = my type of horror. Antarctica? Great! UnknownMarines/scientists meet monster in some bizarre place, doused with heavy dose of pseudo-scientific BS = my type of horror. Antarctica? Great! Unknown things lurking in the darkness? Yay! Super soldier? Ehhh... not so much.
This book is a pretty standard adventure/horror romp. Big plus for frenetic pacing that doesn't feel movie-like. For the big part of the book, we're left in the dark (hurr hurr) as to what the team actually encounters under the ice. There's traditional bickering among the group, but thankfully all "good party" characters are decent and their drama never takes the spotlight. Even the ending doesn't disappoint - good climax, threads mostly resolved, reader satisfied.
Now for the bad things... Alex Hunter the super soldier is ridiculous. REALLY ridiculous. The guy supposedly took a bullet to the brain that gave him super powers, but I expected "enhanced human", not "brilliant Hulk/Riddick crossover". I rolled my eyes every time he put his abilities to use. Evil Russians? Really? Antagonistic group of humans was just a big nuisance. I wished them gone just so that the story could go back to the unknown beasties.
I have read the whole series by now (yeah... got totally glued to the pages! couldn't put the books down!). From this perspective, I can say that Beneath the Dark Ice is one of the best in the series of 6. Paradoxically, the worst thing about these books is Alex Hunter himself, so if you thought he was unbearable here, don't read more.
Summing up: - 1 star for my favorite "non-random humans get out of their way to meet monster" plot - 1 star for great setting (think Journey to the Center of the Earth, one of my favs!) - 1 star for being insanely addicting. I sneak read 1/3 of it at work and gobbled up the whole thing in just one day. Started the next one right away too. - 1 star for kinda bearable Alex Hunter, compared to the rest of the series...
This book reminded me of a more adventure-y / BS sf Pendergast. Not that much horror, just a pleasant chill here and there....more
Back to the old formula, unfortunately. It's not as actiony as previous book, but not very mysterious either. I cared most about the cats. A bit too muBack to the old formula, unfortunately. It's not as actiony as previous book, but not very mysterious either. I cared most about the cats. A bit too much personal stuff for me - my eyes glazed over when Maura was complaining, at least Rizzoli had something going on in her life. Still nowhere near Scarpetta levels, thankfully.
First-person interludes are back, but they did nothing for me this time. Mostly because the character didn't feel particularly remarkable. She's presented as a doormat in her chapters, so thoughtful, serious style didn't suit her IMO.
Summing up: decent enough, but forgettable. ...more
More action/thriller than a crime investigation. There's lots of dead people, blood and gore, secret societies (yeah, Mephisto Club), two cool kids anMore action/thriller than a crime investigation. There's lots of dead people, blood and gore, secret societies (yeah, Mephisto Club), two cool kids and many annoying ones, and everything is a race with time to get to the bottom of the mystery and save the day (kids). The action flowed like a movie, there was no way to stop and ponder things on your own because the information just wasn't there. It was a pretty enjoyable ride, and the ending was plausible, but all in all a bit forgettable. ...more
Definitely the best of Gerritsen's books I've read so far, and a major surprise. I kind of dropped the series after the Mephisto Club subplot, so I waDefinitely the best of Gerritsen's books I've read so far, and a major surprise. I kind of dropped the series after the Mephisto Club subplot, so I was wary coming back to it. It was superb. I've never expected to give a book from this series a 5.
It just has everything a good modern crime/thriller needs:
1) Good premise for a mystery that is still in realistic range. The Red Phoenix is old, but there's still much to learn. Layers of mystery are uncovered just as the detectives were getting to the bottom of the current one.
2) No personal woe-is-me sh*t. I rolled my eyes at Maura's situation early in the book, but it actually related to the plot without being obvious and taking the spotlight. There is less personal stuff in this book than the others in the series, and I loved it. I hate Scarpettas and recurring killers. Gerritsen's characters have some issues here and there, but thankfully it was toned down in The Silent Girl. There is still some progress, just enough to make the characters look like real people, but it doesn't drag the plot down.
3) Excellent storytelling. Gerritsen uses short sentences that really set the mood. The book is something between action/thriller and a procedural, and it works. There are first-person present-tense interludes that I wasn't too hot about, but they weren't as annoying as I expected them to be. At least they contributed to the story.
4) The ending was satisfying. It didn't escape the trap of "oh, only 10% of book left, we're meeting the killer in one, two, three...", but it was a conclusion, and the explanation between the paranormal part should be satisfactory both from supernatural and realistic angles. I was impressed that Gerritsen resisted temptation to include some action movie BS that I expected. The ending was also somewhat morally ambiguous, which I really liked.
All in all, if you want only one Gerritsen book, this is the one to read. Plot is self-contained and the personal tidbits are so minimal that you wouldn't miss anything substantial about characters' personal lives (which thankfully don't seem to matter that much). It's a very good mystery with a lot of action that doesn't cross too much into fantasy land....more
Surprisingly weak for McDermid. Plot twiddles its thumbs for 90% of the book and then the conclusion pops in out of the blue. There are two mysteriesSurprisingly weak for McDermid. Plot twiddles its thumbs for 90% of the book and then the conclusion pops in out of the blue. There are two mysteries in the book and both are given equal exposition in the main part, but we get to follow only one to its "end" (aka running into the culprit who just conveniently forgot all the precautions they exercised throughout the book). The solution to the other mystery is explained in classic monologue delivered by the characters who did the deed... off screen. All those questions and tension, and it just fizzled out without so much as a spark. ...more