Saturday, August 2, 2014

Primal waters by Steve Alten

Primal waters is the third book in the Meg series so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first two books in the series.  This is a series that can be read independently, but you get the most out of the series when you read them in order - so I recommend that you start with Meg and The trench before you read Primal waters.

For nearly twenty years the only contact Jonas Taylor has had with megalodon sharks is in his dreams and when writing his memoirs.  Angel, the majestic shark that escaped from the Tanaka lagoon is a distant memory for many, and over the years the invitations to talk on the lecture circuit have fallen away and Jonas is now desperate to make enough money to stay afloat financially   His marriage to Terry is far from perfect, and even though he gets on well with his son David, his daughter Dani has made it pretty clear that she has no respect for him.  When he is approached to take part in the second series of Daredevils it seems like the answer to a prayer, he will get paid a large fee just to provide commentary for the show - no real danger involved at all.  But there is something not quite right about the deal, and by the time Jonas realises he is in over his head it may already be too late for him and Dani.

Feeling more than a little abandoned by her husband, Terry is frustrated and more than a little bitter, and when the offer comes for her to travel to Canada and help explain a mystery she jumps at the chance - leaving David to his own devices in California.  In Canada Terry discovers a secret the remains of whales and dolphins that have desperately beached themselves in shallow water  apparently trying to escape something lurking in the depths off the coast of Canada.  Terry has seen this before and soon finds the evidence she needs to show that there is a megalodon cruising the waters again, just as Angel and her mother did nearly twenty years earlier.  Terry has the opportunity to capture the shark, but she may have bitten off more than she can chew.  But she is not alone, because David has discovered a megalodon nosing its way into the Tanaka lagoon, and he has a plan to bring Angel home.  It is a race against time to prepare the lagoon for its new resident - but which resident will it be?

Primal waters picks up the story of the Taylor family and the megalodon shark family that has become entangled in their lives several decades after the original story.  The break in time has allowed both families to grow - Jonas and Terry now have two teenage children, and Angel has two sons that have grown and fought each other for supremacy.  In a somewhat interesting departure from the rest of the series, Alten has provided a dual timeline in his story, presenting the story in the present day as well as a "flashback" story which explains the arrival of the megalodon in the Mariana Trench.  In a lot of ways this is the best book in the series as Alten strikes the perfect balance between the aspect of man versus nature (there are quite a few moments where the sharks pick off more than their fair share of man sized morsels), but there are also quite a few human relationship stories (some of which are quite complex).

One detraction from the story, and it is not as bad as The trench, is that in some ways Alten over explains what he is trying to say, almost like the point is more important than the story (but luckily these are few and far between).  This series is a true guilty pleasure for me as it is a real departure from what I would normally read, and because it was a little interesting explaining to people what I was reading (so it is about a megalodon shark that comes out of this deep sea trench and surfaces in the modern world and wreaks havoc  on people ....) BUT it is such a good series that I have to review it and pass on just how good it is.  I can't wait to read book four and see what happens next as although Jonas and Terry are past their prime it is quite clear that David and Dani are not afraid to pick up where their parents left off.  A great action packed read with plenty of "moments" to keep you on the edge of your seat.

If you like this then try:
  • Meg by Steve Alten
  • The trench by Steve Alten
  • Ruins by Kevin J. Anderson
  • Jurassic park by Michael Crichton
  • Congo by Michael Crichton

Reviewed by Brilla

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