Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hell's aquarium by Steve Alten

Hell's aquarium is the fourth book in the Meg series so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first three 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, The trench and Primal waters.

It seems as though the world has returned to normal for the Taylor family, with Angel safe and well in her home, and her pups living in the Meg pen safely out of their mothers reach.  It is an oddly calm time, with the regular shows at the aquarium becoming part of everyday life for all of the Taylor family.  But things are not as calm as they appear on the surface, and all too soon another disaster strikes the aquarium place them at risk of financial ruin yet again as the power and strength of the mighty sharks becomes almost too much to handle.  With the rapidly growing pups struggling to find enough room in the increasingly crowded Meg pen it becomes all too obvious that Jonas needs to find a solution to the overcrowding - and fast!

When he is approached by the owner of a new development in Dubai that promises to be the perfect home for two of the Meg pups it seems like a gift from above - but this gift comes with strings attached and the owner is not used to hearing the word no.  When Jonas refuses to help the owner with a mysterious deep sea mission, the owner asks David to help bring the sharks to Dubai and to help train pilots so they can use the Manta ray underwater craft that Jonas has designed.  Jonas and Terry are reluctant to let David go, but when he promises to stay in Dubai Jonas reluctantly relents and lets him go - but things are never that easy.

Buried beneath an ancient volcanic crust is a secret sea where time has stood still, creatures that have not been seen for millions of years has not only survived, they have thrived in a deep sea ecology that has monsters even more terrifying than a Meg.  Tricked into entering the deadly depths of this hidden sea, David is going to need all of his skills and wits to get him out of harms way.  As he races against time he is completely unaware of the danger that is approaching, or of the turmoil happening at the Tanaka Institute where a group of radical animal rights activists want to free the most dangerous pups of all from the aquarium that keeps everyone safe.

Hell's aquarium is the latest book in the Meg series and each of the books has been more ambitious and more complicated, drawing in more and more cryptid research to create a scary world that could be lying in the oceans even now.  Although this is a work of science fiction, there are plenty of people who believe that these giant sharks and other prehistoric creatures do coexist with us, and with the discovery of supposedly extinct creatures it is becoming more and more likely that science fiction could be science fact!  While I would not normally read a book as technically detailed as the Meg series, there is something about the depth of explanation that makes it more believable and accessible - even though I have to admit that at times I was skim reading some of the text rather than getting completely absorbed in every word.  

This series is my guilty little secret, a series that I have tried to encourage others to read only to watch their eyes either get huge or glaze over at the mention of the word Megalodon.  There is a promised fifth book in this series and I for one can't wait to see what happens next for the Taylor family as the ending is mind blowing and just leaves you wondering where Alten could possibly take the story next.

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

Reviewed by Brilla

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