Deep beneath the ice of the Arctic Circle, something has awakened. A primordial creature frozen in time, it is the oldest, largest, most efficient predator that nature has ever produced. And it is ravenously hungry…
Thirty-five miles off the Massachusetts coast, a small research ship is attacked. All but one of its crew is killed by the massive serpentine horror that rises from the sea. The creature likes this human prey. The chewy outer hide. The tender saltiness within. And it wants more…
Responding to a distress signal, fishing-boat captain Brian Hawkins arrives in time to save the ship’s last survivor. But the nightmare is just beginning. A casino cruise ship carrying high-stakes passengers—and a top-secret cargo—becomes the creature’s bloodsoaked hunting ground. Desperate but determined, Hawkins goes after the biggest catch of the century. – Goodreads
I want to make one thing clear before I start on this review. There was no hype that I’d heard about this book. I didn’t have it built up to impossible degrees in my mind. I’d seen it, it looked just like the type of book I’d enjoy, so I picked it up and read it. The only things I knew were that the cover was awesome and the synopsis looked appealing. Devour was judged against similar books that I’ve read, and against what it, itself, promised. “Lacking” doesn’t quite describe how badly this book didn’t measure up. If anyone actually read the book before they approved that cover, someone should have went “Uhm, guys, you know, size wise….”
There really are only two ways a monster book can go. It can be a thriller, or it can be campy fun. Now, sometimes there’s a line in between those two, but for the most part – one or the other. Devour somehow managed to be neither thriller or campy fun. Instead, it was completely ridiculous in the eye-rolling, “Dear God, this is stupid” sort of way.
Kurt Anderson completely anthropomorphizes his monster, and takes away over three-quarters of the initial possibility of scariness right there. In a very brief period of time, the monster, which is presumably hundreds of years old if you count hibernation periods, becomes self-aware, develops an ego, and goes on a revenge fueled rampage to get the tiny prey that hurt him. Plus this monster just doesn’t make sense. It thinks about being alive at a time when animals depended on sheer mass to protect themselves from it, yet was apparently born just over a century ago. I don’t think animals of the sea have evolved that much in just a hundred years or so.
For an action-packed book, it was almost completely lacking in tension. Anderson manages to take some of the most heart-pounding scenes, and write them in such a boring fashion that you can’t bring yourself to care that a guy just got both his legs bit off, or that a monster which somehow managed to get much, much bigger over a time when everything else was getting smaller – just attacked a yacht. I yawned just writing this piece.
The multiple points of view bog the story down. The only real mystery involved was the reason behind the poker game. The action is not well-visualized. The monster is, in the humanity Anderson ascribes to it, nothing more than an over-sized angry bully. It passes off as nothing better than a hand-held found- footage, no-budget version of a bad American remake of a good Asian film.
The only reason it’s getting two Coolthulhus is because I was actually able to finish it, and there’s one cool scene at the end. Also, it’s a debut book, so I’m inclined to cut the guy a little slack. Devour is on Amazon, if you’re interested in seeing for yourself.