Lost World at the Bottom of the Sea

Hell’s Aquarium (Meg #4)
by Steve Alten

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A prologue with a quick history of Earth‘s geological history and a brief summary of marine evolution all the way to the Megalodon, followed by a first chapter that summarizes the previous books, interspersed with the beginning of this book‘s plot. In third person present tense. Not a fan of third person present tense, it‘s weird. Anyway…

Jonas’s son, “David is off to Dubai for the summer of his life, not realizing that he is being set up to lead an expedition that will hunt down and capture the most dangerous creatures ever to inhabit the Earth.“ (sorry, I stole that from the book blurb…)

Jonas has his own toothy problems to deal with back home at the Tanaka Institute in Monterey. Parallel plots with alternating locations, as in previous books. Which is a bummer, when every other chapter ends in a cliffhanger. The alternating plotlines add a nice urgency to the proceedings though.

I looked up and learned things about the Phillippine Sea Plate and its tectonics. And I looked up a ton of extinct, prehistoric beasts. Educational! I was constantly googling images of weird sharks, with teeth sticking allover the place or monstrous bony fish or gelatinous vampire squid or… it kept going. The later part of the book basically turns into Lost World at the Bottom of the Sea. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel to the first movie with a very heavy dose of well-done CGI! Although I am having a hard time picturing Jason Statham with the hair of Anderson Cooper and in his 60s…

I wish Alten‘s writing would get better with consecutive books. He should be able to afford an editor at least, after one of his books was turned into a movie, right? At least to check for correct punctuation, to tone down those info dumps to a necessary amount, integrate them more smoothly into the general narrative and to get rid of the truly superfluous stuff. I am turning a blind eye to the politically incorrect bits and lack of correct representation of pretty much everything.

At the end of the ebook we get to read the prologue and first two chapters of the next book, Nightstalkers. I enjoyed that, too, and almost downloaded it straight away. The entertainment value of these books is great. And, hey, the next book seems to be in the third person past tense… nonetheless, I can‘t possibly give this more than three stars, because of its barely tolerable writing.

Welcome to Hell’s Aquarium. Unruly guests will be eaten.

Meg 5: Nightstalkers