Monday, March 9, 2015

Book Review: The Deep by Nick Cutter

From Goodreads:
A strange plague called the ’Gets is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget—small things at first, like where they left their keys…then the not-so-small things like how to drive, or the letters of the alphabet. Then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily…and there is no cure. But now, far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, deep in the Marianas Trench, an heretofore unknown substance hailed as “ambrosia” has been discovered—a universal healer, from initial reports. It may just be the key to a universal cure. In order to study this phenomenon, a special research lab, the Trieste, has been built eight miles under the sea’s surface. But now the station is incommunicado, and it’s up to a brave few to descend through the lightless fathoms in hopes of unraveling the mysteries lurking at those crushing depths…and perhaps to encounter an evil blacker than anything one could possibly imagine. 
No complaints.  It's standard horror, nothing more, but it's well done.  It doesn't have literary aspirations, which is typically not what I want in horror, and is certainly horrific, which is exactly what I want.  So, as far as being a horror novel goes, the writing is successful and enjoyable.  Nothing to distract the reader, remove you from the story, or distract from the terrible terrible things that are happening - just how I like it.

Entertainment Value
I could probably write two reviews for how entertained I was by this book - one for the first 300 pages and one for the last 80 or so.  For the vast majority of the book, I was totally, completely enthralled.  I love the ocean and lakes and swimming, but I do have a particular fear of deep water and things that live in it.  I like to see the bottom and I can totally creep myself out by imagining what's down there that I can't see.  So I knew this book would be chilling and it was.

I think the author perfectly captured the feelings of claustrophobia, tension, and pressure that come with being A) in complete and total darkness and B) at the bottom of the ocean.  I also enjoyed the slowly building tension and the initial horror/gore aspects.  If you've read Cutter's other book, The Troop, you know that his books are not for the faint of heart.  He's all about the gross out scene and I  can typically handle them.

However.  I feel like Cutter built things up to a crescendo that he just couldn't finish well.  I started to get worried around page 300 when I could tell the book was drawing to a close, but things were still building up.  I started to get worried about the big reveal.  The last few scenes are just a total and complete gore-fest that was so over the top it became boring.  It was just too much.  Instead of being scary it became just an ongoing onslaught of gross out after gross out.  And then the big evil entity is revealed and it totally let me down.

Basically, I think it's worth reading.  The enjoyment that I got from the first 300 pages outweighed my frustration with the last 80.  But I wish the author had taken out some of the continual gore and spent more time and energy fleshing out the evilness and the resolution so that it made more sense.

This does come with a few warnings, the main one being that it's just full of gore.  Horrible things happen to people and to animals throughout the entirety of the book.  If either of those things bother you, it's something you'll find inescapable in this book.  Read at your own risk.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy to review.

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