Prehistoric shark, blood, death … yay!
By Renee Schmutz-Sowards, Boyd County Public Library circulation specialist
I love ocean life. The fantastic creatures that inhabit the world’s vast oceans, particularly the obscure and weird ones, have fascinated me since I was very young. Just as much as the stunning real life sea creatures I found in the pages of National Geographic, I equally relished learning everything I could about sea monsters – mythical creatures from legends and the massive prehistoric beasts that haunted the seas during the age of dinosaurs.
Then when I was about 8 years old, my parents took me to the beach. It was awesome. Until, as I was happily splashing in the waves, someone spotted a fish and pointed it out, loudly and within my hearing. It was one of those moments in a kid’s life when the world shifts, the brain creates brand new neural pathways and I suddenly made the connection that all those things I loved, those BIG things (with TEETH!) that I had tons of posters of, actually lived in the ocean I was currently swimming in!
While I still love sea creatures, and sea monsters, I haven’t stuck a toe back into any body of water bigger than a creek since that day at the beach. Unless of course it’s man made, well lit and heavily chlorinated.
All this is probably why Steve Alten’s “Meg” (short for megalodon) series resonates so deeply with me. These masterfully woven tales of prehistoric monsters rising from the depths and wreaking bloody terror on the modern world are one of those guilty pleasures I can happily read over and over.
They also scare the bejeezus out of me, but since I will never go near the ocean again, that’s okay.
The first two books in this series, Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror and The Trench were both New York Times best sellers. The series also includes two more books, Primal Waters and Hell’s Aquarium, as well as a novella published in 2011called Origins that is a prequel to the series.
Each book follows the two main protagonists: Meg, a massive prehistoric megalodon that has survived extinction, and Jonas Taylor, who has the epic misfortune of repeatedly running into Meg, as well as one or two other behemoths from ancient primordial waters. Seriously, why this guy hasn’t moved to the middle of the dessert by book two I do not understand.
While to some extent, this may sound like a retelling of “Jaws”, it’s not. It’s far scarier than either the book “Jaws” or any movie could ever be.
The author crafts the scenes involving the ancient monsters in such a way that you can’t help but picture every terrifying detail in your mind’s eye with a clarity that no film could ever hope to achieve.
Steve Alten has also penned a stand-alone novel with a similar theme, in which he tackles the age-old mystery of the Loch-Ness Monster. It’s aptly titled The Loch, and it is equally worth finding and reading. Stop by any branch of Boyd County Public Library, or visit our catalog (just click here) to reserve a copy of a Steve Alten book – or any other book, movie, or music you may desire.