When a nuclear bomb “accidentally” drops in a remote area of China, nobody could have imagined the horror that was about to unfold. Halfway across the world, a Peruvian tour guide and his group gets engulfed by a moving black mass. What they don’t realize is that the black mass is alive, and moving – fast.
I really enjoyed the idea of this story. It sounded like a really fascinating thriller that could be a good, scary read. Unfortunately, for me, the premise was all that it really had going for it. The point of view constantly changes and, as a reader, I found it challenging to follow all the characters and locations every few pages – because for the most part, that was how quickly the chapters progressed. There was even introduction of more new characters halfway into the story. In all honesty, this felt more suited for a summer thriller movie. In that format, the constant scene changes could work better than it did in this case.
That aside, the other major problem I had with this book was the characters. Whether it’s the writing or the editing, I felt the cast extremely dull and superficial. So many different characters “rubbed each other the wrong way” right off the top of the story, so already, readers could get a sense of what to expect. There were female lead characters, but the author kept making a point at having other characters “be okay” with a female President of the United States, or “have a problem” with a woman as their military leader. There were odd off-putting comments about gender roles that seemed irrelevant given the dire situation that they were in. While spiders are killing people, two of the characters (a male and a female) banter about how the male didn’t know how to work a remote, or so much emphasis on another pair checking each other out in the midst of a crisis – so much so that one dumps their side fling right away because of an apparent attraction to the other “manlier” man. There doesn’t always have to be sexual attraction between male/female characters!
Some may have seen online when I poked fun at a couple of the passages, but I couldn’t help it. It was just so ridiculously written. There was no depth to any of the characters, everything felt so shallow. The chapters were too short, and it jumped from POV to POV so much that it didn’t allow for ample time for any development. This is why I think it would have played out better as a film, which could do a lot of the descriptive part of it visually. There was too much “telling”, and going off on tangents. So many parts felt completely unnecessary and irrelevant. Too much focus on some things and not enough on the parts that needed more attention.
One of the things I did find that was done well was establishing the icky, gross factor of the killer spiders and what they did to the people it encountered. Good job on a successful gross out. I really really wanted to like this book. I love creepy stories, especially disaster-type ones and I gave this one a valiant shot until, the further along I got, the more it lost me. Especially when I got to the end which just left me irritated. I loved the premise of this book, but the execution was lacking for me.