“Monster” novels are unlike anything else you will read. They do not follow classic literary structures, they are not written with the intention of teaching, and they are not in depth studies of the human psyche. What they are… is pure unadulterated entertainment; penned to make your mind run wild with creepy images and scare the panties off of fully grown men.
“Island Life” by “William Meikle” was most definitely a “Monster” novel.
Living on an island is supposed to be peaceful, but when the residence of a small Scottish town start disappearing…or better yet, turning up in multiple pieces, rest and relaxation aren’t exactly at the top of anyone’s list. An archeological dig site suddenly becomes the mouth of hell, fog becomes a blanket of impending doom, and when what residence once thought were nothing but “crazy ramblings from a crotchety old lighthouse keeper” start to make perfect sense…it’s suddenly to late to listen. What happens when one very pissed off, very hungry spawn of Satan decides to wake up? What is it exactly that he’s looking for, and… are those human puppets?
“Meikle” created a fantastic story of monsters vs. humans, but unfortunately during the actual telling of it a few things got in it’s way. 1. The chapters that focused on the folklore aspect of the story were a little long, and misplaced. I understand the necessity of these chapters, because they explain the history of the monster, however the sudden appearance of them broke the plot. Here is what I mean… “Meikle” was spinning his web, setting up characters, showing their fear and starting to expand upon their upcoming challenges when BAM! all of a sudden your are 5000 years in the past listening to a story that had relatively no set up, made no sense (at first) and drug on for so long that I almost forgot what I was reading before I was whisked away to another time. I think this entire issue could have been (easily) resolved by adding a chunk of the history into the prologue and then waiting for slower points in the plot to expand upon them (aka…don’t interrupt a chase scene.) 2. The character development was impressive (even giving a voice to the dog) but at one point there were so many perspectives in narration that they started to get confusing. It’s ok to have multi-narration but it’s important to not crowd the plot.
Now… onto the positive side of the boat. The “intended” plot (when it wasn’t being abruptly interrupted) was fast paced and expertly written. “Meikle’s” visual descriptives left nothing to the imagination painting the reader a very clear (and very horrifying) picture of his creatures as well as the destruction they left in their wake, and like I stated before, his character development was spot on, allowing the reader to not only understand the characters ACTIONS, but to see into their minds and feel their REACTIONS.
All in all… it was a pretty decent tale.
There were blood covered campsites, pointy teeth, slaughtered sheep, tentacles, mysterious blue rocks, men afraid of stairs, and 1 very lost girl on the top of a cliff.
I don’t think this book is for everyone, it is a novel that takes an extreme amount of concentration to keep up, but if you like monsters (and really freaked out people) I think you will find it enjoyable.
Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: fog + dead people = ??? Duh! we should all know this by now. RUN AWAY!
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