MEG: Primal Waters

November 9, 2016 at 7:00 pm (Reads) (, , , )

primalMEG: Primal Waters by Steve Alten


I read MEG based on a blurb on the cover of the book: “Jurassic Shark!” At the time, I figured a description like that would make it either awesome or terrible. The book straddled the line for me — it was horribly written, but entertaining as all get out.

Since then, Steve Alten has been a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. I haven’t read one of his books since The Loch in 2005, namely because I’ve been trying to read more than just schlock in recent years. Still, when I saw the ebook edition was on sale for a few dollars, I figured a quick schlock read might be just right for Halloween.

Make no mistake: This book is pretty terrible. The characters are wooden and one-dimensional, the protagonists are barely likable, the dialogue is either cheesy or clunky, details from this book are inconsistent with those from previous books, and Alten can’t seem to decide if he’s writing nonfiction or fiction. The story relies heavily on coincidence, covers emotional moments with the subtlety of a cast-iron skillet in a barfight, the villains are more Snidely Whiplash than Hannibal Lecter, and Alten spends a bit too much time on the family dynamic of the main character than the giant sharks. He should know by now that readers are coming to read about the giant sharks and just get right to the point. The MEG books are like porn movies in that way (though there is a scene where some of the characters swim through whale cum).

That being said, Alten gets too obsessed with the details of the Megs, telling us more than necessary to show how much he knows about the giant sharks. It reminded me a bit of Dan Brown’s style, and trust me, that’s no compliment. How many times do we need to hear about how the Megalodon is the apex predator? It turns out it’s about as often as we need to hear how the Meg’s teeth and jaws crush blubber into blobs of fat; in other words, once every twenty pages or so.

So, was it worth three dollars and a few hours? I think so. I went into this knowing it was going to be pretty terrible, but I went in for the giant sharks, and I wasn’t disappointed. Much.

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