Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Descent by Jeff Long (CBR-V #32)

Cannonball Read V: Book #32/52
Published: 1999
Pages: 598
Genre: Horror

The Descent started off really strong with several stories that hinted of the underground horror to come. The first (and strongest in my opinion) followed a group of explorers headed by a guy named Ike who take cover in a cave from a snowstorm. Then they find a creepy-as-hell dead body with disturbing writing all over it in the cave with them. That probably should have been a sign not to further explore, but they descend through the cave anyways hoping to find a way out and they all end up slaughtered. There were a few other opening stories that introduced us to Ali, the sort-of nun (she's supposedly a Nun, but besides helping lepers in Africa, there's not really much else that would categorize her as a nun) and Elias Branch, a military officer. Basically, they find out that a bunch of mutant freaks live under the earth and have for millions of years. They're savage, but based on some of their dwellings may have been more advanced than humans at one time in history. Humans are trying to eradicate the "Haddies", as they are called. 

After that, it all pretty much went downhill. It was super disappointing after such a strong opening too. The book just continues to get more and more ridiculous as it goes on and keeps introducing more and more characters that are so under-developed that they are hard to keep track of. If it had kept the three major characters (Ali, Elias, and Ike) that it started out with, I think it would have been a much better book. The actually did enjoy the part where a group of scientists, including Ali and Ike, are sent on a several thousand mile trek through underground tunnels. Maybe the book should have focused more on that plot line instead of some of the more ridiculous ones (like maybe the Haddies-can-infiltrate-our-brains one, for instance). 

I had planned on reading the sequel to this book, but I don't think I will now unless the reviews say it's MUCH better. I'm only giving it three stars for the awesome opening and the underground trek sections of the book.

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