Reviews are very important to authors, so after posting on Amazon/Goodreads/wherever, I like to repost here, along with a link to the product. Here’s my 5 Star review of Teeth of the Sea, by Tim Waggoner. If you buy it, be sure to leave a review yourself!
Tim Waggoner’s Teeth of the Sea is exactly what you want from a sea monster novel. It starts off with a prologue from the creatures’ point of view, proceeds to a scenic introduction to the little island resort of Elysium, then immediately goes full throttle with violence, teeth, and blood everywhere. This is far from a book that uses gore for the sake thereof, though. Every death serves a purpose, whether distracting one of the Pliosaurs from eating the protagonists, to dragging the readers deeper into the story’s emotional waters.
There are quite a few characters to keep track of, but they’re all distinct enough that they don’t overlap (and several die within pages of their introduction). No reader is going to like every character, but there’s going to be someone in the main crew that you wind up rooting for. Besides, if everyone was the same likeable blob, it wouldn’t be as effective a narrative.
As far as action-oriented horror goes, the pacing is pretty solid. Some deride the scenes set from the monsters’ perspectives, but these do wonders for building the tension, especially when the human characters aren’t aware they’re in danger. One or two moments felt forced, yet remained effective in the end.
The monsters themselves are well-described, and fit perfectly for some subtler elements of the story. Let’s just say the bulletproof shell but a soft underbelly could metaphorically describe a few human characters, too. Likewise, two of the monsters, dubbed One-Eye and Brokejaw for their damaged anatomy, have interesting narrative counterparts. I personally had a few misgivings about the creatures’ anatomy, but recognize I’m a stickler for the science side of monsters, and don’t hold these against the writer.
While the ending has a slight feeling of “Haven’t we seen corporations make this mistake before?”, the book is overall an excellent read. Well-written, engaging, and funny without breaking the serious tone, it’s sure to make people think twice about their next island vacation. With Teeth of the Sea, Waggoner delivers a great reminder as to why he’s one of the more prolific horror writers out there today, and this particular book deserves a spot on the shelf of anybody who loves monster stories, but doesn’t plan to go out in the ocean anytime soon.
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