Disclaimer: I consider the author a friend; however, I purchased an electronic copy of this novel for full price.
For those of you who are averse to the horror genre, I’m happy to report that this novel is instead a thrilling action-adventure. There are some gory bits, but it’s not gratuitous, and the moments that literally made me jump while I read were shocking in the way that marks excellent writing. This was a blast to read, even for a wuss like me.
There are so many characters that it was hard to know who to root for, other than Taine McKenna himself. In fact, the most stressful part of reading this book was wondering who was going to survive to the end! In a book with a giant monster (who is a fabulous character/villain in itself), half the fun is hoping that the characters who are too stupid to live do end up as lunch. No spoilers here, but I was entirely satisfied AND heartbroken by the final deaths and survivors — the best of both worlds.
Other than McKenna, Jules and Temera were standout characters. Jules had the most character development through the course of the story, based on both her traumatic history and the awkward love triangle (I will admit that I did spend some time yelling at her to stand up for herself in the beginning). Temera was a surprise sleeper-hit for me. A giant monster is a giant monster, but the spiritual element Temera brought to the plot took things in a fascinating direction for me.
Overall, the atmosphere was my favorite part of the book. I felt like I was actually there, in the wilds of New Zealand. If the monster was a character, so was the environment, and New Zealand itself.