Review: Meg: Primal Waters by Steve Alten


Eighteen years have passed since Jonas Taylor last crossed paths with carcharodon Megalodon.  He is now a middle-aged father of two, and feels overwhelmed by mountains of bills and the daily strife of raising a family.  But his life changes altogether when he takes a job doing the color commentary for Daredevils, a new television survival series that pits two teams of crazy adventure seekers against one another while sailing in the South Pacific.  But somewhere behind the scenes, someone is pulling some dangerous strings.  And before this voyage is over, Jonas will again come face to face with the most dangerous creature ever to stalk the Earth.

Meg: Primal Waters ( Meg # 3) by Steve Alten.  A Forge Book published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC,  2004.  Originally read and reviewed July 2017.

Ok, first, I want to start of with this: When children are added to an established series, it is universally considered a “jump the shark” (no pun intended) moment.  There are a few people who argue it is a good thing to have children introduced because it keeps the series fresh.  But to most it just feels like the series has run out of ideas and brings out a cliched story trope.  It is not usually a good thing.   I, for one, can’t stand when children are added to a series.  I definitely feel that it is a jump the shark moment.  Not saying there aren’t exceptions sometimes, there are.  But a majority of the time it just makes me cringe.  I will admit that I might be biased though, because I don’t like children / teen characters in the first place, so… there you go.  And on that note….

Dani,  Jonas and Terry’s teenage daughter, was annoying AF!  Such a total brat! Through the whole book I just wanted to repeatedly slap her with a dead fish.  I get that she is the rebellious teen daughter and she is fighting the man and blah blah blah, but she was SO unlikable!!  When you already have a bunch of kinda unlikable characters in your series, you don’t add more!  I could have over looked how annoying she was if she hadn’t had such a huge role in the book.  Seriously, it felt like the majority of the book was just Dani and Jonas yelling at each other and Dani doing the exact opposite of whatever Jonas said regardless of how stupid it was.  I’ve talked in the past about why I hate reading a book with teen characters.  So many of them fall in to the stereotypical teen bullshit trope of being immature and angsty.  I’m not saying that there is no teen that is immature and angsty, I’m just saying that it is so over used it is annoying and ridiculously.  Not all teens act like that.  I see it happen more with girls and it is really frustrating.  It is a HUGE pet peeve of mine.

Dani wasn’t the only problem in the Taylor house.  In fact, the whole family is…. kinda dysfunctional.  And not in a good, quirky way like Arrested Development, but in a bad way of why are y’all even still married sort of way.   On one hand, I’m giving Mr. Alten a gold star for showing a family that is far from perfect.  They have problems, they have fights.  It felt very real and I do think that it is important to show how life is a series of ups and downs.  So there is that.   But with the other hand… in a story where the reader has shown up to see epic shark action, a good majority of the story was bogged down with family drama BS.  I didn’t buy Primal Waters for family dynamics and drama.  I bought it because I wanted to see a giant shark doing giant shark stuff.  It’s like going to the see the newest Batman movie, only to sit through the whole movie with Bruce Wayne whining about his parents.  I’m sorry, but we bought tickets to see Batman being Batman and kicking ass, not Bruce Wayne crying in the corner for 2 disappointing hours.

The characters are still kind of unlikable.  Jonas is a stubborn, grumpy man who feels much older then middle age, and who is basically invincible.  Terry is kind of a bitch and shown as being the weaker person in the marriage.  Already discussed at length about Dani.  And those are the main major characters!  Everyone else was OK to tolerable.  Again, the best character is the megalodon!  Thankfully we get tons of shark carnage.

Also, I’ve noticed that the men in these books are always basically supermen who come in a save the day, and the women are always kind of… lacking and needing to be rescued by the men.  What’s up with that, Mr. Alten?

After all of the above, you would probably think I hated this book and what could possibly be good about it, right?  Well, I didn’t hate the book at all.  I actually enjoyed it a lot, aside from all of it’s problems.  Why? Uh, because of the Megalodons, duh! Seriously though, everything that didn’t have to do with lame family crap, was more enjoyable.  The premise was such a fun idea.  A reality tv race across the ocean and giant sharks.  It was a very fun and entertaining idea.  I mean…. I’d watch that.  What?? I would!  The action was edge of your seat stuff, when it was there.  It didn’t matter if it was ridiculous.  Yes, this book had problems, but it was a guilty pleasure sort of read.  Very 70’s grindhouse feeling.  You didn’t read this book for something to be realistic, you read this for just crazy fun. I did enjoy this book more then I thought I would and I liked it better then book 2.   Honestly, this book could have probably been trimmed down about 150 pages of all the family drama and just stick with the shark drama and it would have been so much better.

Primal Waters had several things that stood out as being pretty annoying.  Too much time with immature teen daughter and other family drama was aggravating.  Macho men and damsels in distress can also be a little bit irksome.  But the Meg action make up for the problems and the action part of the story is entertaining enough to keep me hooked on the series.