Review: Meg: Hell’s Aquarium by Steve Alten


Four years have passed since Angel, the 76ft, 100,000 pound megalodon, birthed a litter of pups far too numerous and aggressive to keep in one pen. Fortunately, a Dubai royal prince who is building the largest aquarium in the world, seeks to purchase 2 of the the “runts” – if Jonas Taylor’s 21 year old son, David, will be their handler. Jonas reluctantly agrees, and David is off to Dubai for the summer of his life, not realizing that he is being set up to lead and expedition that will hunt down and capture the most dangerous creatures ever to inhabit the earth!

Meg: Hell’s Aquarium (Meg # 4) by Steve Alten.  A Tor Book published in 2009.  I read and reviewed this February 2018.

There are 2 different stories we follow in Hell’s Aquarium.  One story is that of David going off to Dubai to help collect specimens for the aquarium.  The other story is the rest of the family back in California, dealing with Angel and the other 2 pups, Lizzy and Bella.

Good news!  Dani acts like a normal human being now instead of a snot nosed, angsty brat.  She turns out to be likeable! 😮  Bad news!  Now Dani’s brother, David, is the snot nosed, ansty brat! *Sigh*  Great.  Half the book, if not more, is all about David.  He is such a cocky little jerk.  In the 3rd book, he was actually tolerable.  Now, he is mister macho man who is stupidly stubborn.  David being a jerk isn’t the worst part about his story though.   The worst part is that he instantly falls SOOOO in love with this girl he hardly knows.  He hardly has any positive interactions with her at all but somehow their love is the greatest love ever.  She doesn’t seem very nice or legitimately in to him, yet somehow he just knows they are meant to be together.   Now, because of this special snowflake of a love, David begins to do extremely questionable things and acting super stupid.  I guess he is thinking with his…. well…. you know.  Anyways.  David was just a little bit stubborn and cocky before his 5 sec. girlfriend shows up, but then after her appearance he is stubborn and cocky times 100.  It is very grating and it does not make him very likeable at all.

It is such a shame David’s section of the book is filled with this bad romance angle because the whole story with the aquarium is actually pretty brilliant!  You know how the megalodons came from the Marianas Trench?  Well, it turns out they are not the only prehistoric critter down in that area.  They are just one of many different species down there.  The aquarium that hired David is interested in getting his help to track down other species from this area.  I love sea creatures and I love reading about prehistoric animals, so this side of David’s story was so interesting and really gripping.  We see a lot of great creatures and the journey of tracking them across the world is just one hell of a ride!  It was enjoyable seeing this new dynamic being introduced to the story.  It opens up so much of the Meg universe. The possibilities of seeing these new creatures could lead to a new series or even standalone books in the future.  It is very exciting.

The other part of the story focused on the rest of the Taylor clan dealing with their megs Angel, Lizzy and Bella.   Can’t really talk too much about Angel without being too much of a spoiler, so I will go right to Lizzy and Bella.  These are 2 big meg pups that have a very unique relationship.  They work closely together in tandem and they help out each other.  One is the brains, the other is the muscle.   It was an interesting set of sharks and it was a lot of fun watching them behave.  I, for one, couldn’t help but cheer for Lizzy and Bella!

Through the whole book, it felt like more animals died then people.  I know that is probably more realistic, but I did not enjoy that part very much.  Those spots were easy to skip over though, so it didn’t ruin the story.  Normally it was just a few paragraphs, so not too bad.

With about 100 pages left in the book, the 2 sides of the story come together.  The action really picks up.  The ending comes fast and furious.  The past meg books had very definite endings, with no real set up for the next book.  This one was actually different.  This time we had a clear cliffhanger that set up for the next book in the series.  Made it super exciting waiting to read the next book.

Hell’s Aquarium was a fast, exciting ride.  Seeing a new side about the origins of where the Megs come from really opens up the series for even more creatures to make appearances in future books.  This book could have been really great, unfortunately the love story gets in the way.  Still one of the best books in the series.



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