Written by: Matt Molgaard
Hunter’s one of the strongest minds in the game today. He tells strong stories and he creates characters we can become invested in. And he’s got an insane work ethic, which means you’re going to get a monstrous dose from Shea on a regular basis. I’ve got nothing but respect for the man, and of the five novels I’ve read (thus far) I’ve yet to feel disappointed or underwhelmed in any way.
While I would have liked to see an addition 100 pages to this story, the concept is somewhat restricting. One can only make a terrifying tale of the sea carry impact for so long. Knowing the dangers in creating a very lengthy aquatic horror piece – namely the addition of filler content and repetitive maneuvers – I can’t hold that against Shea. Not for a moment.
Truthfully, there’s only one thing that really caught me off guard in reading this one, and that’s the fact that Shea plays it safer than I’ve ever seen him play it. He’s typically very edgy, and willing to go to tremendous heights to shock and frighten readers. He’s always got an ace up his sleeve, and he always senses the perfect moment to let it slide down into his palm. There really is no ace in this uncharacteristic case. It’s a straightforward man verses enormous beast of the water type of tale that feels like Shea is offering a direct nod to Spielberg and his classic picture, Jaws.
And that’s okay. Even if Shea doesn’t deliver an earth shattering story with an out of this world premise, he’s still a superb wordsmith. He still knows exactly how to frighten readers. And, perhaps more important than anything else, he knows how to generate a legitimately enjoyable journey for his readers.
They Rise isn’t my favorite piece of fiction from Shea. But I did indeed dig it. Marine Biologist Brad “Whit” Whitley is a fantastic character who makes his obsession with overgrown chimaera no secret, and that infatuation is a great way to humanize a fictional character, because when all is said and done, every single one of us is obsessed with something.
Look, we know our hero. Without going into too many details of the book (no worries Hunter, you know I try to always avoid the spoilers), I can say we know our heroine. We know our predator. Reading the very loose details I’ve given you, I can say that you should now know the conflict as a whole. I think you also know you’d like to read this one. But if any of you readers just so happens to moonlight as a surfer, you might want to think twice before returning to the water… brah.