Savage Species by Jonathan Janz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If you like a fast-paced, full on, action filled bloodbath then this is the book for you.
Thank you Flame Tree Press for an ARC of Savage Species by Jonathan Janz to read in exchange for an honest review.
Savage Species, and by god they are savage, is a spin on the Wendigo Myth. A brutal race of creatures have been awoken thanks to the construction efforts in the opening of Peaceful Valley Nature Preserve. It doesn’t take long for the peaceful atmosphere to be lost to the horrific sounds of screams and mutilation.
This is a two-fold story. We have Charly, dealing with her idiot of a husband, her crush, and the terrible kidnapping of her baby by the creatures. We also have Jesse, Emma and Colleen, who have been assigned by their paper to cover the opening. They got more of a story than they bargained for. The separate story arcs come together neatly, culminating in one great finale.
The characters are all written so flawlessly. There is real sense of fear and urgency from all of them. You feel how scared they all are, how trapped and helpless they feel in this nightmare situation. The oppressive feel of the tunnel and the caves is real; you get a distinct feel of the claustrophobic atmosphere, and the tense nature of their predicament.
The balance between the human characters, with their own issues, and the monsters is scaled nicely. It’s that real sense of humanism, the characters become alive, they have real life problems and issues, they are just like the rest of us, not over dramatised or exaggerated. They are real. It is this, and the fast yet steady pace of the story which really knits it all together.
The creatures, two different creatures, are written frighteningly well. You get a real picture of them in your mind’s eye. Their human qualities, and their beast qualities, make them a truly terrifying creature to behold. The brutal descriptiveness of the initial attack by these creatures was, as the title suggests, savage. The fierce nature of the beasts, the primal instincts and the absolute brutality was captured with the sense of realism that I so admire in the author’s writing.
I have to mention my favourite character, Frank Red Elk, he is a piece of work. I love him. A ‘soft-porn’ obsessed Native American who lives on the land. I really appreciated the comedic value this guy added to story. It paired well with the brutality, breaking it up in just the right places. He is one of my favourite characters I have had the pleasure to read I think.
Synopsis: “Jesse thinks he’s caught a break when he, Emma (the girl of his dreams), and her friend are assigned by their newspaper to cover the opening weekend of a sprawling new state park. But the construction of the park has stirred an evil that has lain dormant for nearly a hundred years, and the three young people–as well as every man, woman, and child unlucky enough to be attending the Algonquin Falls grand opening–are about to encounter the most horrific creatures to ever walk the earth. Charly has three young children and a jerk for a husband, a hot shot girls basketball coach with a penchant for seducing his female assistants. When Charly’s baby is kidnapped by one of the creatures, she turns to Sam Bledsoe, the man who constructed her house (and the man on whom she has developed a sizable crush) for help. Sam, Charly, her husband, and the newest hot assistant coach soon find themselves underground and on the trail of Charly’s baby. Jesse’s trio, a group of professors, and Frank Red Elk–a Native American who specializes in women and booze–take refuge in the caves hoping to find a way out of the park. But like Charly and the others, Jesse’s crew will soon learn just how monstrous the creatures are. And how cunning. Together, they will all try to save Charly’s baby, escape with their lives, and take down as many of the monsters as they can. But the creatures are hungry. They delight in human suffering. And they will stop at nothing to prove that they are the dominant species.”
View all my reviews