I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Gallery on January 13th, 2015
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction
A strange plague called the ’Gets is decimating humanity on a global scale. It causes people to forget—small things at first, like where they left their keys…then the not-so-small things like how to drive, or the letters of the alphabet. Then their bodies forget how to function involuntarily…and there is no cure. But now, far below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, deep in the Marianas Trench, an heretofore unknown substance hailed as “ambrosia” has been discovered—a universal healer, from initial reports. It may just be the key to a universal cure. In order to study this phenomenon, a special research lab, the Trieste, has been built eight miles under the sea’s surface. But now the station is incommunicado, and it’s up to a brave few to descend through the lightless fathoms in hopes of unraveling the mysteries lurking at those crushing depths…and perhaps to encounter an evil blacker than anything one could possibly imagine.
I had extremely high expectations for The Deep. I had just finished reading The Troop before getting this ARC, and after how thrillingly and brilliantly disgusting that had been, I was very excited to see what Nick Cutter would do next. Unfortunately, I hadn’t considered that his next release could have been an immense flop.
The premise sounded GREAT while I was in full virology/horror mode: a strange disease is causing people to literally forget everything from their memories to how to eat, and eventually how to breathe. In order to get to the bottom of this bizarre condition (The ‘Gets’) and the substance suspected of causing it (‘the ambrosia), scientists have developed a research center in the deepest areas of the Mariana Trench. And naturally, when you put a lab at the bottom of the bloody sea, something is going to go wrong, and someone is going to go crazy. It was a plot loaded with potential, but in the end, I hated this book.
There isn’t much to say about the characters. Luke, our protagonist, is sent down to the Mariana Trench research station to reason with Clayton – his cold, science obsessed brother who has stopped communicating with the surface. Apparently they had a horrid childhood with a fat, incestuous and abusive mother, which is brought up repeatedly. Also, Luke is divorced from hisformer wife, Abby, mainly due to the loss of their son, Zach, who simply went missing one day. Zach and Mommy dearest become the main focal points for the ramblings and delusions that make this book so frustrating. There is only one somewhat interesting character, Alice, who occupies the tough pilot-chick role as long as its convenient.
Admittedly, the first half of the book is interesting and stimulating enough, while you’re attempting to determine the direction. The onset of the ‘Gets, and the set up for going down to the bottom of the ocean is all rather exciting in its promised potential. Sadly, its when the action actually starts taking place that everything just falls apart and goes to hell – and not in the way that makes it fun to read. Everything just rapidly devolves into nothing but rambling delusion after rambling delusion about giant millipedes, or ambrosial hands, tickle trunks and former abuse, scary monsters, bees, and missing children. And hey, I’m not one to write off delusions, because they can MAKE a horror book everything that it is. However, when it becomes impossible to tell what was even happening any more due to every page melting into nonsense its awful. I just got so intensely frustrated that on several occasions I just ended up skimming (and didn’t miss much) – had I not been planning a review, I would have slapped DNF on this.
And it gets worse! My biggest complaint and frustration with this book is that nothing ever gets explained! The closest ‘explanation’ given about the ‘Gets is a vague reference to ‘nature taking out the trash’, and not one single damned thing ever gets resolved. Naturally, without any sort of direction, conclusion or even suggestion, the ending of this book is thoroughly unsatisfying. Its just nonsense. I give this book 2 stars purely for initial premise and the first chunk where things looked like they might have gone somewhere good. Total let down. Blah.