I grew up on tales of monsters – Godzilla, Mothra, King Kong, Mighty Joe Young, etc. – and, at first, this tale seemed eerily familiar. You know, you’ve heard it before: a group of scientists, escorted by the military (the government always has a stake in things), venture into the jungle searching for some precious commodity – diamonds, gold, oil, the lost city of Atlantis, or something like that – and encounter a monster who is either prehistoric or somehow genetically altered by radiation or another man-made phenomenon. Into the Mist, for the first third or so, appeared to be just another clone of this oft-told tale.
I could have put the novel down at this point and not picked it up again. But I didn’t. I plowed on, intrigued mainly by the Maori legends. I was pleasantly surprised when I found the final third of the book riveting – a real thrilling ending!
Into the Mist illustrates the reason for my first rule of reviewing – “Never review a book you haven’t finished.” If I had stopped reading and rated the book then, this review would be entirely different. Always give the author a chance to engage you – read through to the end. You might be surprised, as I was.
But, while the ending made the read worth it, I also thought the author could have tightened things up a bit. I didn’t see the reason for including the marijuana growers at all. It seemed the creature was everywhere at once – stalking our heroes, attacking the drug dealers, and also chasing the group of separatists – all at the same time. I actually thought for a while that, maybe, there was more than one beast at large.
But once the book takes off, all that can be put aside as you, breathlessly, follow our hero and the damsel in distress as they try to subdue the monster.
Hence, I give the tired plot and need to tighten two stars, and the ending five. Resulting average: 3.5 stars overall (rounded up to 4).
If you like creature features and tales based on real legends, you will enjoy this read!