I purchased my first Steve Alten novel as a spur-of-the-moment decision in an airport. I had a three hour flight and needed to kill time, so I put my hands on THE LOCH. The cover looked intriguing and the plot was interesting, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Before I realized what had happened, our plane was landing; the book yanked me in from the start, and three hours passed without my knowing. As a result, I tore through the book in two days. So when I heard VOSTOK was a sorta sequel to THE LOCH, I knew I had to read it.
Interestingly, I couldn’t tear through VOSTOK as fast as I did its predecessor. Why? There’s a couple of different reasons, which I will explain below. But even though I didn’t find it as engrossing as THE LOCH, this book is still an interesting read. And while it does have flaws, the tale is still entertaining.
If you are not familiar with VOSTOK, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Rebel Press:
East Antarctica: The coldest, most desolate location on Earth. Two-and-a-half miles below the ice cap is Vostok, a six thousand square mile liquid lake, over a thousand feet deep, left untouched for more than 15 million years. Now, marine biologist Zachary Wallace and two other scientists aboard a submersible tethered to a laser will journey 13,000 feet beneath the ice into this unexplored realm to discover Mesozoic life forms long believed extinct – and an object of immense power responsible for the evolution of modern man.
In this sequel to The Loch and prequel to the upcoming MEG 5: Nightstalkers, New York Times best-selling author Steve Alten offers readers a crossover novel that combines characters from two of his most popular series.
Alten has a huge imagination, which helps to make his work so much fun to read. I am going to have to dive into the MEG series. I am a huge shark fan, and an even bigger sea-monster fanatic, so this sounds like something right up my alley. As such, my love for water-based beasties is what prompted my interested in THE LOCH and therefore, VOSTOK.
VOSTOK is written well and flows at a decent pace for the most part. With that being said, the story shifts about three-fourths of the way through the book and jumps ahead seven years. The reader ultimately learns this is integral to the story, however I will admit it throws a loop at first.
The characters are vivid and real, both damaged and believable. I particularly like Zach’s brother-in-law, True. He is an oaf of a guy who can bed just about any woman he comes in contact with. But his personality is so rich, the reader can’t help but love him.
The story within VOSTOK is where my major concerns come into play. What starts off as an exploratory journey into the unknown soon becomes a quantum physics playground. Alten strays out of the story in some parts to explain, in-depth, certain postulations that are vital to the book’s conclusion. Some of these explanations border on religious fanaticism, it seems. These sections completely shut down the story for me, and I found myself struggling to return to the story.
Still, I have to confess VOSTOK is intriguing enough to warrant consideration. It is not a bad book at all…it just needs to remember what it is and not try to wander outside of its fictional premise. Otherwise, I say give it a look. The book is available now in a variety of formats.