Book Review – Mastodon by Steve Stred

Steve Stred’s latest novel not only shares its name with a great band (the older stuff, anyway), it also very much lives up to the hype. I blazed through this book in no time, and found the climatic final scenes really great fun, as they were pretty disturbing and nasty (yay!!).

The desolate forests are creepy at the best of times, and from reading previous works by Steve I know this guy can really put you there. I’ve never been to the lush greenery of Canada, but I feel like I have now.

After a ‘wtf is going on?’ prologue, the action begins as Neil’s plane crashes in the aforementioned forest on his way home to meet his son, Tyler. His son is worried, obviously, and doesn’t get any answers from his dad’s work bosses. So Tyler decides to travel to the area where the plane supposedly crashed, and looks for his own explanations.

Oh yeah, did I mention the crash site is located within a large area of the trees which is strictly! off limits to anyone not in-the-know?

Tyler manages to enter the forest and feels something is very off right away. Evidence of giant predatory animals is everywhere. Most of us would decide to get out of there pronto, but Tyler is a hardened hiker, and takes everything in his ā€“ ahem ā€“ stride.

The set up here was detailed, with everything from him setting up his sleeping arrangements to how he rationed his food, but for me this only added to the tension. Before long Tyler discovers what exactly going on in these here parts.

Government secrets? Biological weapons? I can’t say too much more because I knew very little going in, and I think it’s better to leave it that way for any other Masto-virgins. So just trust me that things go very sick and very fucked up. The splatterings of gore are also very very welcome.

The woods are usually portrayed in horror fiction as places where malevolent spirits dwell, but there’s none of that here. Yes, the forest is unsettling, but what is it they say? The living are far more devastating and scary than the dead?

Get involved in a trip through the trees, and expect to feel a little bit ugh-y by the time you get out. If, of course, you ever do!

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2 replies

  1. I’ve read this book. I agree with your review, such a good read. I enjoyed the father-son relationship, the crazy creatures from Stred’s imagination, the setting, and the secret government stuff. And the cover rocks.

    Liked by 1 person

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