Monster by Frank Peretti
Something's Out There...
"Reed Shelton organized this survival weekend. Hired the best guide in the region. Meticulously trained, studied, and packed while encouraging his wife, Beck, to do the same. But little did they know that surviving the elements would become the least of their worries.
"During their first night of camping, an unearthly wail pierces the calm of the forest. Then someone-no, something-emerges from the dense woods and begins pursuing them. Everything that follows is a blur to Reed-except for the unforgettable image of a huge creature carrying his wife into the darkness.
"Dependent on the efforts of a small town and band of friends, Reed knows they have little time to find Beck. Even more important, he soon realizes that they aren't the only ones doing the hunting. Something much faster, more relentless-and definitely not human-has begun to hunt them."
Ooh, now doesn't that sound enticing? Monsters and missing people. Don't worry, it's not that scary, especially if you are used to Peretti's spiritual-darkness books, like This Present Darkness, or if you have read any of Ted Dekker's thrillers involving serial killers. There is enough fiction in this story to make it not frightening; in fact, I expected it to be more so. Of course, if I had read it while sleeping in a tent, I would have found it more terrifying (so you might not want to do that). I expected this book to be more like The Oath, where the monster symbolized something specific, but that didn't work for this novel, which turned out to be a good thing.
This novel is full of excitement and edge-of-your-seat reading. It took me until about halfway to get hooked to the plot, but once I did, I didn't want to put the book down. When you are subbing a class full of crazy nose-picking second-graders, though, it's kind-of necessary.
There were not as many plot twists as I expected in the story, and the perspectives changed too much for me to get very close to any character. There were maps at the end of each chapter that recorded all the events up to that point, which I found helpful and fascinating, particularly since I am a visual person, and so much occurs. I was a bit confused at several points how Reed knew some of the characters in the story and seemed to be friends with them, since Peretti didn't explain that. And I also wondered where Reed and Beck lived in comparison to the place of all the action.
Overall, I highly enjoyed this novel and what it had to say about what a real monster is. I give it a 4 out of 5 and recommend it for 17 year olds and up because of graphic descriptions/violence.
What I learned: There are no 'good' mutations in nature (so, what does that say about evolution?). The wildness and rawness of nature can change people.
Click here to visit Frank Peretti's website to see what other books he has published.
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