TW: Because yes, this will have triggers, like the first two. Misogyny, implied/mentioned sex between adults and underage girls, suicide is mentioned, abortion is mentioned, slut and fat-shaming (blink and you might miss the slut-shaming, but it is there.)
You can go into a vintage horror (or any genre) novel and expect some dark and nasty stuff, including how females are treated, and hey, maybe you even like those books, despite the problematic elements. Those books were a product of the time. I'm honestly not judging your taste in books, because I read them, too. It is nice to be able to turn your brain off sometimes.
That being said, the way females are treated in this book just doesn't make sense. Because it is about killer sharks, does that mean it is marketed toward men and that is why all the girls are treated like eye candy, along with underage eye candy to boot? It is just cringy how Terry is described. (The Asian beauty with almond eyes.)
I wasn't even at the 30% point and already suicide was mentioned, two instances of underage sex mentioned (with an adult) and one instance of what seems like a forced abortion (man paying for and probably making the underage girl abort her baby), and a cheating scumbag. (And later on in the book there are slut and fat-shaming.) Oh, and of course some shark kills! Which is the real reason read these, right?
Why in the world would Jonas let his underage daughter be one of the "Candy Girls" without even saying a word of protest?
“I was hoping you might be able to use Dani behind the scenes, you know, assisting the film crew . . . something to keep her busy.”
“Behind the scenes?” Erik laughs. “Your daughter’s eye-candy, Professor, and we can never have too much of that. Dani, as soon as you get settled, come find me and I’ll hook you up with wardrobe. They’ll pick out some nice bikinis, maybe a few after-hour numbers. We’ll pay you to be one of our Candy Girls, my pet name for our Daredevil groupies.”
“Excellent.” Danielle’s gloating smile tweaks her father’s blood pressure.
Also, I can do without shaming people for having body hair. It was just a silly and unneeded line.
"God, I miss California. If I date one more woman with hairy legs, I think I’ll—"
Erik points to the bow where a cocoa-brown African-American woman in a white thong bikini is posing before a photographer and two cameramen. “Not much of an actress, but who cares, she makes—”
“I know, great eye-candy.”
So, we have an almond-eyed Asian beauty and now a cocoa-brown African American...can't we describe POC without using food? And you don't have to keep reminding us that Terry's Asian as well. We remember! (Later on, there is an olive-skinned Italian as well.)
I saw someone call these books "Shallow Entertainment" and they sure are that! I notice that he really likes to go into detail of describing how a female looks, using words like "shapely" a lot. Also, I noticed he points out skin color and eye color of the females often, but only one time did he mention the eye color of a man. I wonder why it is? So we know what eye color the females have when we fantasize about them? I mean, he writes them like "Eye Candy!"
The girls on the boat are even called "Candy Girls" by the camera crew. It is basically "Girl's Gone Wild" with stupid daredevil stunts that get people killed. How has this film crew not been sued and how are they allowed to show the deaths on tv?
I've never watched the real Girl's Gone Wild, but this book is similar to the Piranha (2010) movie, if you remember the GGW film crew, well, yeah, this book is like that, but with some hungry sharks and people who don't use their brains. Of course, the sex and nudity in this are not graphic or anything, but you get what I mean. That is because Steve does a lot of telling, and not showing.
All the people in this book that get put in danger (and end up getting killed) are getting what they deserve. I would never say that about a real-life situation, toward a real victim, but seriously, these characters have bricks for brains.
The camera, still looped around his neck, bounces against his chest—
—calling out his name.
Brian stares at temptation, his fear momentarily subsiding. 'The whale’s dying. Angel’s got to be circling below, waiting to feed again. One shot, just a quick one before you lose the light, then get to shore as fast as you can.' He stops paddling, allowing the kayak to drift as he glances back at Charlie. 'Calm and steady and the Meg won’t even know you’re here. One great shot of her next attack, just one killer shot.'
'Sorry Charlie, but that’s life in the food chain. Damn, this looks good. Okay, Angel, one more time for Daddy while we still have the light. Definitely a cover shot on National Geographic, maybe even Time . . .'
This is why I root for the shark!
A certain thing keeps happening in this book and jarring me out of the story. Steve Alten has a broken way of writing what are supposed to be suspenseful moments. Personally, I don't like this style. I don't know how to describe it, so I will show you.
Balancing atop the wall, he runs back to the arena and the safety of the bleachers as fast as he can—
—nitrogen bubbling in his bloodstream.
Fergie bounds over another swell and pulls hard on his control strut—
—as a powerful updraft catches the kite.
Losing the wind, he plummets—a seabird with clipped wings—
—as the Megalodon breeches, its head rising at him like a missile, its jaws yawning open, offering an impossible target to miss.
—only to be confronted by an even bigger nightmare.
This way of writing might be fine if it only happened a couple of times, but it is littered throughout the whole book.
One last thing I want to add about Dani, which is a spoiler-ish.
Dani starts off as a teenage spoiled brat; there is no way to say it nicely. I liked how she grew and eventually stopped being such a pain, and she and her father started to see eye to eye again.
Don't get me wrong, despite my complaints, I really do like these books. As I said, it is nice to turn your brain off and enjoy some B movie type books.