All right. Home and I have a nice glass of Yellowtail Wine so let's get going!
In Ararat, an earthquake reveals the Turkish mountain to be the resting place of Noah's Ark. Of course the archeological world is fascinated and chomping at the bit to study it. As they investigate, though, they find a sarcophagus with a decidedly not human corpse inside. Paranoia and fear start to spread like a virus. Then the murders start...
As I mentioned earlier, I really liked this book. I find biblical history fascinating and this take on the Great Flood was ridiculously interesting to me. It's an original concept that I haven't seen done before, investigating why Noah's Ark may have been remained hidden, what the flood was really meant to wash away, etc. Great premise and for the most part, great investigation. The elements of fear were lovely and I had a lot of fun reading it.
One thing I particularly liked was the way this book is similar to The Thing. Spoilers, the demon can body hop and it's very similar to The Thing, right down to body horror-esque face ripping. The John Carpenter classic is one of my favorites so it did help me enjoy the book a lot more than I may have otherwise. I do wish Golden had played on the themes of paranoia and Man v Nature more, the story still embodied those themes enough for it to be enjoyable.
Also, the ending. Amazing. The last line in particular is one of my favorites in a book ever. It wasn't super poetic or anything, it just had a punch to it that I loved.
There are three reasons why I gave this 4 stars instead of 5: the pacing, the characters, and a lack of originality. Let's start with the middle one . Overall, I found the characters kinda meh. There were too many, in my opinion, so I wasn't able to really form a connection to any. That said, I did really like Walker's squad and Adam. Still, in horror I think it's really important that you make at least one really loveable character for the reader, or else it won't be as scary.
In regards to the pacing, there was something just kind of off about it. I would never say the book was boring, but there were many places where that wasn't a ton actually happening, mainly characters reflecting on their lives/relationships or archeology work. Then things got super actiony super fast and it had an odd beat about it. It wasn't enough to keep me from continuing to read, but I could definitely feel the off pace.
Lastly, it felt like Golden took the easy way out. This book is original in it's concept. I stand by that. But, the concept in action became kinda standard demon horror. I was expecting the demon to be like manipulating the people into worshipping/sacrificing it, or that they'd flee deeper into the cave where things go even worse. Instead the demon just wanted to brutally mass murder them all, which is kind of demons are portrayed as doing traditionally. I feel like Golden missed an opportunity to follow up on an incredible set up and settled instead for standard survival plot. It went from The Thing to Predator and, while both are good, the latter is kinda the standard angle. So it was a little disappointing on that front.
Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Definitely recommend and would read again. Just a little underwhelming.
Final thought: After reading the part about the nail gouges in the door, the kittens started clawing at the door and spooked me.